James Prince Urged Biggie to Get Outta Dodge Weeks Before the Murder

5/15/2018 12:50 AM PDT

James Prince Urged Notorious B.I.G. to Get Out of L.A. Before Murder


Notorious B.I.G. and Diddy got a surprise visit in L.A. from Rap-A-Lot Records CEO James Prince -- just a few weeks before Biggie's murder -- and the conversation could have saved his life ... TMZ has learned.

The meeting went down in February 1997, when sources connected to James tell us he'd heard B.I.G. and Puff Daddy (as he was then known) were shooting the "Hypnotize" music video. We're told James had immediate concerns about their safety ... and rushed to the set. Here's why.

James had just been in L.A. with Scarface, one of his artists, and heard a lot of talk on the streets about a possible revenge hit. Remember, Tupac had been murdered about 6 months earlier, and there were widespread, but unsubstantiated, rumors that Puff and Biggie were involved -- fueled by the west coast-east-coast feud.

We're told James urged them to take the threats seriously and consider leaving town -- especially when he saw how relaxed security was on the set -- but they seemed unfazed, and more focused on completing the video. 

A few weeks later, Biggie was shot and killed outside L.A.'s Petersen Automotive Museum.

Our sources say James did not have specific knowledge of a hit, but had heard enough buzz he wanted to put it on Puff and B.I.G.'s radar.

We're told the meeting is one of several stories from behind the scenes of hip-hop that J. Prince will reveal in his book, "The Art and Science of Respect" ... which will be released next month.