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Notorious BIG - Greatest Hits

Notorious BIG, Greatest Hits

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BAD Boy Records have decided to release Notorious BIG’s Greatest Hits in the form of a 17-track compilation “honouring the extraordinary life and career of the late, great hip-hop legend”.

The album features tracks spanning the artist’s short-lived career, as well as two previously unreleased cuts. In the words of Bad Boy CEO Sean “Diddy” Combs: “Christopher Wallace was more than an artist, he was my friend.

“The Notorious BIG, as most people know him, was a rapper, a story teller and a prolific poet. However, many didn’t have a chance to see the father, husband and man that I knew. Through his words, persona, life and music he was able to open doors and create opportunities for hip-hop as a whole.

“I wanted to celebrate his legacy, life and work as we mourn his senseless death 10 years ago. The release of Greatest Hits makes it clear to the world why the Notorious BIG is the greatest rapper of all time.”

Kind words, emotionally delivered. But just how much you agree with the closing statement depends on how you view contemporary hip-hop. Notorious BIG has certainly left a legacy of hip-hop hits that continue to provide the inspiration for countless contemporaries.

His lyrics, or flow, were clever and hard-hitting and remain as rooted in hip-hop legend as those of another deceased artist, Tupac. But they conform to a pretty rigid formula and certainly laid the foundations for the onslaught of artists such as Eminem, 50 Cent and The Game.

There are good moments, such as the Duran Duran sampling Notorious Thugs, the familiar Nasty Girl (which was re-released last year as part of the Duets project) and the previously unreleased Runnin’ Ya Mouth.

But his music lacks the old-skool spark that make the likes of Jurassic 5 and De La Soul such notable hip-hop pioneers. The Notorious BIG’s legacy is marred by violence. It’s a product of the urban environment Wallace grew up in and ultimately fell victim to. And it’s partly responsible for the gangsta vibe that surrounds much of the contemporary West Coast hip-hop scene (wanted or not).

Fans of 50 Cent and co will probably want the Greatest Hits and dig its flow, while lifelong fans, like P Diddy, will no doubt mark the tenth anniversary of his shooting by buying it. But referring to the artist as one of the greatest rappers of all time is, perhaps, pushing the point a little bit.

If anything, the release of this album will help listeners decide…

Track listing:

  1. Juicy
  2. Big Poppa
  3. Hypnotized
  4. One More Chance [Remix]
  5. Get Money
  6. Warning
  7. Dead Wrong
  8. Who Shot Ya
  9. Ten Crack Commandments
  10. Notorious Thugs
  11. Nasty Girl
  12. Unbelievable
  13. Niggas Bleed
  14. Runnin Ya Mouth
  15. Want That Old Thing Back
  16. Fucking You Tonight

  1. I disagree with Diddy that Biggie was the greatest rapper of all time, although I believe he is one of the greatest up there with Pac and Dre.

    Dom    Mar 11    #