Biggie Biggie Biggie

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.


Original artwork by Vincent Diaz.

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


Biggie Day.

March 9th, 1997 I was in my garage cutting a friends hair when my neighbor came over and asked me if I had heard the news. I stopped the clippers to turn the radio on to hear this unbelievable story for myself. The anticipation of his new album was already growing, and to hear of his death on that afternoon was a blow to my brain.

I can remember being a young kid at 13 years old, listening to Ready to Die in my bedroom. I wasn’t supposed to be listening to that record, but I did because I was drawn to Biggie and his story telling. I felt like when I was listening to KRS-1 rap about selling dope in “Loves Gonna Get’cha” or Ice Cube in “Once Upon a Time in the Projects” or even Sick Rick in “Children’s Story” but for me, something about BIG rapping was much more vivid. I actually felt as if I was there, in the Brookly streets and on the subway. My love for Big and his music was so personal, I remember getting into arguments with my younger brother about his lyrics. “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis…” was the lyric, my brother swear he was saying something else but I knew exactly what he was saying, and I would defend that in any way that I could.

Listening to Big’s album after he passed away was an unreal experience. I was blown away by “Life After Death” and even more so, I was thoroughly impressed with “Ten Crack Commandments” for again the full layout of the rules to the crack game. But of course “I Got A Story To Tell” was my absolute favorite and I listened to it over and over again. To this day he still has us wondering which one of the 6”5” Knicks it could have been, although John Starks says he will never tell.

See, big gave me that vision and confidence in his rhymes, and no one can take that away from me.  Long live Notorious.

Original artwork by Vincent Diaz.

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