How Biggie and Puffy killed hip-hop

Real Hip-Hop ..you will be missed

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Hip-Hop isn’t dead..but it’s dying… I think it caught A.I.D.S. from unprotected sex with B.I.G. and Puffy….

I know the title of this post sounds a bit like blasphemy but let me explain. I would first like to note that Notorious B.I.G. is/was one of the best who’s ever played the “rap game”…easily on most everyone’s TOP 5. I can remember back when I first heard his voice on Heavy D and the Boys – “a bunch of niggas” …I knew then that whoever that dude was…he was gonna do BIG things.

We Miss You B.I.G.

In 1992 when B.I.G. followed Sean “puffy” Combs from uptown to the newly created Bad Boy Records… I waited patiently to see what would happen. What I saw I didn’t realize at the time was the beginning of the end for what I love about hip-hop. Don’t get me wrong,it had NOTHING to do with B.I.G.’s ability as a lyricist ,not even. It has everything to do with the direction they ( B.I.G. and Puffy) but mostly Puffy, took hip-hop in. Let me explain…Up until that point..Hip -hop has pretty much been about lyrical content,what you had to say FAR outweighed what you actually had. Most artist were hungry ESPECIALLY west coast artists who at the moment just before B.I.G.’s rise OWNED hip-hop,why? In my opinion its because hip-hop was still “fresh” and “new” on the west coast…and THEY were hungry. Then along came B.I.G. with ‘ready to Die” to single handedly wrest hip-hop from the jherri curl soaked mitts of the west coast and essentially brought hip-hop back home and in the process he simultaneously put BAD BOY records on the map,made Puffy look like a genius,and started hip-hop on a road to ruin. How u say. 2 words… Music videos. I believe it was video content that was the catalyst to the tsunami of shitty rap music we’re being drowned in today, because maybe i’m wrong but it seems that those bad Boy videos with the yachts and helicopters and stretch lexus’s  raised the bar visually..but lowered the bar lyrically.It became not so much what you had to say..but how you looked saying it. Frankly put..THIS was the precursor to the “bling bling” era of hip-hop..and NOBODY disputes that ruined the beauty that is/was lyrical content. Coincidently this video by notorious B.I.G. actually kinda chronicles what I mean.. the visuals went from hungry and humble to boisterous and ostentatious, see for yourself….

Let me say this again I LOVE B.I.G. What I don’t love is how his hunger to be “great” at any cost allowed him, as some may,to be used as a pawn in Puffy’s ultimate game of conquest. Before B.I.G. was murdered it was true  rumored he himself wanted to distance himself from Puffy and Bad Boy. Was this the reason he was murdered? That’s a completely different story. I’m sure there will be some people who violently disagree with me and to that I leave to you a quote from BIG himself…” fuck all you hoes…get a grip” nah..but seriously tho…what are your thoughts?

12 Comments »

  1. Hex Said:

    Good points all. It’s interesting to think that somewhere along the line the boundaries between pop music and true hip-hop could get so twisted, but pointing to the rise video exposure and the resulting push for image over content in the music reflects so much of what happened to so much of rock and roll when MTV started pushing the idea of pretty bands on TV versus good music.

    I think (more like I hope) that things will end up being cyclic — where the inspirations that led artists like Biggie to be more about songwriting than showing out will come around again. Rock and Metal are pretty much similar wastelands, but there are pockets of hope hiding in there.

    One can only hope the same will happen with hip hop.

  2. melette Said:

    I think you make a good argument.

  3. Born Allah Said:

    Loved the write up. Great read!

  4. Justwrite85 Said:

    Surprisingly, I don’t listen to rap and used to be more into hip hop, but I totally knew where you were taking this post and I liked it. One of the main reasons I despise most rap is the content…the lack of intellectual stimulation at times. Not a Puff fan at all and wasn’t a big Biggie fan, but the post still lends a hand to help me understand…I really dig it.

    Very good post

  5. Kya Said:

    Is there a way to say I like your writing style without sounding like a geek? Asking the question probably took care of that, anyway…

    In part, I agree with you. The demise of Hip-Hop as we know it was inevitable whether the antigen shift was B.I.G. or not. The video culture was destined to make damn sure of that.

    I often wonder how his music would have evolved had he lived. My never ending optimism says that he would have maintained his front runner status, while staying true to what put him on the map. I just don’t believe that he would’ve put his head in the sand and allowed Hip Hop to morph from a true art form to the bitch assed hobby to be played at by the Soulja Boys and Wacka Flacka’s of the world.

    Hip Hop is not dead. To borrow a phrase from my church bulletin, it’s “on the sick and shut in list”. There are a handfull of artist who are true and refreshing like Zion, Wale, and Akir. I’m not entirely confident that their antibodies are enough to heal the music.

    • minista Said:

      Good point. Videos would have DAMN sure made sure of it.

  6. Bella Said:

    i can’t really dispute anything you said sir. never thought about it before but now that you mention it, i’m inclined to agree with you. BIG was indeed one of the greatest…. that damn puffy & his marketing tho…. ugh. DOUCHE.

  7. Amber Said:

    Excellent post! I didn’t expect this from you. But we need to speak on this Puffy killed Biggie theory. I’m just saying

  8. Great Post Babe!!!

  9. RAH-STAFARI MUSIC MANAGEMENT GROUP AND ALL THE ARTISTS ON MY ROSTER ARE DEDICATED TO THE LOST ART OF QUALITY LYRICS AND SONGS THAT MEAN SOMETHING… MINI, YOU KNOW TRAUMA AND DRAC PERSONALLY, WE ARE TRYING TO BREATHE LIFE INTO HIP-HOP, BECAUSE I PERSONALLY THINK IT IS DYING A SLOW DEATH… SKINNY JEANS, RAPPERS LIKE DRAKE FOR GODS SAKE… ITS DISGUSTING!! THIS IS WHY EVERYONE SHOULD TURN OFF THEIR RADIOS, BUY LOCAL MIXTAPES AND COME OUT TO LOCAL INDEPENDENT SHOWS THAT OFFER WHATS GOOD ABOUT HIP-HOP, CRAFTY WORDPLAY, LYRICS BASED IN EDUCATION AND UPLIFTMENT, BATLLE RAPS… AM I THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO THINKS KRS-ONE AND CHUCK D WERE BETTER THAN BIG FOR SO MANY REASONS??? NICE ARTICLE DUDE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!


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