It’s hard to believe 15 years have passed since Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed on March 3rd, 1997 in Los Angeles. Considered one of the best rappers of our time, Biggie Smalls, Big Papa, or the Black Frank White has ascended into a true icon of Hip Hop. His image, his swag, his tone, his style, and his lyrics all constitute a high benchmark for the art form. Past, contemporary, and certainly future Hip Hop lyricists have and will place Biggie at the top of their “best of” list for rappers. Biggie’s emergence on the Hip Hop landscape was pivotal. He signaled the return to Hip Hop’s origins. Biggie relayed the realities of urban youth in the here and now wrapped in danceable rhythm and rhyme in much the same way it was done in the late 70s and early 80s. Biggie left pace with gangster and conscious rap of the 90s and forged a hard-edged party rap. He was right on time.
In 1994, I was a Johnny-come-lately to Biggie and his music. I’d heard of him but didn’t pay much attention to him or his music. I was still trying to wrap my mind around Snoop’s “Gin and Juice” as far as Rap/Hip Hop was concerned. However, in 1996 when I first heard “Hypnotized” with its smooth lyrics and Herb Alpert’s looped single “Rise,” I became fully aware of Biggie. My attention was captured and only increased when just a few months later he was gunned down. My mental timeline for Biggie’s career/life is short but powerful. Today he is definitely at the top of my “who is the best rapper of all time” list. For me, lyrically, he had no time to make mistakes he was on point in every stanza I heard. I didn’t witness the real time change, if any, from his first album “Ready to Die” to his second and last album “Life After Death” as some artists make. For me, it’s just one seamless Biggie soundtrack. And it’s all good.
Rest In Peace Biggie!
Know that you had me at:
I can fill ya wit real millionaire shit
Escargot, my car go, one sixty, swiftly
Wreck it buy a new one
Your crew run run run, your crew run run . . .
Check out the rest of Hypnotized here: