Biggie Smalls is one of those rappers who is a regular on people’s top 5 greatest rappers list. A lot of the time he even sits at number 1, but is he deserving of this praise? Many people think it’s blasphemous to not rate Biggie as the greatest of all time. As a member of “TheNewYorkBasement” I am going to make the case. As controversial as it may sound, Biggie is not the greatest rapper of all time.
One of the main reasons Biggie shouldn’t be considered the greatest of all time is the shortage in his catalog. Biggie doesn’t even have the catalog to compete with other top 5 NY rappers. Jay z has 3 classics (Reasonable Doubt,The Blueprint, and The Black Album), Nas has 3 classics (Illmatic, It Was Written, and Stillmatic), and Biggie has one debatable classic. He only released one album and another one was released after his passing. With that being said, rappers like Kendrick Lamar are said to be left off of the top 5 list because it’s “too early in his career”. This is confusing because Kendrick Lamar has more albums than Biggie and you can even make the argument that he has better albums than Biggie.
Some people say that Biggies first 2 albums proved he would have been the greatest, but those albums were far from perfect. “Ready to die” and “Life after death” both had many skippable tracks. Artist like 50 cent and Eminem have started out with back to back well received albums and then eventually declined musically according to fans. Kanye West is another good example. Did you expect “Yeezus” to come from the same guy that dropped “College Dropout” and “Late Registration”? Saying that Biggie is the greatest based on what you think he could have done isnt factual. Is using your imagination enough to say a rapper is the goat? If it is, is it more valuable than the actual facts in front of us? These are questions that need to be answered if you think Biggie is the goat.
Biggie had a great flow and was good at story telling, but his subject matter was limited. Also, he wasn’t as lyrically skilled as people make him out to be. Lyrically he was dope but not dope enough to claim no one ever surpassed him. Jay z out rapped him on “Brooklyn’s Finest” and “I Love the doe”. Many people won’t admit it but Method Man had more substantial bars than Biggie on “The What”. Today if Biggie rapped the way he did in the 90’s, rappers like Eminem and Lupe Fiasco would rap circles around him. So why do people make it seem like Biggie was so far ahead of everyone else?
People also speak about Biggie’s impact being a big reason why he’s the greatest. I think a big part of his impact came from him arriving on the scene around the time New York needed a king. New York needed someone to represent for the city when the west coast was dominating hip hop. Biggie had better timing than he did albums. Not only did he arrive at the perfect time, he even passed away at the height of his popularity. This can give off the illusion that he was the greatest because he left on such a high note. When you leave as the hottest thing out that’s what people will remember you for. But how do we know Biggie wouldn’t have fell off musically after “life after death”? We don’t know, and I think hip hop should leave the unknown alone.