Today, The Notorious B.I.G, real name Christopher Wallace, would have turned forty-seven years old; given that it’s been over twenty years since his death, the idea of a veteran Biggie, still navigating the game amidst its current climate, feels difficult to imagine. Yet it might have been, had the young rapper not been slain on March 9th, 1997. Can you imagine, an OG Biggie? Sadly, such a reality will never manifest. All we can really do is look back on his legacy, and the music he left behind.
Many in the rap game have taken a moment to pay respects to Big, wishing the late icon a happy birthday. Some, like Diddy and Jadakiss, actually collaborated with him; others simply understand the importance of what he contributed to New York, as well as hip-hop culture at large. Check out some of the well-wishers below, and take a moment to reflect on your favorite Biggie line.
When I was in school, another late icon Reggie “Combat Jack” Ossé was a guest speaker during a class. He shared a story about his experience with B.I.G, having spent time in a recording studio while the rapper and his entourage were in the middle of a bender. When it came time for Big to record his vocals, he was passed out, a box of pizza beside him. As Jack told it, Biggie was finally roused from slumber, and proceeded to absolutely murder his vocals in one take, never losing a step. The sheer level of artistry the young man possessed remains impressive even now, and every so often, hip-hop fans should journey backward through his catalog, if only to be reminded of a simple fact: there’s a reason many still call him the GOAT.
Happy birthday Big!