Very much like 9-11 or Princess Diana’s fatal car crash; Biggie’s death was one of those historic “I-remember-where-I-was-when-I-heard” moments in history for me. I got a call from a high school friend early in the day after the shooting. Sounding despondent, my friend simply said “Biggie’s dead, they shot him last night in L.A.”.
I’m very rarely emotionally affected by celebrity deaths, this time was different. Of course it’s sad whenever anyone passes away but the kind of faux grief people express on social media after a celebrity death tends to go over the top to put it mildly. When Biggie died, no lie, I did privately shed a tear. There was no Facebook or Instagram for people to publicly mourn a fallen idol. Just friends consoling friends and getting information and updates from the actual news on television. (And yes, I know what you may be thinking, it’s true; back then we did start fires with rocks and horseless carriages were new and all the rage.)
To say I was saddened and shocked is something of an understatement. I was not only shocked by his death but more so, bewildered that he was even in Los Angeles in the first place! In my opinion it was way way too soon since Tupac’s death for Biggie, Puff and the rest of the Bad Boy roster to be anywhere near the west coast. The east coast vs. west coast beef had reached fatalistic levels with Pac being shot and killed. West coast people (dumb thugs to be exact) blamed The Bad Boy people for Tupac’s murder. Someone, somewhere, was looking to exact revenge, and possibly legendary street cred and fame in the process.
Despite the fact that it’s been 21 years since his death, Biggie lives on! His music gets radio play daily; his surviving family and extended family speak fondly of him in interviews, documentaries continue to get made chronicling his life and the impact of his music. And the mystery of his unsolved murder still haunts us.
For many years, I referred to Biggie as the GOAT, the Greatest Of All Time. Referring back to the title of this article, I can no longer call Biggie the GOAT. He’s OOTGOAT. One of the greatest of all time. The GOAT title belongs solely to Jay-Z. To say Biggie is one of the greatest is not the least bit shocking, compared to saying he is NOT the greatest of all time. That statement is very likely to start a war of words. The case for Jay as the GOAT seems inarguable now. What might have been if Biggie lived??
The hip-hop world was tragically denied seeing the heights Christopher Wallace would have achieved (very much like Aaliyah, she would have had a “Beyonce-like” career, maybe better). Biggie’s untimely death left us with a bunch of hypothetical questions. Who knows if Jay-Z would still be the Jay-Z we know today had Biggie been alive to compete for Hip-Hop King of New York. We can only go with what we know. And we do know is; Jay-Z (coming from nothing), through impeccable creative business savvy and a talent for producing hit after hit, has created an empire and a net worth close to a billion dollars.
Again, the “might haves” and “could haves” discussions regarding Biggie’s career potential continues on in hip-hop circles and barbershops to this day. Unquestioned, Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. Frank White, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls), a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. is one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. Biggie lives on through his family, his friends, his legacy and his music; timeless music which this DJ continues to bump every chance I get. We truly miss you Biggie.
(BTW, Long Kiss Goodnight, is one of my all-time favourite Biggie tracks. (IMO) This was Biggie was at his absolute finest; at the height of his powers! Lyrical storytelling with an immaculate flow is becoming extinct; unfortunately getting killed by these Lil’ Mumble-Whoever’s-Hot-This-Hour rappers. Cleanse your ears with some Biggie today!!)