I’m trying to recall the first time I heard Biggie. If memory serves me, it was some time around 1993 and he hadn’t reached the heights or fame of the Notorious B.I.G. just yet. It had to have been one of the Stretch and Bobbito sessions that kept me up during the wee hours of the night and right around the time I decided to immerse myself into a life of recklessness. Big probably came into my life at the best and worst time. I was at a crossroads. Mine was a universal story common to most urban epicenter. An impressionable kid from a good family living in a bad neighborhood.
You see, when Big’s Party and Bullshit came out, my confederates and I were renowned party crashers. We Were like gypsy derelicts, traveling from section to section from the Bronx to Harlem to Queens, invading house parties and pretty much hoping to end the night in a fight or an armed robbery. In hindsight, as a grown-ass man and father, it was disgusting. But at the time it was utterly exhilarating. By the time Ready to Die dropped, it was a wrap. We, my team and I, blindly subscribed to lives of petty crime and Big was the concert master of our orchestra of adolescent madness. Every cut off this album mirrored some facet of our crazy, reckless lives. Things done Changed,” you damn right, these ain’t bb guns homes, this blue steel right here. “Gimme the Loot” yup, that was us, young burgeoning stick up kids. “One More Chance,” “Juicy,” Big Poppa.” C’mon, does anything even need to be said? But my personal anthem, my motha f#ckin’ theme was “Everyday Struggle.” A lyrical masterpiece. For me, it was the first time music became a visual experience without the use of a TV. This song was like a 5 minute and 19 seconds audio novel.
Without question Big was a talent way ahead of his time and hailed as ones of Hip Hops Kings. Most onlookers however may look at his body of work as too much glorification of the streets and or hustling. Nonetheless I believe he actually did a lot more for the youth by leading with example of a kid from Brooklyn that made it.. Those same kids that were or could've been just like me now believed there was another way to make it and focused more heavily on Music and Creating Art rather than the streets. I wonder what the Notorious would have evolved into had he been given more time. I guess we will never know. What we can attest to, though, is his music continues to stand the test of time and remains relevant today (20 years later).
God bless you Big, may you Rest In Peace.