The Notorious B.I.G. will forever be known for having astonishing talent and a smooth, lovable demeanor. And, of course, there’s the plethora of accessories he made popular through his music and fashion.
We have the stories behind 10 Biggie Hallmarks:
History: A big misconception is that Big purchased his Jesus piece from Jacob the Jeweler, but in fact, he copped it from Tito. The ice-flooded piece was one of three that he spent $30,000 on. He bought one for himself, one for Lil’ Cease and one for his best friend Damion “D-Roc” Butler. When Big passed, one of the pendants was set aside for his son CJ, but every now and then, Jay-Z will wear it when he’s recording his albums. The impact of the piece is immeasurable. Kanye West, Fabolous, Ja Rule and many more have rocked Jesus pieces since B.I.G. brought it to light. Big also had a pendant of Jesus’ hands. That piece, he said, protected him.
Lyrics: “You seen the Jesus, dipped in H-classes/ Ice project off light, chick flashes/ Blind your broke asses/ Even got rocks in the beards and mustaches.” – ” I Love the Dough”
History: Bill Cosby’s Heathcliff Huxtable might have a leg up on Big in this category. But the Brooklyn Dons both shared a love for the knitted sweaters from the Australian company. Groovey Lew said Biggie fell in love with Coogi when he met an Uptown kid named Walt G wearing ‘em. It didn’t take long before the Bed-Stuy bandit ditched his black hoodies and Tims for the textured threaded sweaters. He went from ashy to classy, and Big Poppa was born.
Lyrics: “I speak deep with killers about million-dollar figures/ Blessin’ n—as in Ac Legends and vigors/ Cream lizards and cream Coogis, I do my duty.” – Shaquille O’Neal’s ” You Can’t Stop the Reign”
Versace Shades and Shirts
History: Poppa and Puff were living the good life way before Kanye and T-Pain got together to talk about the spoils of fame. So when the Bad Boys hit platinum status, their threads changed along with their tax brackets. In came the flashy dress shirts and shades from Italy. The rags sparked a new era in hip-hop, as MCs went from standing in front of their stoops for videos to standing in front of million-dollar mansions decked out in the silk couture. Versace didn’t normally sell clothes in Big’s size, so occasionally the company would specially make their shirts to fit Frank White’s husky frame. Troy from designer/stylist 5001 Flavors would mostly tailor Big’s Versace shirts. As for the shades, Big had dozens of the same expensive pair. He would lose some and give some away, so he had to keep purchasing them.
Lyrics: “Versace wear, Moschino on my bitches/ She whippin’ my ride, countin’ my ones, thinkin’ I’m the richest” – ” Player’s Anthem”
History: The gold Lexus truck: That was Biggie’s ride back in the day when he first started coming up. He loved to roll around Brooklyn and smoke. But as much as he dug his ride, Biggie never drove it — he didn’t know how to drive. Lil’ Cease took the chauffeuring duties when he was only around 15 years old, before getting his license to officially push Big’s whip. In the ’90s, all the hustlers (getting money legally or not) weren’t officially ballin’ if they didn’t have that Lex — especially after Big immortalized the vehicle in ” Unbelievable.”
Lyrics: “They heard about the Rolexes and the Lexus/ With the Texas license plate outta state.” – ” Warning”
History: St. Ides might have been Big’s first favorite drink. He kicked a few rhymes talking about his malt beverage of choice back then. But thugs everywhere switched it up to champagne with a quickness after one swift lyric by B.I. Not even Moët seemed fine enough for Frank White. The gold-wrapped packaging only added to the envy of everyone in the club. Poppin’ bottles took on a whole new meaning after that.
Lyrics: “Cristal forever/ Play the crib when it’s mink weather/ The M.A.F.I.A. keep canons in they Marc Buchanans.” – Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn’s Finest”
Clark Wallabee Shoes
History: OK, OK, when we read the hip-hop history books 10 or 20 years from now, Wu-Tang members Ghostface and Raekwon will probably be the most synonymous with the footwear, but the Notorious one used to have a mean toe game back in the ’90s. When he started to dress up a little more, Wallabees were some of his favorite shoes, along with gators.
Lyric: “Man, she spilt a drink on my cream Wallows.” – ” Nasty Boy”
Kangol and Fedoras
History: LL Cool J became synonymous with Kangol after he rocked the bucket hat. But Uncle L eventually flipped his headwear steez to include fitteds, and the association disappeared over the years. But Big and his Kangol cap were a match just like Nas and a QB pendant, Lil Wayne and his dreads and DMX and a bench warrant — you couldn’t picture one without the other. The word from his family is that he had just as many caps as he had Coogi sweaters. Obviously, Samuel L. Jackson picked up the Kangol cap banner. Right before Life After Death, Big introduced his Brooklyn Don fedoras.
Lyrics: “N—as talkin’ it, but ain’t livin’ it/ Cristal pops, I’m sippin’ it/ Mob hats and lizard sh–.” -” You’ll See”
History: Real talk, some people call it a blessing in disguise that Biggie and Lil’ Cease were in involved in that fateful car accident back in 1996. When he was checked into the hospital for his injuries in the aftermath, doctors found out he had serious respiratory problems that could have been fatal had he not been taken under medical care. He had asthma and smoked a ton of weed. After two months of therapy, he couldn’t walk at all (he had a rod through his leg). Once he was able to move around somewhat, one of the first places he went was Brooklyn’s Country House Diner. Big’s cane came in handy. He used it to shoot the video for “Hypnotize.”
Lyrics: “I used to be hard as Ripple be/ Till Lil’ Cease crippled me.” – ” Long Kiss Goodnight”
History: Biggie copped his Rolex sometime after the “Juicy” video was shot and before “Big Poppa” was released as a single. His paper was up, and his confidence was high. He looked at the Rollie as a status symbol. Of course, he had to get it tricked out. He had the diamonds raised. It became one of the ultimate hip-hop pieces in the wake of his famous line from “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
Lyrics: “I want that presidential Rollie/ So I crush MCs to guacamole/ Making Robin scream, ‘Holy moly!’ ” -” The Points”
History: Biggie had Psalm 23 on his left arm. He and his mother said that prayer and many others together. Right before his death, Big started reflecting, and he wanted to live by it. Cease and D-Roc also got the same tat on their arm. Before he got the Psalm, he contemplated getting his son’s name on his arm but told his people the tat process was too painful for another one. Diddy recites part of the Psalm to open the song “You’re Nobody Until Somebody Kills You.”
Lyrics: “While we out here, say the hustla’s prayer/ If the game shakes me or breaks me/ I hope it makes me a better man/ Take a better stand/ Put money in my mom’s hand/ Get my daughter this college plan, so she don’t need no man/ Stay far from timid/ Only make moves when ya heart’s in it/ And live the phrase ‘Sky’s the Limit.’ ” – ” Sky’s The Limit”
MTV News has even more B.I.G. things on the horizon surrounding “Notorious” — stay tuned for more in the coming days!