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Notorious B.I.G. Live In Concert

Source: Raymond Boyd / Getty

The Notorious B.I.G. is, without doubt, an essential figure in the Hip-Hop hierarchy, perhaps elevated to his lofty slot by way of reverence in death alongside an appreciation for the brief body of work. In 1994, the world was properly introduced to Biggie Smalls in grand fashion by way of his debut album, Ready To Die.

The story of Christopher George Latore Wallace, the son of Jamaican immigrants and raised in Brooklyn, New York, has been told time and again. His storied climb to fame has been documented in a biopic, Notorious, and via other mediums so retelling the rise of Big to Biggie to Notorious B.I.G. is less necessary here. What is necessary to note is what music listeners were privileged to hear from Biggie Smalls, and the rather swift evolution to the artist he became.

On Heavy D’s incredibly slept-on fourth album Blue Funk, released in 1992, the album showcased a much rougher edge to the radio-friendly star. The song’s ending track, “A Buncha N*ggas,” was a future Hall of Fame lineup of Guru of Gangstarr, 3rd Eye, Rob-O of I-N-I, Hev, and a very hungry Biggie Smalls. Although every rapper brought their best to the track, it’s hard to ignore the sheer energy of Biggie and how that East Coast Stomp flow was untouchable. For some hardcore heads, this would be their first true introduction to the Brooklyn upstart.

“I bring drama like ya, spit on my momma

Cannibalistic, like that n*gga Jeffrey Dahmer

I’ma head peeler, girl stealer

Coffin sealer, ex-drug dealer, {HUNNNNHH!]

When I hit you with the blow of death I leave nothing left

I cook you up so quick, they call me Biggie Smalls the Chef

My burner’s to my left, I’m not the type to fight

I’m blowing up quick like a stick of dynamite

So call nine-one-one, Biggie’s got a gun

The gat to your back, I’m smoking everyone

Quick to pack, quick to squeeze on the trigger

Who’s in the house? [HUNNNNHH]! A buncha n*ggas!”

The reappearance of Biggie Smalls occurred again in 1993 via the Who’s The Man soundtrack lead song, “Party & Bullsh*t, a still-potent banger from Easy Mo Bee that highlighted gliding across the organ-tinged groove. There were several Hip-Hop acts comprised of rappers that matched and perhaps surpassed Biggie’s ability in the early 1990s — we’re talking names like Heltah Skeltah, Gangstarr, Redman, A Tribe Called Quest, Souls Of Mischief, Cypress Hill — but none of them cut through the mix with the force and control Biggie had on the song.

Photo: Getty

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