Words by Jesse Serwer—
Exactly a year ago, we published one of our most ambitious and most popular Toppa Top 10 lists, highlighting the influence of Jamaican culture on the lyrics of the Notorious B.I.G, from lamb’s bread weed references to collaborations with JA singer Diana King and Super Cat. As we celebrate what would have been the iconic Brooklyn rapper’s 40th birthday today, on the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, we’re back in that state of mind. Check out some of our favorite yard-ified Biggie tunes below, or read the whole Toppa Top 10 here.
“Respect” featuring Diana King (1994)
“Me holla respect/To all di gunmen dem/Gunman alone keep gunman fren/Fire bun fi allla informer dem/Informer alone keep informer fren”
Biggie hooked up with Diana King for a Ready to Die tune inspired by the late Panhead’s “Gun Man Tune”
“Party and Bullshit” (1993)
“Bitches in the back looking righteous/In a tight dress/I think I might just/Hit her with a little Biggie 101/How to tote a gun/And have fun with Jamaican rum”
Meet my friends, Wray and Nephew.
Supercat, “Dolly My Baby” feat. the Notorious B.I.G, Puff Daddy and 3rd Eye (1993)
“Yes, it’s Bad Boy, hard to the core/Lawwwwwwwwwd, mi can’t tek it no more”
Biggie’s verse on Super Cat’s “Dolly My Baby” was legend-making. And he clinched it with a quote from our favorite Papa San tune.
Junior M.A.F.I.A, “Gettin’ Money (The Get Money Remix)”
“You could be as good as the best of them, but as bad as the worst/So don’t test me (Get money)/Ya better move over (Get money)”
The biggest coup Biggie scored for dancehall and Jamaican music came when he reinterpreted late British singer Deborahe Glasgow’s “Don’t Test Me” (which she later re-recorded with Shabba) on the hook to one of Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s most recognizable tunes.