The Notorious B.I.G, aka Biggie Smalls, was one of the most acclaimed hip hop artists and was seen as an underdog who made it from the street corner to the stars. Known for his infamous feud with Tupac Shakur and Death Row Records, Biggie Smalls was definitely taken away from us too soon. However, in the short time, he was recording and releasing music professionally, Biggie Smalls wrote a lot of music and even wrote material for his Junior MAFIA counterparts.
As such a prolific writer, it is no wonder his songs were hip hop perfection. As a writer, he crafted his rhyme schemes, re-wrote verses, and ensured everything flowed the way it needed to. Fellow Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z once revealed he saw Biggie write lyrics in his head and lay them down without using paper. So, more often than not, he wasn’t even writing his lyrics down. This was Biggie Smalls.
Born and raised in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn, Biggie (real name Christopher Wallace) was one of the biggest names in New York hip hop during the early 1990s. Discovered by Diddy and signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, his debut album, Ready To Die, is still considered a classic and a must-listen for any true hip hop fan.
Born to Jamaican immigrant parents and raised solely by his mother, Biggie Smalls watched his mother struggle to make ends meet and began dealing drugs at 12. However, battling local MCs as a hobby in Brooklyn and realising he was skilled at rapping, Wallace started to take the art form seriously, performing with the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques. Feeling ambitious, the rapper made a demo, Microphone Murderer, which spread like wildfire as a local tape ending up in the hands of DJ Mister Cee.
Cee was an influential New York tastemaker with associates across New York in the hip hop scene, and through radio play, Wallace was picked up by Diddy, who signed him to Bad Boy Entertainment. The Notorious B.I.G’s music remains some of the best and most classic in all of hip-hop, and his contribution to the culture was profound.
Biggie Smalls went straight to the top with connected businessman Diddy behind him and, as well as writing his own material, began writing for his label mates, including Lil’ Kim, Ma$e and Craig Mack. But exactly how many songs is he credited with writing?
Before Biggie Smalls was murdered in 1997, he wrote 63 songs. Take a listen to Biggie recording songs in the video below.