Notorious B.I.G – 13 Thoughts, 13 Years On

It’s been 13 years since Christopher Wallace was cut down in his prime. Those who know me know of my bizarre (yet valid) fascination/connection with the number thirteen and know where I’m going. But because I want to get back to my own musical Biggie tribute, I’m letting the readers off the hook from my long-windedness – but not without informing you that this could easily be a multiple page article in mere minutes. There are so many angles I can attack from, where do I begin? The fact that I can’t even express a fraction of what I’m feeling inside right now should give some indication as to how much of an impact the life of the Notorious B.I.G had on mine…

As a student of the art of emceeing, a fan and a man of the same ancestry, I’m still sad that one of the loudest voices and brightest flames Hip Hop will ever see was extinguished before he had a chance to peak. I wasn’t shocked when it happened, I was hurt that it could only have happened that way. The sadder part is that if you listen to interviews, nobody was shocked less than Christopher himself.

Being such a close watcher of the culture over the years (before and) since his passing, I can’t tell you how the game would be different if he were still alive. All I really know is the music has never fully recovered – and as a lifelong follower of Hip Hop in my heart I know for a fact it never will.

That void is bigger than Jigga’s contribution (a good part of which consisted of Biggie’s lyrics – but we won’t have that debate today…) and it’s a travesty that the younger generation has no idea what a vital piece is missing today. Aside from a few bright spots (Drake, Jay Electronica, a hungry Kanye), true skills don’t even matter anymore in mainstream music. So I don’t even bother listening anymore. To quote the man, “I see the gimmicks, the wack lyrics, the shit is depressing, pathetic, please forget it”.

I was in my teens when Biggie was murdered, now today I’m old and bitter. Microwave music, McSongs, and ringtone rappers have soured me on most of the music of “oh ten”. I’m not sour to the point where I like to think about what could have been had B.I.G (and Pac) had never been killed anymore. Speaking as someone who was cultivated during the “golden age” of Hip Hop, I’ve taken our parents approach to music. We have to accept that Biggie lived, made his (positive and negative) contribution and owned his moment in time but destiny called and his time was up. Who knows what he would be now, it’s a waste of time to wonder because there’s no right answer.

So I’m going keep it 13 since that’s all I can do when I’m overwhelmed. On this anniversary I offer 13 thoughts of 13 words about the Notorious B.I.G:

  1. Chubb Rock was Biggie Smalls before Christopher Wallace ever picked up a mic
  2. The children who were in first grade in 97 are college freshmen now.
  3. Blood is on the hands of those who used beef to sell magazines
  4. On the road to riches and diamond rings, real niggas do real things
  5. Rap music today is a poor imitation of what Biggie did years ago
  6. “Flavor in your ear” remix was an emcee battle between Biggie and Craig
  7. Biggie Smalls the character and Christopher Wallace the human being could not coexist
  8. The movie “Notorious” should have been named ” Shameless Money Grab” I hated it
  9. Knowing who shot Biggie won’t bring him back so how is closure attained?
  10. Guerilla Black and Shyne are lying about not trying to sound like Biggie
  11. Thirteen years later I’m still trying to figure out what Biggie’s legacy is
  12. Tupac and Biggie were two types of emcee, it’s not fair to compare
  13. If you want to get away with murder then go kill a rapper

–Marcus Garvey Lite

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