Biggie gets even bigger through remix from young Norwegian DJ

Source:AFP Published: 2017/7/31 17:13:39

Matoma (Tom Lagergren) Photo: IC

The Notorious B.I.G. would figure at or near the top on any list of hip-hop all-stars, yet the slain rapper's top song on Spotify comes via a 26-year-old Norwegian.

Matoma, a fresh-faced DJ who played to a packed, raucous crowd Saturday at the Panorama festival in The Notorious B.I.G.'s hometown of New York, grew up admiring the rapper before he ever understood the lyrics.

"His beats were so flawless and there was something about his voice and his rhythm that I got really curious about," Matoma, who affably introduces himself by his real name of Tom Lagergren, told AFP before his set.

Studying music production in Norway's third largest city Trondheim, Matoma noticed that clubs would empty out when hip-hop came on.

He tried his hand and married hip-hop to electronica - which enjoys a significantly larger base in Europe. To his surprise, "Old Thing Back," his Notorious B.I.G. remix, quickly went viral after he posted it online in 2014.

"Old Thing Back" has since been heard more than 189 million times on leading streaming site Spotify - more than any original track by The Notorious B.I.G., known to fans as Biggie, who was shot dead in 1997 just before the revolution in online music.

Matoma has been signed to a major label, Atlantic, and released an album. He himself has more than 12 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Matoma in May put out a new Biggie remix, "Party on the West Coast," working with both his widow, Faith Evans, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

"I see comments on the Internet like, 'You should never touch Biggie's work, this is disrespectful for the artist.' But I start thinking - at 10 or 12 years old, the only hip-hop you're going to get is the new hip-hop on the pop stations," Matoma said.

"His voice deserves to reach out to people who haven't heard him today," he said.


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