Ask anyone to name the best rapper of all time, and The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls, aka Big Poppa) will immediately be thrown into the mix. Despite his untimely death aged just 24, the man born Christopher Wallace has influenced countless MCs, inspired numerous tributes and stands as both the face of East Coast hip-hop and one of the most influential artists of all time. In his five short years in the game, Biggie released two albums along with a whole host of collaborations, all of which are recognised as classics to this day. In honour of his legacy, we’ve ranked the 20 best Notorious B.I.G. songs – larger-than-life classics you simply need to hear.
Listen to the best of The Notorious B.I.G. here, and check out our 20 best Notorious B.I.G. songs, below.
20: Whatchu Want (The Commission, featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z) (from ‘Duets: The Final Chapter’, 2005)
The highlight of Biggie’s second posthumous album, Duets: The Final Chapter, Whatchu Want serves as a final farewell to the almighty duo that was Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls. Having collaborated twice previously, the track serves as rightful acknowledgement of the pair’s shared status as kings of New York. Released posthumously, in 2005, it has a distinctly 2000s sound, offering an interesting insight into how Biggie’s style may have progressed if he’d been alive to make music in the 21st century. Whatchu Want is also significant for being the only song released by The Commission, a supergroup said to have contained Diddy, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G., among others. Unfortunately, any plans they had fell through due to Biggie’s death, and were never fulfilled beyond this singular track.