I’m going to go on a limb and say The Notorious B.I.G. is hip-hop’s most quoted lyricist. Everyone from frequent borrowers like Beanie Sigel to one-time leasers (Nas’ bodyguard) has nabbed a line or two from Brooklyn’s portly poet. In fact, it’s hard to name a rapper who hasn’t jocked Biggie’s fresh at least once. Among my favorite
swagger jacking sessions tributes is last year’s “Announcement,â€ by Commonâ€”not because he’d so profoundly flipped C. Wallace’s words. It’s because he takes on the Bad Boy posture for just long enough, spitting “See them rappers, they be duckin’/when Com’ be buckin’/in the kitchen fuckin’/on the sink/Got my momma a minkâ€¦,â€ never missing a step in his flow. But later, he snaps back into his backpacker mold, rhyming “I’ll probably go to jail forâ€”nah, that ain’t me/I style crazy/And net like Jay-Z.â€ It’s like Com’s so hardcore, caught up in Pharrell’s guitar interpretation of Biggie’s b-side classic “Dreams,â€ then has that realization, where he finds himself back in the crochet pants and sweater. On this 12th anniversary of Biggie’s death, I thought of an exchange I had with Common when talking about his “Announcementâ€ record last year. Here’s what the Chi-Town MC had to say.
You went extra hard with the Biggie Smalls references on “Announcement.â€
It was a tribute to Biggie, paying homage. Pharrell already put [the song] into that family. The guitar made me think of “Dreams of Fucking an R&B Bitch,â€ so I went on my Biggie thing. Biggie is an incredible person when it comes to style.
Was he a big influence in you flipping your flows?
Biggie is a prime example of someone that rides tracks. I could remember being in the Chi and listening to the radio [when] I first heard “Unbelievable.â€ I was like, “Man, this is some of the most incredible music I’ve ever heard.â€ I wanted the DJ to just play it again. As soon as I heard, “Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant/ the livest one/ Representing BK to the fullestâ€¦â€ Ooooh, that’s a flow right there!
Listen to “Announcementâ€ here:
Christopher Wallace would’ve been 36 years old. List your favorite Biggie tributes in the comments. And check out DJ Drama and Cookin’ Soul’s The Notorious B.I.G. Tribute mixtape here http://www.cookinsoul.com/CSDRAMABIG.zip