On March 9, 1997 Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.) was immortalized in the annals of hip-hop music when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. He was only 24.
On September 4th, Biography will explore the late rap legend's life in Mark Ford's new doc, Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G., the first biography authorized by his estate, airing on A+E.
As a precursor to the world premiere, we take a look at some of Biggie's thoughts about himself, his music, human nature, and the pitfalls of fame:
I hold grudges, but I can't hate nobody; that's not my nature.
I can't even see me wasting my time or my talent to disrespect another black man.
How real can your music be if you wake up in the morning hearing birds and crickets? I never hear birds when I wake up. Just a lot of construction work, the smell of Chinese takeout, children screaming, and everybody knocking a different track from 'Ready to Die' as they pass down the street.
Every true hustler knows that you cannot hustle forever. You will go to jail eventually.
I’m a nice guy, but the fear keeps everybody on their toes. People sometimes mistake sweetness for weakness. You never want anyone to know everything about you. It makes you too easy to classify.
The more money you make, the more problems you get and jealousy and envy is just something that comes with the territory, man. It’s just negative energy, like my man Puff say, it just surrounds you, it makes you depressed. So, I gotta rap about it, and that’s one of the bad things about the game. When you get large, even your friends will turn against you, man. I think about that everyday. Everyday, it’s real. That’s how real it is, I think somebody is trying to kill me. I be waking up, paranoid, I be really scared.
It wasn’t really a beef to me in the beginning, not for other artists, it was just a personal problem between me and somebody else, it just happened to wage into an East Coast/West Coast… you know, when you’re at the top, you just gotta go for the top person’s neck, you know what I’m saying, you gotta go get your spot that’s what he wanted. Sometimes when you stagnated and can’t move to another level, that’s the only thing that you can do, is just complain or be jealous. I can’t be mad at him for that, he just do what he gotta do, I couldn’t be the one to do it back, that’s not my style.
I look at it like this: them guys, they doing what they wanna do. I can’t never stop nobody, can’t knock nobody hustle. They feel like they can come into it dissing Big and dissing Puff and doing they little thing. If that’s what they choose to do, that’s what they choose to do. Only thing I gotta do is feed [my daughter] T’yanna and take care of Ms. Wallace. That’s my only job. I’m making music for the people. If y’all love the music, y’all gonna buy the music.
I can’t rhyme about being broke no more, I ain’t broke, I can’t rhyme about hustling in the streets no more cause I don’t hustle no more, you know, so it’s the life after. All that’s over with now, I ain’t hungry no more. Now it’s a new beginning, this the life after the death.