For the record, I do not possess the opinion that Tupac was the best ever either, but this post is not about that either.
As it were, however, I know I was more of a Biggie fan than probably anyone in my high school - packed to the gills with 'Pac stans.
I was more a fan of his ability to tell a story in a conversational manner, not relying on tricks to make his rhymes rhyme. Yes, I know there was a ton of drug/gun/sex talk, a great much of it probably fabricated, but what did I care? I was 17!
I will go as far as to say I remember the very night it happened...
The homie Damian threw a party (most epic one in all of high school) for the first weekend following his birthday, and his pops LEFT the house and let him do it. Being that Damian and I lived on the same street, I walked to and from the party.
Well, I kinda stumbled home at 3something in the morning.
The following morning, I walked to the Conoco around the corner to get a soda, and a counselor from a program I had been involved in at the time was walking the other way and - perhaps noting the red in my eyes that I might have had some beverages the night before at the ripe age of 17 - preached at me and ended with "you know Biggie Smalls is dead, right?" and I thought nothing of it until I was home and watching television, and all I saw ad infinitum was that image of Lil Kim losing her shit in the just-after.
Then Damian came and picked me up and we went to work.
In a world where bootleg/downloaded CDs were not an option, this was the event that SOLIDIFIED my purchase (and 2 more since) of the album that was slated to release less than a week later at the time. I would have not regretted the purchase, even if not for a notarized death certificate and (hopefully) cashed life insurance policy.
The months and now years that have followed have continued to present BIG as a polarizing figure as it relates to hip hop, and the general presents it that I do not even speak my opinion most times as to my stance on the "greatest ever" argument. Hell no, not in a world where now ANYONE who picks up a microphone claims to be the best ever.
I mean, I don't even think that Biggie was the best "fat" rapper of all time... Big Pun had better breath control, better wordplay/metaphors and his self-deprecating humor was right on line with my favorites ever, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor.
Nevermind that though.
Today marks the 14th anniversary of the senseless - and still unsolved - murder of ONE of the greatest to ever do it. Let's celebrate a life and career cut short, not the stupidity of the act.
Rest in Power, Biggie!