On this day fifteen years ago, Christopher Wallace (A.K.A Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, Biggie) left this world before his time. He is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, and for good reason; the Notorious was a skilled storyteller, painting detailed visuals with his words. As with the majority of the music of my childhood, Biggie was forced upon me by my older brothers at the age of eight in 1994. We would listen to “Ready to Die” on repeat, watch his videos on Video Music Box and Rap City on BET, and keep our ears open for his interviews and freestyles on Hot 97. Upon first listen, my virgin ears believed he was quite vulgar, but the more I listened and watched, I noticed that he had a gift. Biggie is by far one of the most relatable rappers (aside from another one of my favorites, Jay-Z). His tales of the struggles he faced growing up in pre-gentrification Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, his positive words to youth, and the high life that he adopted from sharing these stories, was something we could all connect with. Hearing these stories via his music were the first visual and audible accounts for me of Brooklyn “making it”. Because of his music, my ambition, and the support of my family and friends, i choose to push forward, and never give up on my dreams.
I could make an extensive playlist of all my favorite tracks, but I choose not to. His lyricism was a true gift. Let me share some of my favorites via the themes he covered in his music, with you.
I know how it feels to wake up fucked up. Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell. People look at ya like use to used, selling drugs to all the losers, mad buddha abuser– “Everyday Struggle”
Bitches in the back looking righteous, In a tight dress, I think I might just. Hit her with a little Biggie 101, How to tote a gun, and have fun with Jamaican rum. – “Party and Bullshit”
Lesson A – don’t fuck with B-I, that’s that, oh I, thought he was wack, oh come come now. Why y’all so dumb now? – “Unbelievable”
Used to sell crack, so I could stack my riches. Now I pack gats, to stop all the snitches, from stayin in my business, what is this? – “Machine Gun Funk
While we out here, say the hustlas prayer. If the game shakes me or breaks me, I hope it makes me a better man. Take a better stand, put money in my moms hand. – “Sky’s The Limit”