In honor of the late Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, I’ve decided to make a list of my top 10 Notorious B.I.G. records. Choosing only 10 Biggie records to make the list is difficult. Though he had a very limited amount of material at his time of death, quantity isn’t what helped Biggie to stand out. Biggie’s penchant for story telling and delivering slick bars is a large part of what made him special as a rapper. Very rarely while listening to Biggie will you question why he said something. Biggie made it a point to deliver potent bars that carried a meaning or further moved his stories along. Here’s my Top 10 Notorious B.I.G. records. What do you think? I missing some?
Gimme The Loot, Respect, The World Is Filled…(feat. Too $hort, Puff Daddy, and Carl Thomas)
10. Suicidal Thoughts
While a dark narrative, Suicidal Thoughts allows Biggie to put together a deep story pondering his past actions, thoughts and purpose. Biggie’s words are easy to understand, easy to feel and really help to put listeners into the shoes of a New York hustla.
9. Jay-Z – Brooklyn’s Finest(feat. The Notorious B.I.G.)
While not one of Biggie’s songs, this record indirectly symbolized the passing of the NY torch from Big to Hov. Biggie completely outshines Jay-Z on the iconic record but this was expected as Big was riding a strong wave and Jay-Z was just getting started.
8. What’s Beef?
What’s Beef? is a street track in which Biggie lays out his method and plans for dealing with beef. Todays rappers could probably take a few notes from Biggie’s outlines laid out on the record in determining that their Twitter bickering isn’t really “beef”.
7. Sky’s The Limit(feat. 112)
This has to be the most if not only uplifting track in the Notorious B.I.G. catalog. While the video for the record was released after his death, it was put together using footage from other videos as well as child actors playing Biggie and his crew.
Today, most hip hop records that we hear are cluttered with collabs and features, that’s why it’s important to note that Biggie did a majority of the rapping on his debut album himself. Warning is one of the more exciting song as it finds Biggie tag-teaming the record with himself as Biggie plays himself and a friend discussing the details of an alleged hit being taken out on Biggie. The result is classic and it goes to show the depth and extent of Biggie’s story telling.
5. Junior M.A.F.I.A. – Get Money(feat. Notorious B.I.G.)
Junior M.A.F.I.A. was a group of Biggie’s friends that he attempted to put out as a group. Get Money is one of Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s breakout records and it finds Biggie going bar for bar with the only member of Junior M.A.F.I.A. to go on and have solo success, Lil Kim. The hook, verses and track are overall, classic.
Juicy is one of my favorite records on Biggie’s debut album. It features a sample of the classic Mtume record Juicy Fruit. If you don’t know the word’s to this track, I’m not sure what hole in the ground you just came out of. The now iconic record helped to establish Biggie as a hip hop heavy hitter and took him to the top of the hip hop charts.
3. Kick in the Door
Kick in the Door is one of Biggie’s most lyrical records released. The hard hitting beat remains a staple of the hip hop sound and the classic outro to the record never gets old.
2. Ten Crack Commandments
10 Crack Commandments is a brilliant record that allows Biggie to drop insight and thoughts on how to make it in the dope game. There are a number of great business advice books on the shelves but it’s safe to say most of them don’t explain how to do business nearly as vividly or accurately as Biggie did on 10 Crack Commandments.
1. Big Poppa
Maybe I’m a little biased, Big Poppa was the very first Notorious B.I.G. record I ever heard but listening to the Brooklyn wordsmith drop bars over the classic Isley Brother sample is a classic feeling that never gets old. Biggie’s approach on the record is ahead of it’s time as he really doesn’t get into any unrealistic bragging and boasting and really stays to the point and paints a vivid picture as a regular guy, black and ugly as ever, who will take your girl at any moment.