On Nov 8, the Notorious B.I.G. became only the seventh rapper in history to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His gut-punching rap style, one-of-a-kind punchlines, and unrelenting swagger have made him one of rap’s most iconic lyricists in its history. Twenty-three years after his death, his time has finally come to be recognized globally as the legendary musician that hip-hop circles have been clamoring for since he first picked up a microphone.
His induction ceremony, which can be streamed on HBO Max, was an emotional one featuring legendary rappers, a songwriter, and Biggie’s kids all paying homage to the man who shaped 1990s rap around his image. Here’s all that went down in the virtual ceremony:
Diddy talks about Biggie’s dreams
Diddy and Notorious B.I.G. are, quite possibly, hip-hop’s most iconic duo. Directly responsible for each other’s successes with their brotherly relationship, it was only right that Diddy took the floor to give what would have been Biggie’s perspective if he was here. “Big just wanted to be the biggest; he wanted to be the best,” he said. “He wanted to have influence and impact people in a positive way, and that clearly has been done all over the world.”
Diddy continued, explaining Biggie’s lasting influence on the rap game. “Nobody has come close to the way Biggie sounds, to the way he raps, to the frequency that he hits,” he continued. “Tonight, we are inducting the greatest rapper of all time into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Notorious B.I.G., representing Brooklyn, New York, we up in here!”
Jay-Z compares Biggie to Alfred Hitchcock
Jay-Z and Biggie had a well-noted relationship that dated back to the 1990s, so for his part of the tribute, archival footage was pulled where he compared Biggie’s songwriting to the dark creativity of director and screenwriter Alfred Hitchock. “They were these tales that was disturbing, but they all had a purpose,” he said about Biggie’s music. “The human side of him came through in his music, and I think it moved the molecules in the world. I know for a fact that he pointed me in a direction and I’m sure that’s happened to millions and millions of people worldwide.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda describes Biggie’s voice
Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, who interpolated Biggie’s ”Ten Crack Commandments” into Hamilton in the past, also spoke about the rapper as a fan of his work through his unique voice. “It was the undisputed sound of New York,” he said. “It was this voice with such authority and bravado. He had this incredible deep bass voice, but he wielded it like a virtuoso, and he could paint a picture with as few words as possible.”
Nas talks about Biggie changing the game
Keeping up the theme of having musical legends speak about Biggie, Nas dropped some thoughtful bars on Biggie’s impact on the entire East Coast in the rap industry. “Rap music is all about who’s gonna be the king,” he said. “The West Coast, they were selling millions of records, and before Big, I felt like there was only so far New York rap could go as far as sales. Biggie changed all of that.”
Biggie’s children accept the award for him and give emotional speeches
When it was time for Biggie's children, T'yanna and C.J., to speak, they accepted the award on his behalf and also spoke of their awe-inspiring dad.
“When my dad passed away, I was only three years old,” said T’yanna. “Even though I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted, through his fans and our family, I was able to see with my own eyes that his music transcended the hip-hop industry. And he was not only able to become the King of New York, but the King of the Culture.”
After she thanked the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the award, C.J. followed up with more words about his dad’s impact. “Our father was one of the founding fathers of hip-hop,” said C.J. “He helped revolutionize what was a young art form for the Black community and the world. I’m honored to share his name and his dedication to Black music, creativity, self-expression, and Black freedom.”