Un-derstanding Lance Rivera

CEO-on-the-rise talks about Biggie's legacy

August 6, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Although the Notorious B.I.G's recorded music is in Puffy's vaults, hismusical vision is in Lance "Un" Rivera's hands. The producer/executive, whoheads up the Untertainment and Undeas labels, is on a mission for his latebest friend, Biggie, the man with whom he once hustled the streets of NewYork, and the man who convinced him to enter the music business.

"I have my own vision," Un says, "but the only thing I'm doing right now, isletting the world know that Biggie still exists. He exists because of what I'mgoing to give the world."

Un's most recent gift is Harlem rapper Cam'ron, whose debut album,Confessions of Fire, has sold 107,000 copies since its release twoweeks ago. Before his death in 1995, Biggie had wanted to sign Cam'ron toUndeas, the label he and Un founded back in 1993. But it wasn't until lastyear that Un bumped into Cam at a video shoot.

"He came up to me and said 'I'm Cam,' and I said, 'Oh, you Cam. Just give me aminute to figure things out and I'ma sign you because that's what B.I.G.wanted me to do." So Cam, whom Un had decided to sign before even hearing himrap, became the first artist out on Un's new label, Untertainment.

Next up is roughneck glamourgirl Charli Baltimore, whose debut, Ice,drops on September 20. Un says he signed Charli for personal reasons, butagain they can be traced to his devotion to Big Poppa. "Charli Baltimore wasBiggie's girlfriend, and I knew Biggie died loving her," Un says. "When hepassed away, she had nobody else, so I said I'm at least going to give her achance to take care of her family and her future, which is something Biggiewould have done for me."

Which brings us to Junior M.A.F.I.A. and platinum rapper L'il Kim, who havegrossed more than $15 million for Undeas' venture partner Atlantic and werealso FOBs. Kim is currently in the studio working on her next release onUndeas, as is L'il Cease of the Junior M.A.F.I.A crew, who's working on hissolo debut. "The most important thing for me right now is a L'il Cease album,because he was like Biggie's son," Un says, "and I want everyone to love Ceasebecause that was one of B.I.G.'s wishes. Cease was supposed to be up next."

Un is also collaborating with the man who brought Biggie's music to the world-- Puff Daddy. Un says he is currently working with Puffy on Kim's music,they're jointly executive producing her album and together they're overseeingevery aspect of its marketing and promotion.

"Puffy was an element of what Biggie was," says Un. "I influenced what Biggierapped about, Puffy did the music and Biggie was the artist. That was the key.So now I'm bringing that key to L'il Cease and L'il Kim. It'll be Me, Ceaseand Puff, and Me, Kim and Puff. It was Undeas and it was Bad Boy. Together westood victorious, and we're going to continue to do that."

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