Mar 10, 2016 11:21AM

Remembering The Notorious B.I.G.

Gone but not forgotten.

19 years ago today the world lost one of its best, Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, in a fatal shooting. The Notorious B.I.G was one of the greatest storytellers of our teenagehood, and even if you were only a casual fan, you probably still know all the lyrics to most of his classic hits.

His legacy is still omnipresent in the hip-hop world and his appeal transcends categorisation: you're still guaranteed to hear 'Hypnotize' blaring from the speakers of a hotted up Subaru while you're waiting at the lights at least once in your life, yet he's quite possibly your favourite rapper's favourite rapper.

Biggie made the dopest video clips, had the best steez and was a master when it came to freestyling. For e.g. here's a 17-year-old Bigs on a street corner owning some poor sod, who is no doubt still applying ice to his burns:

R.I.P buddy. You may be gone, but you'll never be forgotten.

We might not be able to pay our respects quite like Joey Bada$$ did earlier today with this on-point tribute:

But here's just a few of the legend's best and most well-known bangers to remember him by... 


We can't even remember what we ate for breakfast, but we will never not know the words to this ultimate under-age dance party jam. The video clip is pretty bang on too, especially at 1:37 when some hero casually uses the traffic lights to do pull-ups; but also the fashions, the lush AF pool party and how much he vibes on his mum/daughter. Also thanks for teaching us that the real pronunciation of "Moët" doesn't omit the T. In yo' face, snobs.

'Mo' Money Mo' Problems' 

This will always be a good one to spill your drink to. The whacked-out video is also pretty classic: it starts with P Dids playing a friendly spot of golf, and ends with Mase/Puff strutting out of a room filled with burning money in shiny space suits. 


'Warning' not only showed how paranoid Biggie was getting towards the end: "It's the ones that smoke blunts witcha / see ya picture / now they wanna grab the guns and come getcha", but also how skillful/visceral his storytelling abilities were. May as well shift to the edge of your seat now, 'cause it's where you'll be for the duration of the track. 


Best video claim from before? Here's your proof. It's got all the makings of a classic hip-hop/R&B clip: a yacht, some hunnays, and all dat bling. It also proves that if Bigs were still alive, he definitely would have scored the leading part as a villain in at least one action film. Also of note: at one point in the clip mermaids are seen to be swimming about in an indoor fish tank. Soz, but what?

'Party And Bullshit'

Biggie's first single 'P&B' is still the number one song to turn up to, even Tupac vibed it before they stopped being mates. The track epitomises Biggie's flawless flow, delivery, timing and lyricism — this was Biggie before he was chillin' with Puff in Cristal-filled bathtubs. 

'Ready To Die'

As per usual, Biggie sums his mads skills up most eloquently: "I got techniques drippin' out my butt-cheeks." Outside of that comedic respite, Big's obsession with death permeates the track: "I'm ready to die and nobody can save me." :(

'Big Poppa'

This song is pretty much a tutorial in pulling chicks. Despite most of Ready To Die centering on Biggie's life as young crim, 'Big Poppa' was all about dat nightlife; bottle-popping, club-hopping and "money, hoes and clothes". Super swag, Bigs. 

'Young Gs'

Literal OGs and longtime collaborators — Jay, Biggie and Puff — all came together on this track to show they always brought the best out in each other. Biggie's verse was obvi the best though, especially: "I be smokin trees in Belize when they find me."

'Who Shot Ya?'

Biggie's most controversial song 'Who Shot Ya?' came out when Tupac was in jail and after he'd be shot, inflaming the biggest feud in hip-hop history. Even tho Biggie and Puff denied it was related to Tupac, the lyrics are too suss for it not to be. One of the most classic diss tracks out. 

'Sky's The Limit'

'Sky's The Limit' is probably the most uplifting track in Biggie's catalogue. It's a classic ashy-to-classy tale, detailing how he came to success despite the life he was born into. Big's also once called it the best song he ever made. 

'Going Back To Cali' 

Despite being embroiled in heaps of beef with certain factions of the Left Coast, Biggie still had big love for Cali, which he raps about in this tune: "If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East / I live out there so don't go there / But that don't mean a nigga can't rest in the West." 

Honourable mentions go to: 

'Ten Crack Commandments'

'Suicidal Thoughts'

'Brooklyn's Finest feat. Jay Z'

'Real Love feat. Mary J Blige'

'Long Kiss Goodnight'


Photo: Tumblr 

Madeleine Woon