"My slow flow's remarkable, peace to (Mateo) Now we smoke weed like Tony Montana sniffed the ya-yo" Notorious B.I.G. "Live Freestyle - '95"
One has to be special when a famous rapper drops your name in his raps. Extra special even when that rapper is considered by many to be the G.O.A.T. of Hip Hop, the late great Christopher Wallace p/k/a The Notorious B.I.G. Such was the homie Mateo Zcheval Mulcare who suddenly and tragically passed in his sleep earlier this month, on April 9th.
I met Mateo around 1995, the same year that Biggie dropped his name in his classic freestyle. He was trying to get on as a rapper and called me up in order to arrange a meeting in my office, hoping that I might be able to help him in landing a record deal. Mateo was a giant of a man, standing at around 6'4"/ 6'5". Like all prospective clients, I required that he spit, just to ensure that I wasn't going to waste my time effin with the fugazi. Spit he did, and on the spot, Mateo ripped through some ill lyrics, so much so that I decided to co-sign him, to knock on the doors of my connects, see if they saw what I did, a young man passionate about his craft as a wordsmith and committed to going the distance in making a name for himself. He killed it when I took him to Diddy too, right in the middle of Puff's studio, Daddy's House. Unfortunately, being a big man, the comparisons between Mateo and Christopher Wallace (who was then very much alive and the brightest of rising stars hailing from the East Coast) were way too obvious and Puff, along with several other execs passed on my client.
Having just had a daughter, Mateo remained unfazed. At 26 years old, he knew he had to break through in order to put food on the table. So determined that when he did get the chance to meet Biggie, they went at it, toe to toe on the mike, big man versus big man in an emcee battle. Word on the street was that Mateo held his own against the Notorious one. Afterwards, Big was so impressed with his competitor that he gave props to Mateo in his famed 1995 freestyle. How ill and rare is that? That's how nice my dude was. That and how big his heart was. Big almost had to give Mateo his just propers.
Mateo kept it moving though, eventually publishing PLUSH, a magazine devoted to the art of customized luxury trucks and the lifestyle of those that own and drive them. His work on luxury trucks have since been featured in various media outlets like USA TODAY, ESPN and SPIKE TV.
Mateo's passing was unexpected and took everyone that knew him by surprise. They say the good ones die young and this young man was one of the best. It was an honor in me crossing his path in this lifetime and my sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. I know for a fact that he and Mr. Wallace are up there doing it BIG!
R.I.P. my dude.
TRIVIA UPDATE: The homie Sean, a good friend of mine and Mateo's, just filled me in on the fact that when B.I.G. was kicking the freestyle, Mateo was standing out in the crowd, close to the stage, and when B.I.G. spotted him he threw his name in his rhyme.
Tupac, by the way, was not freestyling.
I'm just saying.