To be a great emcee, one must not only be able to string together sentences that end in a rhyme, but also have the skill to paint a picture for the listener.
In hip-hop, the storyteller is ten held on a pedestal, with many rap's all-time greats having transferred various plots and themes onto wax throughout the years. While there have been a slew notable rappers that have mastered the art storytelling, one that ranks near the top the list is The Notorious B.I.G., who, in spite his relatively short catalog, is ten regarded as the greatest rapper all-time.
Infamous for his wit, charm and charisma, the late Brooklyn rapper's ability to spin spellbinding tales was apparent from the outset his career, particularly on the early singles "Party and Bullshit" and "Dreams." Both songs pushed the envelope and got the attention the underground prior to his major label debut.
But it would be his rags-to-riches parable on Ready to Die's lead-single, "Juicy," that would truly cement him as a new star and place him on the fast-track to becoming the King New York.
One aspect Biggie's storytelling that set him apart from many his contemporaries was the colorful characters he wove into his verses. His knack for detail gave the characters he mentioned backstories and personas their own.
On Ready to Die and Life After Death, the two albums he recorded prior to his murder in 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. introduced listeners to a cast fictional figures that have been immortalized in hip-hop—a wrinkle in the fabric his influence on hip-hop, but an essential one.
From Pops From The Barbershop to Dark Skin Jermaine, The Boombox presents our ranking the Top 10 fictional characters from The Notorious B.I.G.'s catalog.