Confirmed: Biggie Was Rapping About Drinking Grape Juice on "Big Poppa"

For decades hip-hop heads have wondered if Biggie's "Welch's grape" was grape jelly? Soda? Juice? We finally have our answer.

Did Eminem actually have no snare in his headphones? (He actually didn't.) Did Jay Z really once lose 92 bricks? (The jury's still out on that one.) And, perhaps most importantly, when Biggie rapped, "T-Bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch's grape," on "Big Poppa," what meal was he referring to? 

Are we talking cheese and eggs, or cheesy eggs? And Welch's grape? As in...grape jelly? Did Biggie like to spread jelly on his steak? Or maybe he's transitioning to talking about grape juice, or grape soda.  

This is the question that's haunted hip-hop obsessives for years, and if you think I'm joking, you should check #GrapeDebate Twitter sometime. Until today the closest we had to confirmation regarding Biggie's preferred Welch's grape format was Lil Cease testifying that he routinely saw Biggie drinking grape soda, but I just stumbled across new information that I hope will prove to be the definitive answer. 

In the midst of Pigeons & Planes' excellent new piece, "Before Biggie," which chronicles Biggie's "lost years" in North Carolina drug dealing before he moved back to New York City to wholeheartedly pursue music, was this hidden gem from Robert Cagle (aka Zauqael), who was both Biggie's close friend and partner in crime in North Carolina. For about two years the two were almost inseparable, even sharing the same small house, and so, more than anyone, even Lil Cease, even Puffy, he was well-versed in Biggie's preferred eating habits. 

We used to eat out a lot too. In North Carolina they got Shoneys and Perkins… And you know what the funny thing? Remember when he wrote that rhyme [in “Big Poppa”] about taking the girl to the hotel and eating “a T-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and Welch’s grape?”

We used to go to this place called the Waffle House and they used to have the steak and eggs and all that. And then another thing, we used to go to the House of Pancakes that was located near NC State. And we used to get a carafe of grape juice with the cheese and eggs and the T-bone steak." - "Before Biggie," Pigeons & Planes

Boom. I don't know what more credible source we could possibly hope for than that. As far as I'm concerned, the case is now closed. Biggie's favorite meal consisted of: 

  1. T-bone steak
  2. Eggs with cheese
  3. Grape juice (preferrably in a carafe)

I'm well aware I'm being quasi-ridiculous here. There are some genuinely fascinating sections of that "Before Biggie" article that shed light on who he was before the rap fame (he once robbed the same hotel he was staying in) that deserve your attention, but...come on now. Who could possibly pass up on the chance to clarify one of hip-hop's greatest mysteries? 

Now, about those 92 bricks...

By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter. Illustrations via Carlo Armendariz and Michelle.