There was joy in New York as the chronology reached the mid 90’s.
The early 90’s had been harsh.
New York had actually lost Hip Hop, something inconceivable just a couple years before.
But Dr. Dre’s The Chronic had changed everything; not only the nail in a coffin that NWA had actually begun to built, but also the final argument in a takeover that had included the solo works of Ice Cube, The DOC, and group projects like Geto Boys.
Suddenly, nobody wanted to hear that New York shit anymore.
Nobody could relate.
It’s not like anybody ever could, but now it was more obvious.
New York was too strange anyway, no other place in the country was like it and yet they expected everybody to, if not understand where they were coming from, then at least take the perspective that where they were coming from was the only direction from whence shit came.
Fuck that the rest of America suddenly said.
Then the Wu-Tang Clan emerged breathing new life into New York, just enough, in fact, for a sigh of relief.
The Nas came and the City That Never Sleeps was again awake.
The came Craig Mac on a short-lived high, setting the stage.
Now, understand that it was well known that when Sean Puff-Diddy-Daddy Combs left the confines of Howard University, he told everyone who would listen that the next time muhfuccas saw him, he’d be Big Time.
Well, muhfuccas had seen him a lot and he was bigger, but he still wasn’t necessarily the size that would justify in many eyes dropping out of school and missing out on that illustrious Howard University diploma.
Then came Big.
Whatever your opinion of Ready to Die, whether you believe it was a classic, just a “great” album, just ok or don’t even know what the fuck it was, even the slightest bit of research will teach you that it was a landmark.
Still, for Biggie to become King, there’s still need to be a crowning; a performance so definitive that even prospective rivals would bow as opposed to being beheaded.
Now remember, this was before The BET Awards which has been, since maybe Jay Z debuting “Izzo” from it’s stage, the latest crowning arena for the genre.
No, back in them days, you had to take the crown on wax.
So it was on the “Flava in Ya Ear (remix)” that Big did exactly that.
And you know the subtleties, you know that 50 Cent himself took one of Big’s lyric, “Ski Mask Way” and made it into an entire song.
You may not know that the reason old heads exploded and cackled like old maids over the lyric “Invisible bullies like the Gooch” was because on the television show, “Different Strokes”, Gary Coleman as “Arnold” was continually being terrorized off screen by a character named “The Gooch”.
But what you should know was that Big’s verse was so tight that he not only snatched the song from it’s originator, Craig Mack, but outspit an enthused but over-matched Rampage, an interestingly weird LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes who, fresh from his hijacking of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario“, was pretty much being considered the King of the Feature.
Big’s “Flava” effort was like LeBron’s first ring in Miami with his verses on the “Get Money” remix being maybe Cleveland’s last year Chip.
So as we all – this means you, Lil Yachty – take today to commemorate what’s now been 20 years without our one-time King, let’s take another moment to again appreciate his actual coronation.