It Was All A Dream (What If …?)

Jose Vilson Education, Jose

Biggie, the King

My hip-hop heads know that, over the last weekend, many of us commemorated Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace’s (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.) anniversary of his murder 11 years ago on March 9th, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, the murderer still roams free (or so we presume), and while the lawsuits are still ongoing, many in the hip-hop community already have tons of conspiracy theories, none of which have proven solid enough in the court of law, or in the ever-bungling LAPD. He still remains a legend, ranking in almost every hip-hop aficionado’s Top 5 rappers of all time, and his legacy continues in everything from the club to the studio, where even the most popular artists borrow portions of his lyrics to this day.

The one thought that came to me this morning was “What if Biggie was living today? At 37 years old, his point of view would most likely be completely different than at 25, still fresh out of crime. It’s similar to something that was said about Tupac Shakur upon his death: Martin Luther King was still a small town preacher at 25, and Malcolm X was still hustling at 22 before he was incarcerated at multiple prisons. Yet, I’m definitely not somebody who wants to put words in someone else’s mouth. Rather, this is an exercise in trying to understand the complexities of his persona and the lyrics that he left for us to ruminate over. Others may simply disregard his lyrics because of their misogyny and negativity, but rather than ignoring them, understand where they come from, and let’s find solutions that hip-hop yells about.

Ed. Note: I didn’t use any material post-Life After Death. If he didn’t want it out, then I wouldn’t use it.

Without further adieu:

Sup, y’all? It’s the Notorious One a.k.a. Mr. Wallace.

(::applause and screams::)

Mr. V wanted to talk to y’all about school. My mom already blew up my spot years ago, but I used to be a straight A student in high school. I wasn’t a geek ::ahem:: but in school, I put it down. My mom used to be a teacher, and she got her masters, so I was chillin’ in Bed-Stuy, BK. We didn’t have money like that, but we was aight. It wasn’t until late in high school I was messin’ up my life, runnin’ around, doing drugs, and other stuff you don’t really need to be playin’ with. For all my grades, though, I got a scholarship, and a good one, too. Planned to go to college, too, but I lost my scholarship money to pay for bail. No regrets, but that area in my life was dark.

So aight, I got no job, no school, and my moms ain’t too happy with me, so what I do? Sell drugs. I can’t front; sometimes it was fun, but for the most part, I hated it. All the ugly things I seen, the people I shot, and having to stay up at night scared for my life didn’t help. I slept with a glock near my bed, but still had no peace. When jail became a revolving door, I did what you know me for now: rap. I rapped on the corner, rapped at the burger joint, rapped wherever you wanted me to. I even made a demo under the name Biggie Smalls, and DJ Mr. Cee, a legend, got it, who passed it on to The Source, who put me onto “Unsigned Hype” section of the mag, and that’s when I said, “OK, this could work.” Cats was gettin’ me gassed, but I kept workin’ at it.

Then somebody called me up and said, “Somebody wants to speak to you.” Turns out, it was dude Puffy from Uptown Records! Puffy came up to me, called me in for a meeting, and signed me on the spot like “Here you go.” He wanted to make me a star, and I was down. I won’t talk about the particulars, but I didn’t care, I was hyped, like “I’ma make it.” Record after record, I kept at it. Oh you want me on a Mary J. Blige record? No doubt. Heavy D? Aight. Super Cat? Let’s go. Dudes was hot, but I wanted to be the best. Puffy told me he was gonna make a new label, but I’d have to quit the crack game. I mean, I handled my business, but at the end of the day, you’d have to be a fool to not stick to the rap game. I had to make money to feed my daughter, and I was hot. I even had a new girl and she was on the label too.

But the more money you get, the more problems come around, and jealousy and envy is part of the game, but it’s something that cats gotta deal with. Just then, 2Pac, who was my dude for a while, we were comin’ up in the game, started cuttin’ on me on records claiming I got him shot, this, that, and the other, but then at awards shows, he’d come up to me, and say “Yo, it’s about sellin’ records, man. I ain’t mad at cha.” Then again, I had my own part in how that turned out, ’cause whoa, that coulda gotten ugly. I ain’t trying to go too deep into that, ’cause whatever problems was happening because me and Pac ain’t nothin’. I wouldn’t want to wish death on nobody ’cause there ain’t no coming back from that.

All I know is, I’m good, livin’ good, you can see, eatin’ good, but rap is what I do. Some of you got it confused; rap ain’t my life. It’s my hustle. I’m a father with kids, and I got bills to pay. I gotta pay back that advance I get from the majors, plus I got another family to run, my Junior M.A.F.I.A. clique. They all doin’ their solo thing too, but I’m the head of my own label and my clothing line. I’m doing concerts, shows, TV appearances, guest records, and a million other things y’all can’t understand right now. Plus, when I was young, I didn’t know anything else besides rapping, selling crack, and all the temptations that come along with that. If I was flippin’ burgers at McD’s, I’d rap about Big Macs, word to my moms.

I went through a lot, and right now, my daughter’s livin’ good, eatin’ good, my family’s good, too. I’m having a hard time not cursin’, but it’s all good to me, you know? Selling drugs and all that, that ain’t the life. I’m not doing it anymore, and I would never go back to that life. I still got stress, but 11 years does a lot of good to a young man. But like I said before, sky’s the limit. Once you think you’ve stopped going, naw, keep going. I still made it after all my hardships, so if you keep at what you’re doing with the school work, you’ll make it too. Don’t let anybody stop you from dreaming B.I.G. Aight, peace …

federal agents made cause’s jose’s flagrant, tap his cell, and his blog from my basement …