by Rahman Dukes
Arguably one of the greatest rappers ever to clutch the microphone, the Notorious B.I.G. celebrates what would have been his 37th birthday today. That’s right, the late great Frank White would have been just three years shy of officially being considered “over the hill.”
Since his untimely demise at the age of 24, there’s been much speculation for the past decade as to where the Brooklynite would stand in today’s rap climate. Would B.I.G. and his sidekick/boss Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs still be rocking together? What about Jay-Z? Lil Kim? Let’s take a look.
Bad Boy: Although B.I.G. was the label’s flagship artist and only on his second album (a double at that), a certain Mr. Comb’s track record of retaining his artists for the duration of their contractual obligations is not an impressive one (check: Craig Mack, Total, 112, Faith Evans, Mase, G. Dep, Black Rob, etc.) So, it’s hard to say whether Biggie himself would still be on the once-dominant Bad Boy.
Jay-Z: The two became bosom buddies and were on the verge of creating a supergroup together with Charli Baltimore, dubbed the Commission, before B.I.G. passed. But as history shows, money and power have ruined some of the strongest alliances in hip-hop. Many argue that if B.I.G. were here, then Hov’s career wouldn’t be as massive as it currently is.
Junior M.A.F.I.A.: Some of Biggie’s rap peers turned their heads in disgust when turmoil within the M.A.F.I.A. went public. The Lil Kim/ Lil Cease/ D-Roc fallout and, most recently, Kim verbally attacking B.I.G.’s mother Voletta Wallace over her portrayal in the movie “Notorious” must have B.I.G. turning in his grave. But if Big were still here, maybe the group would still be intact.
Lil’ Kim: Kim revisted the national spotlight these past two months with her appearance on “Dancing With the Stars,” but B.I.G. had his own plans to turn the starlet into a household name long ago. Critics say Kim’s rap career is on ice, but rest assured that if her mentor were still alive today, he’d have none of that.
Faith Evans: The married couple were on the outs when B.I.G. passed, even though they shared the birth of the first child together during their separation. It’s a known fact B.I.G. was a ladies man, but his close friends say that his heart belonged to his “Big Fay.” Would Faith and Biggie’s son, C.J., have eventually reunited his parents?
Nas: Indirectly, the Queensbridge native and Bed Stuy’s ‘hood mayor were taking verbal shots at each other not long before B.I.G.’s death. Nas acknowledged that he use to hang with Biggie and Puff during Big’s Ready to Die days. Then the two later got competitive with each other, tussling for that prestigious King of New York throne. Imagine Nas’ “Black Republican” feat Jay-Z and Biggie, or even B.I.G.’s “I Love the Dough” feat Jay-Z and Nas. (Nas talks about the whole King Of New York thing)
Tupac: Before his own death, Pac was shifting away from Death Row and possibly the whole East Coast vs. West Coast beef and working on an album with Brooklyn group Black Moon on the album “One Nation.” Though Pac was piping mad at B.I.G. in his final days, working with a fellow Brooklyn act was a start to end their beef. Eminem brought together vocals from B.I.G. and Pac for the “Resurrection” film, but would the real reunion have eventually been in the works if the legends were still alive?
Happy born day, Frank White. We’ll always love Big Poppa.