“Yo, remember when Big died?”
Those old enough to remember will begin to vividly recall where they were and who delivered the news that the Notorious B.I.G. had been fatally shot on March 9, 1997 (just two weeks before his classic sophomore LP, Life After Death, was set to be released).
Fourteen years (and a couple of underwhelming posthumous albums) later, it feels like we’ve given him his due, but the praise is never sufficient. His living catalogue is brief, but nearly flawless. His friends say he was a great person, but as a fan, I wonder what musical genius would have come? I suppose thus is the eternal conundrum that attaches to any talent that is taken from us before really tapping into it’s potential.
Nevertheless, Christopher Wallace’s lyrics will always stand as some of hip-hop’s most potent, clever and charismatically delivered words. On the 14th anniversary of his death, delve into 14 of my favorite quotes from the late, great(est), Notorious B.I.G.
Give it up for him y’all.
14. “This rule is so underrated: Keep your family and business completely separated…” (Ten Crack Commandements)
13. “There’s gonna be alot of slow singin, and flower bringin’ if my burgular alarm starts ringin’.” (Warning)
12. “We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us. No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us. Birthdays was the worst days, now, we sip champagne when we thirst-ay.” (Juicy)
11. “Listen close, it’s Francis, the Praying Mantis. Attack with the Mac, my left hand spit, right hand grip on the whip, for the smooth getaway. Playa haters get away or my lead will spray. Squeeze off ‘til I’m empty, don’t tempt me. Only, to Hell I send thee, it’s all about the Benji’s. What.” (It’s All About the Benjamins w/ Puff Daddy, The Lox & Lil’ Kim)
10. “As I open my eyes and realizin’ I changed, not the same deranged child stuck up in the game. And to my n****s livin’ street life, learn to treat life to the best, put stress to rest.” (Respect)
9. “Get wet like semen/seamen, your whole team and be Mor-Gone than Freeman.” (My Downfall ft. DMC)
8. “Some say the Ex, make the sex spec-tacular. Make me lick you from your neck to yo back, then ya shiverin’, tongue deliverin’. Chills up that spine, that a** is mine.” (@!#$ You Tonight ft. R. Kelly)
7. “Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns, as I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons.” (Kick in the Door)
6. “I don’t wanna live no more. Sometimes I hear death knockin at my front door. I’m livin’ everyday like a hustle, another drug to juggle; another day, another struggle.” (Everyday Struggle)
5. “Been in this shit since ninety-two, look at all the bulls**t I’ve been through. So-called beef with you know who… F*** the luck s***, strictly aim. No aspirations to quit the game.” (Notorious Thugs ft. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
4. “I got 7 mack 11’s, about 8 .38’s, 9 nine’s, 10 mack 10’s, the s***s never end. You can’t touch my riches, even if you had MC Hammer and them 357 b****es.” (Live Freestyle ‘95)
3. “Rhyme a few bars, so I can buy a few cars and I kick a few flows so I can pimp a few hoes. Excellence is my presence, never tense, never hesitant. Leave a n***a bent real quick. Real sick, brawl nights, I perform like Mike; Anyone—Tyson, Jordan, Jackson, Action.” (Victory w/ Puff Daddy & Busta Rhymes)
2. “Make the best CD’s and the best tapes. Don’t forget the vinyl. Take girls, break spinals, Biggie be Richie like Lionel…N****s is actors, n****s deserve Oscars. Me, I’m critically acclaimed, slug past your brain…Couldn’t score if they had point game, they lame. Speak my name, I make ’em dash like Dame.” (I Love the Dough ft. Jay-Z)
1. “While we out here, say the hustlas prayer: If the game shakes me or breaks me, I hope it makes me a better man. Take a better stand. Put money in my mom’s hand. Get my daughter this college plan, so she don’t need no man. Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it and live the phrase ‘Sky’s the Limit.’” (Sky’s The Limit ft. 112)