Photos of Daddy’s House studio courtesy of Tony Drootin
In conjunction with the recent release of XXL‘s March issue commemorating The Notorious B.I.G. 15 years after his passing, XXLMag.com is continuing to celebrate the life and death of Big Poppa during Biggie Month. XXL spoke to Tony Drootin, the Director of Audio Operations of Daddy’s House Recording Studios, the New York studio owned by Bad Boy’s Sean “Diddy” Combs and where Biggie laid his vocals, to get the inside scoop on how the legendary venue keeps B.I.G.’s memory alive.—As told to Mariel Concepcion (@mceezy)
Well, Daddy’s House studio is a four-room complex. There are the two main rooms: one is a G-Series SSL console and the other is a Neve VR 60 console. Both of those rooms have large vocal booths and private lounges. Then we have a midi room. That’s just a small writer’s room with a small vocal booth. Then there’s a kitchen area, a big reception area and a big private lounge with another writing studio in it.
When Biggie was with us and working, he probably recorded in all the booths. The two larger booths, those are the ones he probably worked in the most. Those are quite large with high ceilings. They are large enough to record with a four or five piece band.
The company obviously holds his memory very dear to its heart. Sean Combs, who is the owner, is basically family with Biggie. They were brothers. The company observes his birthday as a holiday. Basically, it’s an official company holiday. He is family. We pretty much revere his presence, here. He was one of the artists that helped the company become what it was. He was family with the people that started the company, meaning Sean and Harve Pierre, the head of A&R. He’s a God here. He’s family and his memory is like he’s still with us.
There’s an autographed photo of him and, you know, as far as personal items and memorabilia go, there’s not much else besides the fact that the studios have been left the way they were when he was with us. We are also the keepers of all original master tapes and copies of everything he’s ever recorded. Much of that, although not being stored here, is here through digital copies. The company keeps all the master he’s ever done.
We’re actually in the process of [renovating] the studio, a complete redo. But most recently, Rick Ross, Cassie, Machine Gun Kelly, Red Café, French Montana, Los, who just singed to the label, and Nicki Minaj have all recorded here.
I’ve been here two years and it amazes me how many fans of his are interested in this place because of the fact that his memory is implanted and burned into this facility. We get phone calls all the time. I have people wanting to walk in from the streets and see the place. Our clientele works here because of those original recordings and legacy that Bad Boy and Biggie and other artists on label left at the facility. He is a big part of what the studio has been in the past and will be in the future.