On May 21, the Notorious B.I.G. would have been 47-years-old.The MC who came live from Bedford-Stuyvesant had an untimely death at the age of 24. Although the rapper only left behind two albums, Biggie is still regarded as one of the greatest lyricists of all time. In 1994, the MC, whose given name was Christopher Wallace, gifted hip-hop his debut album Ready to Die and in 1997 his double-album follow-up, Life After Death, which was ironically released two weeks after his own death; of course, there was also his group, Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s Conspiracy album, released in 1995. The four time Grammy-nominated artist has influenced a myriad of rappers, artists, and creatives with his frank, witty, and infectious flow while he was alive and posthumously.
Take a look at the five ways that Christopher Wallace is still influential below.
1. Biggie Has a Street Named After Him in His Hometown of Brooklyn
The block that the Notorious B.I.G. grew up on in Brooklyn was renamed in the late rapper’s honor. Christopher Wallace Way is located on the stretch of St. James Place between Gates Avenue and Fulton Street. The initiative took place in 2018, 21 years after the MC’s death.
2. People Still Flock to Brooklyn to Take Photos In Front of the Iconic Biggie Smalls Mural
You can see countless photos of people posing in front of the popular mural via the hashtag #biggiemural on Instagram. Although Biggie’s mural in Brooklyn is special because he repped his borough to the fullest, it’s one of many painted nationwide, proving even more that the iconic lyricist is still influential.
3. Jay-Z References Biggie on 2013’s “Oceans” featuring Frank Ocean.
“I’m anti-Santa Maria / Only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace / I don’t even like Washingtons in my pocket,” Hov raps. That Biggie reference from Jay is only one of many. In fact, Jay-Z has paid homage to the slain MC throughout his entire career. Jay-Z, an influential MC himself, is also only one of many other popular rappers who has referenced Big. Others include Nas, Gucci Mane, Lil Kim, Jadakiss, Joey Bada$$, Foxy Brown, Rapsody, Big L, and The Game, just to name a few.
4. Both of Biggie’s Children Have Businesses In His Honor.
Wallace’s daughter T’yanna has an apparel line called Notoriousss. She sells women’s and men’s t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and hats that reference her father and other prominent hip-hop figures. Biggie’s son, CJ, has tapped into the vastly-growing cannabis business. His company Think Big works to challenge the way that the world thinks about Mary Jane. He creates cannabis products that are rooted in “creativity, curiosity, and collaboration.”
5. The Author of This Story Has a Tattoo That Says, “I Got a Story to Tell,” referencing Big’s Famous Storytelling Track That Appears On His Last Album.
I got this tattoo in either 2011 or 2012 in New York City. As an avid Notorious B.I.G. fan and a fellow storyteller, I feel that Biggie’s “I Got a Story to Tell” is one of the greatest rap songs to depict an anecdote from start to finish. It alongside Nas’ “Rewind” is the epitome of how a rapper can tell a story with great wit, candor, snark, and humor. This isn’t up for debate.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter.