The Notorious B.I.G.

Why Do People Hate The Notorious B.I.G.?

The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. However, despite his artistic talent and massive success, Biggie has also attracted a fair share of haters over the years. There are several reasons why some people dislike the iconic rapper.

His Gangsta Image and Lyrics

One of the main reasons why people hate on Biggie is because of his hardcore gangsta lyrics and image. Songs like “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” and “Hypnotize” no doubt depict a dangerous criminal lifestyle involving violence, drug dealing, and misogyny.

While many fans are able to separate Biggie’s art from his real-life actions, others see his unapologetic lyrics as promoting irresponsibility and criminality, especially among young audiences. This has made him a controversial figure among more conservative and religious communities.

What songs depict Biggie’s criminal lifestyle?

Some of Biggie’s most well-known songs that depict a criminal lifestyle include:

  • “Juicy” – References drug money and violence
  • “Gimme the Loot” – Tells a fictional story of robbing and murder
  • “Ten Crack Commandments” – Lays out “rules” for selling crack cocaine
  • “Machine Gun Funk” – Violent rhetoric and drug references
  • “Somebody’s Gotta Die” – Talks about committing murder for revenge

So while Biggie was a masterful storyteller, many of his popular tracks glorify guns, drugs, and violence in a way that some find offensive and irresponsible.

Did Biggie actually live the lifestyle he rapped about?

There has been much speculation over the years about how autobiographical Biggie’s criminal lyrics were. He did grow up in Brooklyn surrounded by poverty, crime, and the crack epidemic. Some of his early music demos were even made while serving jail time on drug and weapons charges.

However, many music historians also agree that Biggie exaggerated his real experiences in order to craft a larger-than-life gangsta persona and stand out in the rap world. So while his lyrics were grounded in the urban reality he grew up in, they were also hyperbolic at times.

Perceived Disrespect Towards Other Rappers

Another reason why certain detractors dislike The Notorious B.I.G. is due to perceived disrespect towards other popular rappers.

Biggie had a famous rivalry with West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur. In songs like “Who Shot Ya?” and “Hit Em Up,” the two launched personal attacks and death threats at each other. This beef between the two mega-stars tragically culminated in the murder of Tupac in 1996 and Biggie in 1997.

Biggie also ruffled feathers by calling out names and making provocative remarks about other rap artists in his songs. Tracks like “Kick in the Door” and “Dreams of F***ing an R&B Bitch” took aim at various rivals in dismissive and sexually explicit ways.

While Biggie likely meant for such insults to be tongue-in-cheek, they nevertheless offended those in the line of fire and their fans. Such beefs ultimately cast Biggie in a negative light among some hip hop circles.

What rappers did Biggie insult in his songs?

Some of the specific rappers that Notorious B.I.G. took lyrical jabs at include:

  • Jeru the Damaja – Called out in “Kick in the Door”
  • Raekwon – Dissed in “Kick in the Door”
  • Jay-Z – Mocked in “Kick in the Door” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”
  • Nas – Referred to as inferior in “The What”
  • 2Pac – Infamous feud with many songs attacking each other
  • Mobb Deep – Confrontational remarks in “Kick in the Door”
  • Puff Daddy – Criticized as inferior in “Victory”

So while these may have started as just competitive call-outs, they eventually turned more personal and confrontational. This gritty style ultimately rubbed many in the hip hop scene the wrong way.

How did Biggie’s feud with Tupac turn deadly?

Biggie’s feud with fellow superstar rapper Tupac Shakur infamously turned violent and deadly in the mid 1990s.

Tensions started over a rumored relationship between Tupac and Biggie’s wife Faith Evans. From there, the feud escalated into a coastal rivalry between L.A. and N.Y. rap factions.

Verbal barbs were exchanged in songs like “Who Shot Ya?” and “Hit Em Up.” Then in 1996, Tupac was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Six months later, Biggie met a similar fate after a Los Angeles party.

While exact details are still murky regarding these unsolved murders, many theories point to the two deaths being connected reprisals from their public rap beef and the dangerous environment it fueled.

This tragic ending showed how serious the stakes became between the two former friends turned rivals. It remains a cautionary tale on hip hop conflict turning fatal.

Perpetuating Unhealthy Stereotypes

Some cultural critics argue Biggie and other hardcore rappers have damaged society by perpetuating negative stereotypes about African Americans being violent hustlers and pimps.

By relentlessly bragging about crimes like murder, drug dealing, and misogyny, some believe hip hop has glamorized a vicious “gangsta” lifestyle that ultimately hurts urban communities.

Additionally, music videos from artists like Biggie frequently feature scantily clad women as sexual playthings without agency or dignity. Critics argue this reduces black women to harmful caricatures like jezebels and gold diggers.

While defenders argue Biggie was using shocking lyrics to reflect ghetto realities, others counter his overwhelmingly negative imagery poisons society and violates standards of ethics and empowerment.

What stereotypes about African Americans did Biggie perpetuate?

