Biggie Smalls (often referred to as The Notorious B.I.G.) is still one of the most revered artists in hip-hop culture, and, despite his early demise, for many, the impact he had during his short-lived time as a career artist is enough to make him one of hip-hop’s legends.
During the mid and late 1990s, the rapper (real name Christopher Wallace) was considered the king of his hometown New York and the king of hip-hop. Signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment record label, Biggie became a worldwide phenomenon and quickly transformed from a local MC to a global star.
Born to Jamaican immigrant parents and raised solely by his mother in Clinton Hills, Biggie Smalls watched her struggle to make ends meet and began dealing drugs at 12. However, battling local emcees as a hobby in Brooklyn, Wallace realised he was skilled at rapping and quickly took the art form seriously, performing with the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques. Feeling ambitious, the rapper made a demo, Microphone Murderer, which spread like wildfire as a local tape. The recordings eventually wound up in the hands of DJ Mister Cee.
Cee was an influential New York tastemaker who had associates across New York City and beyond. With Biggie Smalls’ recordings receiving regular underground radio play, Wallace was swiftly picked up by Diddy, who signed him to Bad Boy Entertainment. The Notorious B.I.G’s music remains some of the best and most classic in all of hip-hop.
Although Biggie Smalls, unfortunately, got caught up in the East Coast vs West Coast beef, for the most part, he didn’t engage with 2pac and continued to make quality music for his fans. His 1994 album Ready To Die, is one of his most legendary pieces of work and remains a classic.
One of the most successful tracks from the project was ‘Juicy’. Produced by Poke of production duo the Trackmasters alongside Diddy, the single has a number of elements that make it a special track. Even Smalls’ cadences follow a similar pattern to the original track, ‘Juicy Fruit’ by Mtume.
As a single from the 1994 album, ‘Juicy’ was accompanied by a legendary music video. As of 2023, the 1994 music video has racked up over 501 million views on YouTube. Below you can watch extremely rare footage of Biggie recording the music video from behind the scenes as well as the music video itself.