Christopher Wallace, known as Biggie, Biggie Smalls or, most famously, The Notorious B.I.G., is widely regarded as one of the – if not the – best rapper of all time. He became a figurehead of the East Coast hip-hop scene in the 90s, after the release of his debut album, Ready To Die, before being tragically killed in 1997. In the years following his death he has been referenced, sampled, interpolated and rapped about countless times in hip-hop. To show the impact that Biggie has had on modern hip-hop, we’ve compiled ten of the best, most creative Notorious B.I.G. tributes that 21st-century rappers have paid to the iconic MC.
10: Wiz Khalifa (ft. Charlie Puth): See You Again (references Long Kiss Goodnight)
It might be a surprise to see this song featured on our list of Notorious B.I.G. tributes, but Wiz Khalifa includes a subtle nod to Biggie in one of the lyrics on this 2015 track. In the opening bars of his first verse, he raps, “Damn, who knew?/All the planes we flew/Good thing we been through,” interpolating a lyric from Biggie’s 1997 track Long Kiss Goodnight: “Move from BK to New Jeruz/Thinkin’ ’bout all the planes we flew, bitches, we ran through.”
The context of both tracks are widely different, with Wiz’s single memorialising the death of the Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker, while Biggie’s track was a direct diss at West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur. Even though Khalifa’s reference is small, it serves as a great example of the impact that Biggie has had on modern music. Artists still sample, reference and interpolate the classic rap icon to pay homage and show respect.