If you're like me, you've probably heard a few terrible verses by some of the best emcees in the game. Almost every rapper has been outrhymed on his own song at some point. On the other hand, I don't remember ever running into a bad Biggie collaboration. Big approached collaborations with the same grit and hilarity that blessed his solo cuts. To buttress my point, I present you with 10 of Biggie's best collaborations of all time.
(Album: Conspiracy, Junior M.A.F.I.A.)
Aside from storytelling and bragfests, party rap was one B.I.G.'s bread and butter. In fact, the credits should on this song should've read 'Notorious B.I.G. ft. Junior M.A.F.I.A.'
(Album: No Way Out, Puff Daddy & The Family)
Equal parts paranoia and aggression, Biggie's verse on "Victory" is one of the brightest spots on Diddy's No Way Out LP.
(Album: Tupac: Resurrection (OST), 2Pac)
"Running (Dying to Live)" is a remake of a posse cut called "Running From the Police," which also features Pac and Big. Eminem reconstructs the track by incorporating a sample of Edgar Winter's "Dying to Live," as well as nuggets of Tupac and Biggie interviews.
(Album: Life After Death, Notorious B.I.G.)
Who knew Biggie Smalls could rock propane-fueled, melody-driven floetry a la Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? Credit also goes to Bone (the only rap group to have shared mics with both Biggie and 'Pac in their lifetime) for setting the pace. Literally.
(Album: Born Again, Notorious B.I.G.)
On this posthumous collaboration, Frank White submits a gangsta recital about "spreading blood like mustard." For his part, Eminem matches Biggie's jaw-dropping rhymes with reckless references to cannibalism and exorcism.
(Album: 112, 112)
Whereas Big's debut single, 1992's "Cruisin'" failed to make an impression on the charts, his verse on "Only You" helped push the 112 jam to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
(Album: What's the 411: The Remixes, Mary J. Blige)
Biggie's exceptional performance on "What's the 411" rivals his microscopic presence on "Real Love," but both are undeniable throwback classics.
(Album: Ready to Die, Notorious B.I.G.)
"Flows just grow through me/ like trees to branches/Cliffs to avalanches/It's the praying mantis/Deep like the mind of Farrakhan A motherf****n rap phenomenon."
Not to be outdone by the Wu-Tang's most flavorful MC, Biggie holds his weight with heavy punchlines too numerous to name. The lone collaboration on Ready to Die eventually became one of his best songs ever.
(Album: Project: Funk the World, Craig Mack)
Fresh off the critical praise of Ready to Die, Big Poppa delivers a lyrical smackdown within the first 20 seconds of this all-star remix ("N***as is mad I get more butt than ashtrays"). Ah, the good ol' days when Puffy's role was limited to dancing in videos.
(Album: Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z)
A collaboration is supposed to be a balanced showcase with all parties making meaty contributions, not an opportunity for one star to shine. That's what makes "Brooklyn's Finest" such an epic collaboration.