After I moved to Houston in 1994, I was inundated with all kinds of new music. Admittedly, I was consumed by the southern style of rap going on here and didn’t catch the East coast wave of hip-hop until a little later. Then I heard Notorious B.I.G. on the “Real Love” remix and pretty much lost my mind. After that, I started looking for any and everything Biggie did. I couldn’t get enough and even ended up finding and falling in love with a decade worth of East coast hip-hop that I was sick I had missed out on. I could fill pages with stories about Biggie tracks that have become second nature to add to playlists or quote in everyday conversation but nearly 20 years after his death what amazes me the most is the influence he had.

Biggie’s influence spans continents and genres. As far as hip-hop is concerned you would be hard pressed to find another rapper that carries the weight of Big’s influence. Junior M.A.F.I.A. would not have existed without Big. Lil Kim would have never been introduced to Bad Boy Records. Faith Evans gained her position partially due to singing background for Big. Puff Daddy isn’t who he is today without Big. Jay-Z never rises to the levels he has, without Big. Aside from the artists that directly gained exposure and success due to Biggie, or those that rubbed shoulders with him when it was convenient, there is an endless list of artists from all over the country that consider Biggie their biggest influence; Lil Wayne, Cam’Ron, Ma$e, Jadakiss, Eminem, Fat Joe and hell even Tupac. Not to mention the young artists today that still consider Biggie one of the best rappers of all time.

What Notorious B.I.G. did in the music world is nothing short of amazing. His music is a staple in almost anyone who enjoys hip-hop’s listening catalog. 19 years after his death and we still sing his praises, I just wrote 300 words about the man. Hip-hop would not be what it is today without Christopher Wallace and he did all of that before his 25th birthday. Your favorite rapper could never.

-Kels

Original artwork by Vincent Diaz.

The Notorious Biggie Tribute March 10th with The Waxaholics at Alley Kat Lounge.  3718 Main, 8pm.