By: Ian Wixted
To quote Bret “The Hitman” Hart, The Notorious B.I.G. was “the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be” when it comes to the greatest rapper of all time. He was a lyrical mastermind that used his skills on the mic to paint the most vivid pictures for his listeners. Taking you on a journey that pulled you out of your life and placed you in a day in-the-life of the Notorious one.
March 9th marks the date when The Notorious B.I.G. was taken from us way too soon at the early age of 24, but today we are not here to dwell on his death, we are here to celebrate the life of Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace! And we do that by counting down the top ten songs/videos The Notorious B.I.G. ever produced:
10. “I Got a Story To Tell”
This song describes Biggie’s style in a nutshell. Story telling was the greatest trait in Biggie’s rap arsenal, using gritty lyrics to get his point across and describe to listeners his world view.
9. “Notorious Thugs”
The first track of the second disc of Life After Death lands at our number 9 spot. Biggie called on the help of Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs & Harmony to make Notorious Thugs something special. The rap scene in the mid-west and south was beginning to blow and B.I.G. knew how important it would be. He was a big fan of Bone Thugs’ rap style, and for Notorious Thugs he wanted to make his flow as fast as theirs. He did it so well that if this was the first Notorious B.I.G. song you ever heard, you would think that this was his style.
8. “Miss U”
Any time Biggie hooked up with 112 for a track you knew it was going to bring out the feels. Miss U was a tribute track for one of B.I.G.’s friends: O. With the King of NY spitting from the heart and 112 harmonizing on the hook, Miss U is one of Biggie’s smoothest tracks.
7. “One More Chance”
This is one of those rare times a remix sounds better than the original. One More Chance (Remix) was The Notorious B.I.G.’s highest debuting single of all time, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. This is the song that told us to keep it Gucci down to the socks!
6. “Big Poppa”
When you sample The Isley Brothers’ Between the Sheets, you can do no wrong, and that’s exactly what B.I.G. did for Big Poppa. A song dedicated to another one of Biggie’s nicknames, Big Poppa went certified platinum and was nominated for a Grammy. A classic B.I.G. song that gets stuck in your head the second you hear it, gave big guys everywhere a new nickname, and left us with this great cinematic moment:
Another classic showcasing Biggie’s storytelling. From the very first line, Biggie takes you on a ride through the mind of someone dealing with the warning of an impending hit. Through all the emotions one must feel when they’ve been betrayed, B.I.G. puts you right in their shoes every time Warning is played.
This was the video that changed music videos forever! As the first single off of Life After Death, you knew Biggie & Puff wanted to go all out for the video, and that they did! The Hypnotize video isn’t a music video at all, it’s a short movie. Everything in this video is just perfect, from the bouncing smiley face following along with the subtitles to the scene where Puff is driving backwards with Biggie rapping in the passenger side.
3. “Mo Money Mo Problems”
This was the video to watch for anyone growing up in the 90s. Mo Money Mo Problems was the second single off of Life After Death and became a #1 hit, making The Notorious B.I.G. the only person to have two #1 hits posthumous. Hype Williams made a crazy video for the song that parodied Tiger Woods and gave us the glorious Shiny Suits, the Mo Money Mo Problems was as 90s as the 90s get.
Juicy was the song that put The Notorious B.I.G. on, and personally, it’s the greatest track he ever recorded. Using a sample of Mtume’s Juicy Fruit, this was a beat Biggie didn’t like initially, but eventually came around to feeling it and laid down some memorable lines. “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this.” A rag-to-riches story, Juicy is what made The Notorious B.I.G. the savior of East Coast rap.
1. “Sky’s The Limit”
If you need me to explain why this is our number 1 choice, you clearly haven’t seen this video before. Hands down THE greatest music video of all time, sorry Thriller.
And that’s our list of the Top Ten Notorious B.I.G. songs/videos, we close this out with a tribute song.
R.I.P. to the greatest rapper of all time!