Friday, March 9, 2007

*Sigh*…Again With the Biggie

The Notorious B.I.G. died today.


For the 10th straight year (Or is it the 11th…?)

I spent ten minutes in my car this morning with the increasingly exasperating XM Radio. As part of their day-long "tribute" to the Notorious B.I.G., I heard the end of a year-old interview with his money-whore mother, Voletta (who was only there to hype the posthumously putrid Duets album). From there, the satellite station jumped into Christopher Wallace's catalog with the tracks Spit Your Game and Nasty Girl.

They shoot horses station managers, don't they?

My point is that there simply isn't any blood left to leech out of this fat, black turnip.

And, all of the annual early-March maudlin memories of the man deserve four bullets of their own.

Why won't any of his fans recognize what m'man Nick'a Please calls the 800-lb. elephant in the room? At the time of his death, The Notorious B.I.G. had long since segued into self-parody. The gritty, honest stories of his youth (well, 1993-95) were replaced with cartoonish Tony Montana tales of excess and ridiculously cheesy reaches for radio.

His Life After Death album, an overstuffed and egocentric mess, could've left 10-12 tracks on the cutting room floor and still not come close to earning all the accolades it received. It's a decidedly average album, kids. I said it then and I'm saying it now.

Here's something else I said back then…on the night he died, why was Biggie even in L.A. to begin with?

Yeah, sure…he was promoting his new album. He was shooting a music video. He was presenting at an awards show. And, again, I ask…why was he even out here in Cali?

I know, I know…if Biggie can't fly across the country then the terrorists have won (or something). But, in the months after Tupac's death, the West Coast's abhorrence for all things East Coast went from "indifference" to "Hit 'Em Up".

Now, I'm not saying that Biggie deserved to die, but would it have been the worst thing in the world for Bad Boy Entertainment to allow for California to cool off a bit? Biggie chose to conveniently forget his role as a significant shit-stirrer in the whole "media-created" bi-coastal beef, but everyone out west remembered his inciting words on NY radio prior to The Dogg Pound's New York, New York video shoot. No pun intended.

In the eyes of many, Bad Boy's trip to Los Angeles was nothing more than a victory lap on Tupac's ashes. And, again, I don't agree…but, I understand.

Look…I get that there's a small, but vocal group of fans who truly believe that B.I.G. was the greatest rapper of all time. I'm saying they're wrong…that would be Jay-Z. Those same fans say that B.I.G. was the most influential rapper of all time. I'm saying they're wrong on that, too…that would be Tupac (and that's not a compliment).

Biggie was great for a minute, very good for a few more and he's been dead for 10 years.

What your radio takes a day to say, I just said in 10 seconds.


Matt said...

Yeah, but it was a GREAT fucking minute.

Sometimes an artist or entertainer is allowed, no entitled, to the praise s/he receives, even if it's only one great song, one great record, one great moment.

The fact that the moment happened is worth the enthusiasm. The truth that a few bullets instantly made it DEFINITE that other great moments wouldn't follow is worth mourning. And seeing that a white boy from suburban New York was affected enough by someone he had nothing in common with speaks to the power of the art, even if it was fleeting.

miguel said...

Wow. I mean, I agree with some points, but vehemently disagree on some others. If anything, I'd argue that Biggie was *under*rated. Tupac gets all the posthumous love from the "dead rapper" faction and Jay-Z (your choice for greatest rapper) has admitted that Biggie practically put him in the game in the first place. Sounds pretty "inflential" to me, Cam.

gomez said...

I always thought BIG was mad overrated, Cam. He benefited from being alive in the right place at the right time and then dying at the right place and the right time.

I love his catalog, but there were a half dozen dudes out there who was doing "Biggie" better than Biggie was.