You never need a special occasion to honor Christopher Wallace.
Annual reminders of the anniversary of his assassination, commemorative magazine articles coinciding with the release of Life After Death, Biggie lunchboxes — all that’s find and dandy. But see, as the years continue to roll by, it becomes fairly convenient to undermine why Frank White, over a decade after his passing still remains one of the most transcendent figures Hip-Hop has ever witnessed.
It’s all in the music baby.
Ask yourself a question. How does a man who only lived to reap the benefits off one album, even get considered to be one of the greatest, if the not the greatest? Ready To Die, like most of the legendary albums of it’s time, ran its course and maximized completely of it’s superlative eminence, which included three singles released with the majority of the rest becoming synonymous with the soundtrack of the streets.
But as monumental as Ready To Die was, Biggie’s no Len Bias. In other words, he didn’t fade to black going 100% from the field off the strength of a couple field goal attempts or sheer hype. Concordant to popular consensus, Hip-Hop artists did display a level of hungriness their modern-day contemporaries do not. The only reason Diddy was able to regurgitate posthumous releases such as the Biggie Duets, Born Again, and Suckin’ The Life Outta Death… was solely off the strength of Big’s verses. The “perform like Mike” line from “Victory” put the teeth in rapper’s biting the lyrics. He coolly set off the “Flava In Your Ear Remix” with the least animated performance, but still raked in the Notable Quotable with clever quips galore. And when a club DJ burns all the latest Lil’ Wayne tidbits before the last call is rang in, doesn’t he always seem to fall back on “One More Chance” or “Get Money” for the surefire win? Even rarely mentioned guest spots “Da B Side” and Tracy Lee’s “Keep Your Hands High” maintained a level of excellence that was unrivaled by his peers.
Only a MC who was destined to be a legend could make a four year period span from virtual anonymity to worldwide recognition. Even if you don’t agree he’s #1, there’s no disputing that his discography holds weight and even trumps several rappers with thrice as many albums. Life After Death’s stock was undoubtedly boosted as result of his untimely demise, but line for line, there will probably never be another album as storied as the double disc masterpiece. “Brooklyn’s Finest” holds rank at #2 on Vibe’s Top 50 Greatest Duets list while B.I.G. is gracing his second Source cover in two years. Not bad for someone who’s been deceased for over a decade. And with a promising biopic set to be released at the beginning of next year, it may be another two decades before we consider forgetting about his contributions to culture.
Think Big. And throw down some ice for the nicest MC…