If you haven't seen the movie "Notorious", it's worth seeing, just for the scene where Biggie comes up with this track. Puffy plays the sample in the studio, and everyone laughs at it, because it's a silly-sounding song, but Biggie decides to give it a shot. Everyone leaves the studio for a while so he can come up with lyrics, and when they come back and he lays it down, they're just in awe. Its the closest any of us are going to come to seeing how Biggie really worked.
"Who Shot Ya"
The other great scene in the movie involves this song. Yes, this song may have contributed to his eventual death, but it's still a great song.
Because iTunes didn't start tracking play counts until 2003, it doesn't reflect how much I listened to this song in 1997. I remember driving around West Hartford with my co-workers from Marshalls all summer, constantly playing this song (and, really, the rest of the "Life After Death" album).
"Gettin' Money (The Get Money Remix)"
Speaking of driving around, when I bought this CD single, my buddy Phil would put this song on repeat in my car any time we went anywhere. There was almost a time I was sick of it, but as the years have gone by, it's moved back up my popularity list.
"One More Chance (Remix)"
"Lyrically I'm supposed to represent. I'm not only a client, I'm the player president." My head is bobbing just thinking about this song.
Did you know this song lost the Grammy for best rap solo performance to "Gangsta's Paradise"? Hmm, 14 years later that seems like a poor decision.
"Mo Money, Mo Problems"
Ya know, Biggie's been dead for 13 years, and he's still better than Puff Daddy (or P. Diddy, or Diddy, or whatever the fuck he's going by these days) and Mase. Sure, Puffy and Mase get this one started, and stole all the screen time in the video (which was made after Biggie died), but Biggie's verse is the topper.
Yeah, technically this is on a Jay-Z album, but this will always be a Biggie song to me. Sure, Jay-Z may have spent the last decade becoming the biggest mogul in rap, but as far as ranking Brooklyn rappers, he'll always be #2 behind Biggie.
No, not the watered down version of the track from Puff Daddy's second album, but the original freestyle from the Mr. Cee mixtapes. The song, rapped over Death Row Records beats, was Biggie at his lyrical best.
"Still Can't Stop the Reign"
This is one song I can be certain is on no one else's Biggie Top 10 list. Biggie and Shaq trading rhymes in what had to be the biggest (literally) rap collaboration of all-time. By teaming with Shaq, Biggie gave the basketball player rap cred, while also contributing to his most re-listenable song of all-time. Plus, Biggie's rhymes were so good, they re-used one of his verses for a posthumous collaboration with Michael Jackson on MJ's 2001 album.
I'm sure there'll be lots of disagreement with this list, but I'm not trying to say these are the 10 best Biggie songs of all-time. Not even close. These are just MY favorites at the moment (and even as I'm writing this, I realize that I left off "Victory", which should probably be on there. Feel free to let me know which Biggie songs are your favorites in the comments.