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Opinion Piece: Is Biggie Still Considered The GOAT?

It’s been over 25 years since the passing of Christoper Wallace aka Biggie Smalls. The Hip-Hop world has never recovered and there is a good chance it never will. To many, Biggie is the GOAT. For most, he’s Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and Jesse Owens to the Hip-Hop world. But is he?

In no way is this done to disrespect the dead. However, it’s a discussion that must be had. During his run, it was easy to label him the GOAT. With Hip-Hop being handed over to the West and some will even argue the South, NY needed a spark. At the time, Snoop, Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound, and even his friend-turned-enemy, Tupac were making waves. Then Biggie dropped “Ready To Die” and the East Coast was back on top.

Thanks to the cover of The Source Magazine, Biggie was labeled the King of New York. It was a title he earned. But here we are decades later and does the title of GOAT still fit the late rapper?

Biggie dropped 2 albums while in the game. And while they were indeed dope pieces of work, times have changed. Before and even following his death, a slew of rappers labeled him the greatest and that was out of respect for what he accomplished in his short time. It was the same when Pac died. You can’t argue with Tupac fans that Pac is not the GOAT. It’s the same with Biggie fans. But truth be told, in the Hip Hop community, it’s Biggie that’s often viewed as the best.

“Ready To Die” will go down as a classic. Big dropped a double album in “Life After Death” that’s considered another classic but that was back in 1997. It’s now 2023 and a new group of MCs has taken Hip-Hop to bigger heights. While Jay-Z and Nas were both around when Biggie was at the top, they did inherit the crown and ran with it. Jay and Nas have either labeled themselves or been labeled as the greatest, so there is still a huge debate there.

If we’re talking lyrics, Biggie was indeed nice with his. But so were Big Pun, Jay, Nas, and a host of others. If we’re talking album sales, Biggie still has a ways to go there compared to the others. As stated earlier, Big status as GOAT was for what he meant to NYC but others have changed the game. The issue is that in the years after his death, many labeled him the GOAT out of respect but since then, many of these same MCs have gone on record as labeling themselves the GOAT. But the weird thing is, it’s hard to take back what they labeled Biggie without sounding like a hater.

It’s not dissing Biggie or what he means to Hip Hop but it’s hard to keep saying he’s the GOAT when his last body of work was in the ’90s. Yes, his lyrics were superb but they were also great for that moment in time. We never got a chance to see his growth. We’ve witnessed the longevity of Jay, Nas, Ghostface Killah, and others. We’ve seen the lyrical wizardry of J Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. The commercial success of Drake and Lil Wayne. While Biggie was indeed dope, can we honestly sit here and say he’s head and shoulders better than someone like Rick Ross?

Biggie will forever go down as one of the best to ever do it. However, it’s hard to just ignore everyone else and what they have added to Hip Hop. At one point, Biggie was indeed the GOAT. As heartbreaking as this may be to some, he’s no longer that and he hasn’t been in a long time.



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