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10 Great Forgotten Notorious B.I.G. Verses

Biggie passed away 20 years ago today. Celebrate his legacy with these slept-on tracks

They don’t make rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. anymore. During his tragically short career, Christopher Wallace combined an unerring sense of rhythm and flow with winning charisma and a knack for complex lyrical arrangements. He could bring a hardcore and technical aesthetic to songs like “Hypnotize” without turning off pop fans; he could woo the ladies and still spit as hard as any thug on the block. His unique blend of talent makes his still-unsolved 1997 murder at the age of 24 all the more tragic. As Canibus later rapped on “Second Round K.O.,” “The greatest rapper of all died on March 9th.”

During his too-brief life, Biggie seemed to prefer quality over quantity. His oeuvre mostly consists of his two epochal albums and a smattering of cameos. But unless you’re a Biggie fanatic, this collection of ten obscure verses from the once and future king of New York may surprise you.

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R. Kelly, “(You To Be) Be Happy” (1995)

R. Kelly frequently appeared in Biggie’s work. Kelly’s sampled voice from “Your Body’s Calling” formed the hook on “Unbelievable,” a standout cut from Ready to Die. For his 1995 self-titled album, Biggie wrote some personal verses that appeared to reference his failing marriage with Faith Evans. “I made you, why would I play you?” In his 2014 autobiography Soulacoaster, Kelly praised Biggie’s talent. “Biggie was a lyrical genius, he was a musical painter with words,” he wrote.

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