May 21, 1972 was the day that the world was gifted with a legend. Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G. blessed hip-hop with a talent that nearly none have been able to match.
With intense and complex flows, Biggie delivered tales from the hood in a way that made you feel as if you were there with him every step of the way. The ultimate story teller, B.I.G.’s influence and lyrics have been sampled and quoted by a variety of hip-hop, R&B and pop artists including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Fat Joe, Nelly, Ja Rule, Eminem, Lil Wayne, The Game, among many others. Although his career was cut short after 3 years in the game, hip-hop fans were laced with two dope albums and a myriad of features that have continued to compete on “Greatest of All Time” lists for more than a decade.
In celebration of the life and birthday of Biggie, RESPECT. is listing some of his top classic songs that not only have led to being quoted by other heavy hitters in the game, but also still keeps the party jumping.
Notorious B.I.G officially arrived on the scene with the first single off of his major debut Ready to Die, literally kicking in the door with lyrics blazing. Utilizing the soulful sample of “Juicy Fruit” by Mtume, Biggie told his life story in a way we all could relate, catapulting him to instant fame and being noted as the next to become one of the greats.
The follow up to “Juicy,” Biggie once again changed the game introducing the player mafioso style to the masses in a way that only he could. Over a sample of “Between the Sheets” by the Isley Brothers, Biggie made the big guy with verbal skills sexy, as the self proclaimed “ugly as ever” emcee showed that you don’t have to be a model to get the ladies to show you love.
“Who Shot Ya”
Despite the rumors of this being a diss toward Tupac, “Who Shot Ya”( which Diddy explained was recorded prior to the infamous Quad City Studio shooting) burned up radio airwaves and DJ mixes. The track, which was considered an instant classic, is credited by Jay-Z as inspiring him to get serious about his career due to the lyrical gems dropped.
“Story to Tell”
“Story to Tell” is hands down one of the great examples of Biggie’s ability to tell a great story. His recollection (no matter how embellished it may or may not be) of a creep turned accidental robbery left hip-hop fans guessing for almost twenty years on who the NBA player was in the story. It wasn’t until recently when Fat Joe revealed the true identity of the player, as former New York Knicks Forward, Anthony Mason.
Another example of Biggie’s story telling ability, “Warning” chops a sample of Isaac Hayes classic “Walk on By” and makes it a hip-hop classic and a track on everyone’s soundtrack for their haters. The story telling style coupled with mic passing rhyme style introduced fans to yet another side of the Notorious B.I.G’s talent and creativity.
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