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The Day the Music Died

I did one of these on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and ended up enjoying it quite a bit, so I figured I’d do another one the next time a big anniversary rolled around, no pun intended.

Also feel free to check out the collection of Biggie-related links I posted today on my own site.


I had just turned 16 a few days prior to the day Biggie Smalls died, but I didn’t get my driver’s license until a while later. I had gotten my learner’s permit that winter, but I couldn’t actually get behind the wheel, because I was on crutches at the time.

That fall, I had fallen running in the rain and ended up breaking my ankle. It was pretty fucked up, and I had to have a metal plate and a few screws drilled into my right leg. But I was back walking by that March, and, as I recall, I had just started driving right around that time.

We would go out in that same station wagon I was driving when I killed that dog. My old man would ride shotgun and my mom would sit in the back. Her nerves were never that good anyway, but she would get especially pissed when I’d crank up the radio too loud.

This was still a few weeks before Life After Death came out, but the single for “Hypnotize” was all over the radio like HPV on the town bicycle.

Peep: The Notorious B.I.G. “Hypnotize”

“Biggie Smalls is dead.”

The day before Biggie died, I had to go to the mall with my parents to look at some lawn mowers. While I was there, I picked up that month’s issue of The Source, which had Biggie on the cover. (Remember, he was on the cover two months in a row that year.)

Afterwards, we went to this place out in the Chesterfield Valley, where you could get these huge-ass hamburgers. I spent most of my time there – after I got done eating, natch – reading the feature on Biggie in The Source.

I can’t remember what else I did that day, but I’m sure it involved sitting on a couch and watching MTV. I went to bed relatively early, because you know how eating a shiteload of beef will knock a brother out cold.

The next morning, my old man started banging on my down around about 8-ish. I was like (and I’m paraphrasing), “Man, what the fuck? I’m trying to sleep!” He was like, “Biggie Smalls is dead.” I got up, turned on MTV, and, lo and behold, there it was on the ticker.

Peep: Biggie’s last radio interview

Life After Death

I can’t remember what it was in reference to, but the other day I mentioned that Ready to Die is one of my favorite albums evar, but I hardly ever listen to it anymore. One of you d-bags asked me why, which got me to thinking.

Part of it’s that it’s just plain not my m.o. to listen to a lot of old music in general. I have to listen to new music anyway for my work (such as it is), which doesn’t leave very much time to dwell on the old shit anyway.

I do have a few older albums that I continue to crank on a regular basis, but none of them are rap albums. For whatever reason, I just plain don’t experience hip-hop the same way I experience other genres of music.

Where as I can continue to go back to classic rock albums again and again over the years, I usually reach a point with rap albums where, regardless of how good they are, I feel like I’m more or less done with them.

The catalog sales for classic hip-hop albums vis a vis classic rock albums would suggest that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I wonder why that is.

Peep: The Notorious B.I.G. “Mo Money, Mo Problems”

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