"Your face my feet they meet in stompin'/I'm rippin' emcees from Tallahassee to Compton...." - Notorious B.I.G.
That rhyme still baffles me. Why would a up-and-coming rapper from Brooklyn use my hometown in any of his lines. Supposedly Biggie had visited Florida A&M University for homecoming and Florida State University's football program was coming of age, winning its first national championship in 1993. Yet, in the hip hop world, Tallahassee was non-existent. There was no "Hip Hop" from dead prez and T-Pain was running around Oak Ridge Elementary. Yet my city was on the mind of one of the greatest rapper of all time, Christopher George Letore Wallace.
I feel obliged to make a post about Biggie on the anniversary of his last day on earth. My story is that I was inspired to become a rapper when I saw the "Juicy" video on Rap City. When I saw this dark-skin, fat, cock-eyed dude I thought to myself, "I can do this!" I realized that it was about skill and not what image you portrayed. I didn't have to be LL Cool J with all the lip licking. Biggie's success taught me that all I had to do was strive to be the best.
I discovered Biggie's wizardry years later. Before the "Juicy" epiphany, I hadn't paid much attention to rap in terms of lyrics, metaphors, flow, song structure, etc. Being the nerd I am, I began to study different emcess such as Biggie, Keith Murray, Busta Rhymes and Lauryn Hill. I had an East Coast bias. I copped most of their CDs through Columbia's "10 albums for the price of 1" deal from ads placed in newspapers back then. Obviously, Biggie's 'Ready to Die' was my favorite and I would listen to it constantly. My favorite song was "Warning". The beat was hard and Biggie's voice was menacing. I've always been a sucker for story-telling rhymes i.e. Slick Rick's "Children's Story", so "Warning" was my cup of tea. I listened to how he flowed to the beat, the different characters he voiced, and his use of his Jamaican accent all came together perfectly for me. It's still my most favorite song of all time.
I'll admit that I wasn't completely shocked over Biggie's death. No disrespect, but I thought Tupac had the craziest fans. Tupac had an ability to touch people's souls. When he was killed, I thought it was a matter of time before someone sought revenge on Big even though he had nothing to do with it. Lo and behold, on March 9, 1997, Biggie was shot and killed in L.A. When I learned that he died, I shook my head and said, "I knew it". When I learned he was in L.A., I thought, "What that hell was he doing out there?!" The man was on a mission to heal the pain that his beef with Tupac caused and unfortunately that's how he was compensated.
I believe Puffy deserves a lot of respect. I don't agree with a lot of the things he's done lately (Kill the "Last Trip to Paris" project!!), but he almost single-handedly bought hip hop out of a cloud of darkness after 'Pac and Biggie's deaths. Instead of sulking about the death of his best friend, Sean Combs went sample-crazy and made some of the most succulent hip hop song ever. In my opinion, it was needed.
So let's celebrate Biggie's work and his life! I want you guys to tell me what are your favorite Biggie memories and/or songs? Let me know by leaving comments....baby-baaaaaaab-bay!