Dear Christopher George Latore Wallace/ Frank White /Biggie/ Biggie Smalls/ The Notorious B.I.G.,

Today marks 19 years since you perished in Los Angeles, California, the game hasn’t been the same since. On that Sunday morning in 1997 the world woke up to the news of your death and nothing was the same. I remember I was getting ready for church, listening to “Hypnotize,” and trying to learn the words, since I just bought the single from Dorris Records the day before. I had the first verse down, but I always tripped up on “I put hoes in NY onto DKNY, Miami, D.C. prefer Versace.” I’m not sure why, but I would always stumble on that part. After brushing my teeth and fixing my hair, I sat in the living room to wait for everyone else so we can go to church and I turned the TV on to watch MTV like I normally did, then my heart sank. John Norris from MTV News popped up on the screen and said you were shot after leaving a Soul Train Awards afterparty. My day was ruined, I was the most quiet in church that day and listened to “Hypnotize” all night once we got home.

There was a void in hip-hop when you passed 19 years ago. Several mini you’s have tried to popped up since then, but none of them went from ashy to classy like you. They mimic you sound, your style, your life, but they always came up short. They weren’t as funny, they weren’t as creative, they weren’t as nice as you. Nobody has done jiggy like you, and nobody ever will again. To this day if a DJ played “Get Money,” “Big Poppa,” or “Hypnotize” in a party the energy would be larger than life. When those songs ring off, the party hits another level of love and carefree joy. The smiles, the dancing, the singing along… Many artists wish they could create that type of energy with their music. Artists these days can’t create those type of classics in their discography even if they sampled you. You impact from 1993-1997 is untouched. It lives on today, and is evident in the way some of these cats rhyme.

There was a petition to name St. James Place and Fulton Street “Christopher Wallace Way” after you, but thanks to gentrification that may never see the light of day. They said you were too violent, misogynistic and too fat (seriously, that was brought up) to have a street corner named after you. They never brought up the self confidence you taught by owning the fact that you were never a heartthrob, black and “ugly” as ever. All the hefty guys were feeling their beat after that, they began to carry themselves with a certain swag, they bought all the Coogi sweaters and quoted you endlessly in hopes that they could pull women like you did. What about all of the entrepreneurial advice you gave away on “The Ten Crack Commandments?” Those 10 rules have been helpful to entrepreneurs all around the world. Hell, number seven might be the reason why my mom told me I couldn’t work for her anymore. Me, myself, I never let anyone know my next moves, I move in silence, it’s the best way. The gentrification crowd in Brooklyn may not get you, but just know the REAL Brooklyn misses you dearly.

Your name and legacy is still debated to this day, many wonder where you would be musically. Everyone remembers when the city would stop when a new song of yours would drop. You are the man that gave us Ready To Die and Life After Death, so it’s crazy to think where you would’ve went from there. The Commission album with Jay Z, Junior Mafia… You had so much up your sleeve, it’s truly a damn shame to see it cut short.

So much could be said and this letter could go on for days, but it could be best wrapped with “The greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th.” – Canibus

Spreading love the Brooklyn way,

Tatyana Jenene

About The Author Tatyana Jenene

Birds in the Trap Sing Aaron Hall.

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