Biggie Smalls is the illest. The Coogi sweater-rocking, Gucci shades-wearing Brooklyn poet was a rapper's rapper. He's often heralded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. And for good reason. Big made consistently great hip-hop music before an assassin gunned him down on March 9, 1997. But Biggie's legacy lives on through his music. Here are the best songs by the Notorious B.I.G.
15. "One More Chance" Remix
Party rap was Biggie's bread and butter, a point solidified by this track's meteoric flight to the Billboard Hot 100 where it docked at a record-setting No.5.
14. "Notorious Thugs"
Biggie Smalls kicking double time, melody-driven floetry a la Bone Thugs-N-Harmony alongside Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? Not too shabby. But give props to Bone (the only rap group to ever share airtime with both Biggie and 'Pac in their lifetime) for setting the pace and surviving Biggie's behemoth presence.
13. "I Got a Story to Tell"
B.I.G. was one hell of a storyteller. Here, he weaves a hilarious tale about almost getting caught with his pants down. But seeing as this is is Biggie, one of hip-hop's greatest narrators, he throws in all sorts of twists and turns to keep the movie-on-wax scenes playing in your head after the song ends.
12. "Everyday Struggle"
Biggie didn’t need an entire song to capture the weight of everyday struggle. He did it in one rhyme. You could visualize him grudgingly dragging his 400 pound body out of bed. “Everyday Struggle” was a portrait of hopelessness and Biggie set the tone from the jump. Contrary to popular belief, though, the story wasn’t autobiographical. It was actually inspired by Big’s childhood friend Henney Loc.
11. "Kick in the Door"
Big used this gem from Life After Death to call out tough-talking bad boys, including one Queens rapper. Frank White wasn’t much for dancing around the issue. While "Kick in the Door" didn't reference Nas directly, it was as subtle as a shot of glass to the dome.
10. "Dead Wrong"
In the land of blind posthumous Biggie songs, "Dead Wrong" is the one-eyed king. Some of that has to do with Eminem's larva-red verse. Most heads can recite “Dead Wrong” without breaking a sweat, even they have trouble remembering the rest of the songs on the album that spawned it.
9. "Suicidal Thoughts"
After reels and reels of depressing pictures, Biggie capped off Ready to Die with these cold, suicidal words. The opening line -- "When I die, f--k it I wanna go to hell/Cause I’m a piece of sh-t, it ain’t hard to f--kin’ tell" -- is the equivalent of starting a gangster flick with a homicide scene.
Classic Biggie: Commence with a boast ("Hah, sicka than your average"), conclude with a threat ("Poppa/Twist cabbage off instinct n---as, don’t think sh-t stink”). That you can to dance to it is cherry on top.
7. "Live at MSG Freestyle"
Biggie starts off bragging about his guns, then shifts to a bragfest about his riches. He ties it all together with a reference to MC Hammer and his 357 dancers. The brilliance in that last lies in the double entendre “357″–it alludes to both Oaktown’s 357 group and the 357 Magnum revolver.