20 years after the death of Notorious B.I.G., his impact on Hip Hop is still felt. Revered by many as the greatest of all time, Biggie’s ability on the M-I-C was special. Biggie Smalls commanded the airwaves in the mid 90’s and even today you can frequently catch Biggie throwbacks on urban radio.
Biggie Smalls’ witty, storytelling lyrics effectively delivered with his signature drawl, stand the test of time. His album Ready to Die was groundbreaking. The album perfectly blended commercial radio singles with hardcore rap. The Bad Boy recipe of rehashing old soul songs proved effective, boosting Biggie to prominence. The level of commercial success reached was unheard of at the time for a hardcore rapper. Ready to Die is my personal favorite album from Biggie. Start to finish, every cut on this album is a certified classic.
Biggie’s rift with one-time friend, 2Pac, fueled the so-called east coast vs west coast beef of the 90’s. The beef made major headlines and was fodder for Hip Hop tabloids. Their contentious rivalry ended with the murder of 2Pac in September of 1996. Six months later Biggie was gunned down.
Sadly, Ready to Die was the only album Biggie Smalls would see released in his lifetime. Just weeks after his death on March 9th, 1997, his second studio album was released to critical acclaim. A double album, Life After Death consisted of 24 tracks that were slightly more upbeat than his earlier album. Still, Biggie’s lyrics played like a mobster movie of opulence and grit.
Over his short career, Biggie showed dexterity as an emcee. He flexed his ability to bang out commercial hits while keeping his edge. We’ll always love Big Poppa. Salute to one of the masters of the craft on the 20th anniversary of his passing.
Rest in peace B.I.G.
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