Ah, Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G. There hasn't been -- and as long as hip-hop is a genre, won't be -- a quiet passing of March 9. Similar to when Buddy Holly took the fateful flight that inspired a nation to observe the day the music died, the day Biggie Smalls was slain is forever marked as a watershed moment in hip-hop.
What's most interesting about Biggie's death is not that a young man who lived his type of lifestyle was gunned down in such a manner -- there were several killings throughout the East Coast/West Coast campaign of violence that took place that year that weren't as high profile -- but that the events leading up to his death, and his subsequent demise, would birth some of the most memorable hip-hop references.
5. "Second Round K.O."- Canibus When Canibus decided to go at LL Cool J, for what is now a beef so long overcooked, we can't even recall exactly what the problem was -- something about a microphone tattoo -- the nail in the coffin was the line, "the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th." An obvious throw to LL's claim of being the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time). Some hip-hop cats will say LL lost to young Canibus because of that line.
4. "I Just Want to Love You (Give it 2 Me)" - Jay-Z A notorious track from Jay-Z that famously almost didn't make The Blueprint, "I Just Want to Love You (Give it 2 Me)" finds Hov ripping the first six lines from Biggie's "World Is Filled," turning the lines, "When the Rémy's in the system/Ain't no telling, /When I fuck 'em/Will I diss 'em/That's what these hoes yelling/ I'm a pimp by blood, not relation/Y'all still chase 'em, I replace 'em" into his own cult classic appeal.
3. "Black Friday" - Lil Kim While Lil Kim is on a pretty decent losing streak, her use of Biggie sound bytes in the opening of this Nicki Minaj diss track reminds us that it was Biggie who ushered the raunchy era of lady rap to the forefront.
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2. "What More Can I Say?" - Jay-Z Jay touches on the constant accusations with the line: "I say a Big verse, I'm only biggin' up my brother/Biggin' up my borough/I'm big enough to do it."
1. "Ether"- Nas "How much of Biggie's rhymes is gon' come out your fat lips?" He rhymes, addressing Jay-Z in what was the most high profile rap beef kept on wax since Biggie and Tupac. The premise being that since the Notorious one's death, Jay-Z took creative miles, rather than inches when using Big's lyrics.