Top 10 Songs by The Notorious B.I.G.

In the history of rap music, there are rappers with many talents.

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Jay-Z is the ultimate businessman. Tupac was the powerful street poet. Nas is the storyteller. KRS-ONE and Rakim are the originals. Grand Master Flash is the godfather of scratching. The list goes on.

But the Brooklyn-born rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) might be the best with words of all time. The master of wordplay. The best at rhyming in the history of the genre.

Biggie, who died 26 years ago at age 24, was born on May 21, 1972. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting on March 9, 1997, just six months after Tupac Shakur was similarly killed. The killers of the rappers, who were embroiled in a West Coast vs. East Coast feud for much of their careers, have never been found.

The Notorious B.I.G., who also went by names like Biggie Smalls or just Biggie, was a close friend with hip-hop mogul Puff Daddy and also the Brooklyn-born Jay-Z. To date, he’s sold tens of millions of albums. In 2020, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

We celebrate the tumultuous and art-rich career of The Notorious B.I.G. Below are the artist’s top 10 songs.

1. “Juicy”

The very first solo album single The Notorious B.I.G. ever released, this song came from his tragically-titled 1994 LP, Ready to Die. The song was produced by Puff Daddy, a longtime confidant of Biggie’s, and Poke. It samples the 1983 song “Juicy Fruit.” The track, which has been dubbed one of the greatest rap songs of all time, charted at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release.

2. “Big Poppa”

From Ready to Die, the song includes a sample of The Isley Brothers’ track “Between the Sheets.” The track was also nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

3. “Hypnotize”

From the artist’s posthumous album, Life After Death, which was released in 1997, “Hypnotize” was released just a week before Biggie’s murder. It became the fifth song from the rapper to hit No. 1 after he died. The track’s music video was heralded for its movie-like quality, which included a giant yacht.

4. “Mo Money Mo Problems”

The second single from his 1997 album, Life After Death, this song featured a number of emcees along with Biggie, including Puff Daddy, Lil Kim and Mase. It also includes a sample of the Diana Ross song “I’m Coming Out.” The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, taking over the top spot from the tribute song, “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puffy, released in the wake of the rapper’s murder. The track earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and the title phrase continues today as a warning for fame.

5. “Dead Wrong”

Released posthumously in 1999, this song by Biggie featured fellow rapper Eminem. The track appeared on the album, Born Again. It’s considered one of the best examples of both lyricism and a guest feature in rap history.

6. “Party and Bullshit”

Released as part of the soundtrack for the 1993 movie Who’s the Man?, this song came out even before “Juicy,” marking it the first song released by the rapper. It dropped on June 29, 1993.

7. “Get Money”

Technically, this song is by Biggie’s group Junior M.A.F.I.A. “Get Money” was the third single from the group’s 1995 debut LP, Conspiracy. The song helped lead to the solo career of Lil Kim.

8. “Ten Crack Commandments”

For better or worse, this track is the one that lists all the “rules” for drug dealers to maintain a successful trade. It has been cited for years since its release, especially the lyric, Don’t get high on your own supply. For Biggie, who sold drugs during his life and was even in jail for some nine months for it, the song came out on his album, Life After Death. It also features the legendary producer, DJ Premier. Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda even cited it in a song from the musical titled “Ten Duel Commandments.”

9. “One More Chance”

Featuring Biggie’s wife Faith Evans, the song was eventually certified platinum on July 31, 1995. The original track was part of the rapper’s album, Ready to Die. Though, there are now several remixes. It hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

10. “Notorious Thugs”

This song from the Life After Death album featured the harmonizing Cleveland-born rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

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