It's The Notorious B.I.G's Birthday, Celebrate With These 10 Songs

There are a few artists that come along every so often that do so much for music that they simply transcend their genre. Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie. These are all names that everyone recognizes, and remembers. Another name that we can add to that list is Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls.
Biggie was one of the pioneers of East Coast Rap music, and while he was certainly far from the first artist to represent for New York City, he is perhaps the most legendary. Long after his tragic death in 1997, we still listen to his music, hear his rhymes, and celebrate his life and impact.
Today, May 21st, is Biggie’s birthday and he would have been 46 years old. In order to help honor his birthday, we’ve gathered some of his best, must-listen-to¬†songs in order to get you in a celebratory mood. Let’s be honest, we all should really be listening to his entire catalog, but we can start with these ten and work from there.


“Juicy”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JZom_gVfuw

The song he is perhaps best known for, “Juicy”, is the rags-to-riches tale brought to hip-hop. Hip-hop is defined by the come up, people picking themselves up from the ground, dusting themselves off, and making their way in the world. “Juicy” is Biggie’s story and it simply needs to be heard.


“Party & Bullsh*t”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEaPDNgUPLE

Every playlist needs party songs and Biggie was someone who loved a good fiesta. “Party & Bullsh*t” is his anthem for doing whatever the hell you want and making sure that you have a good time doing it.

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“Big Poppa”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phaJXp_zMYM

Many rappers¬†talk about how many girls they get with, how much money they have etc. and Biggie was no different. In what has become one of his most well-known songs, “Big Poppa” is a quintessential Biggie Classic.


“Warning”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbSm6HsX_ek

Biggie’s life wasn’t always sunshine and daisies. In fact, much of his life was tragic and very difficult. Growing up in Brooklyn, he was forced to sell drugs from a young age, just to get by. “Warning” is one of Biggie’s many odes to the street lifestyle and its dangers. His ability to tell a story is on display here and talent to weave lyrics together cannot be denied.


“Hypnotize”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glEiPXAYE-U

Another Biggie song that, even if you’re not a hip-hop fan, you know. Once the music hits, everyone is immediately put in a better mood and is ready to party. Hell, I think even my parents know “Hypnotize.” This song really needs no introduction, so just press play.


“Mo Money Mo Problems”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUhRKVIjJtw

Another song that needs little to no introduction, “Mo Money Mo Problems” a collaboration between Biggie and fellow Bad Boy Records artists Puff Daddy and Mase, this song talks about exactly what the title implies; the richer you get, the more problematic your life becomes.

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“Ten Crack Commandments”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYb_8MM1tGQ

Biggie’s life as a drug dealer is well-documented throughout his discography. “Ten Crack Commandments” is probably the most in-depth he goes into what it takes to be a drug dealer. It is certainly not a life that anyone envies, but it is one that Biggie was unfortunately forced to experience.

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“Going Back To Cali”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_P-sP698sA

Make no mistake about it, Biggie is New York City through and through. He is a foundation of New York hip-hop in the place where hip-hop was born. However, “Going Back To Cali” earns a spot on this list simply due to its upbeat tempo and its ode to California, at a time when the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop war was at its height and of which Biggie was one of the unfortunate casualties.


“Gimme The Loot”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzvL4O3uomg

Another tale of the streets, “Gimme The Loot” is Biggie’s anthem to, what else, but robbing. Street violence and drug dealing, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand, and Biggie tells the story of what it’s like to take part in criminal activities like this.


“Old Thing Back”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvbxDz6DClg

I know what you must be thinking. “Wow, you’re really gonna include a remixed song on this list? There are so many other Biggie songs that deserve recognition here.” Yes, you’re probably right. However, I included it here for one simple reason: it’s a bridge. Many people born after Biggie’s death don’t listen to him or simply aren’t aware of the impact he had. This song blew up the charts when it was released and I swear it was everywhere. What better song to end this playlist with than this one?


It is really impossible to calculate the impact that Biggie had on not just hip-hop but music in general. So, do yourself a favor and don’t just listen to these ten songs, listen to the man’s entire discography. It will be some of the best music you have ever heard, I promise.

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