Some of the main stereotypes about African Americans that Biggie perpetuated through his music include:

  • Violent criminals and gang members
  • Drug dealers and hustlers
  • Womanizers with misogynistic lyrics
  • Materialistic and obsessed with status symbols
  • Irresponsible and neglectful fathers / husbands
  • Uneducated with poor speaking skills

Through his no-holds-barred verses, Biggie no doubt embodied and celebrated some of the worst assumptions society makes about young black men from the inner city. For this reason, he remains a controversial figure among those seeking more positive representations in hip hop culture.

How did Biggie portray women in his music?

Notorious B.I.G. has been heavily criticized over the years for his lyrics’ mistreatment and objectification of women. He frequently referred to women in derogatory ways as:

  • Materialistic – Gold diggers only interested in money
  • Promiscuous – Constantly seeking sex from men
  • Subservient – Willing to serve men without hesitation
  • Disposable – Briefly used by men then disregarded

Additionally, he wrote shocking verses about abusing, assaulting and even murdering women who defied him. Music videos were also filled with scantily-clad dancers treated as sexual commodities.

While possibly meant as over-the-top entertainment, Biggie’s reckless language normalized violence and degradation against women. It reflected and reinforced unhealthy misogynistic attitudes toward intimacy and gender dynamics in society.

Allegations of Homophobia and Transphobia

Along with complaints about violence, criminality and misogyny, Biggie has also come under fire over the years for perceived homophobia and transphobia in his lyrics.

Like other hip hop stars of the era, Biggie frequently used offensive slurs against LGBTQ individuals or stereotyped them as weak, deviant or unnatural. Critics argue such language promotes intolerance, discrimination, bullying and even hate crimes.

Additionally, rappers like Biggie helped popularize the conflation of homosexual behavior with weakness and inferiority in prison environments through casual references in their raps. Some believe embracing such toxic masculinity and homophobia ultimately breeds fear and suffering.

While artistic freedom remains an important consideration, Biggie demonstrated little empathy or understanding of marginalized groups outside of his own lived experiences. This willful ignorance rightfully draws ire today from social justice advocates.

What lyrics showed Biggie’s homophobia and transphobia?

Some examples of Notorious B.I.G.’s most notoriously homophobic and transphobic lyrics include:

  • “Fots…Get the stiffy, uh” in “Dreams of Fin’ an R&B Bitch”
  • Attacking rivals as “clones” and “sissies” implying they are inferior homosexuals
  • Associating rival West Coast rappers with prison rape victims
  • Taunting that he “takes n*****s’ drawers” in sexualized put downs
  • Associating romantic rejection and weaknesses with being woman-like

Through such graphic and immature attempts at insults, Biggie helped normalize abusive attitudes toward the LGBTQ community in hip hop culture and society at large.

How did Biggie’s death impact his legacy?

When Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in Los Angeles in March 1997 at just 24 years old, it secured his status as an immortal legend in hip hop history. This tragic killing also inevitably shaped perceptions of his legacy as an artist in various ways:

  • Conspiracy theories keep him relevant decades later
  • His small catalog of classics are untarnished by decline later in life
  • He avoided facing deeper criticism faced by older rappers today
  • His reputation is lionized by hip hop fans wanting to honor his memory
  • Imagery and lyrics seem less shocking given gangsta rap’s dominance today
  • His friendship with Diddy offers insights to his memory and credibility
  • His unavenged killing remains an open wound for devotees

If Biggie had lived a full life, perceptions around him may have evolved differently. But dying young, controversially and violently ensured the rap superstar would be frozen in time as a legend at his creative peak for all time.

He’s Seen As Overrated By Some Hip Hop Heads

Despite his meteoric impact before dying at 24, some hardcore hip hop fans argue Biggie is still overrated despite his legendary status. Critics argue he had a relatively small body of work compared to living GOAT contenders who stayed prolific over decades.

Some feel Biggie gets more credit than he deserves because he died before he may have declined in consistency or popularity like icons from the 80s and 90s. Additionally, classics like “Juicy,” “Hypnotize,” and “Kick in the Door” arguably lean too heavily on sampling older funk records for the core musical arrangements.

Of course many still rank Biggie as the greatest ever purely for his wordplay, storytelling and iconic flow on his handful of albums. But dissenters feel other contenders deserve the title when factoring in longevity, originality, diversity and lyrical growth over time.

How many albums did Biggie release?

Over the course of his very brief commercial career, Notorious B.I.G. only completed and released two full-length studio albums:

  • “Ready To Die” – 1994 debut LP featuring his breakout smash “Juicy”
  • “Life After Death” – Hit double album released just 16 days after his death

He also had two posthumous albums released from leftover recordings:

  • “Born Again” – 1999 collection of rare songs and features
  • “Duets: The Final Chapter” – Remix album from 2005

So with just two “official” studio albums that he was personally able to oversee and promote before his untimely death, Biggie was never able to showcase the full scope of his talents during a long career.

Does Biggie have any classic albums besides “Ready to Die”?

While Biggie’s 1994 debut “Ready To Die” is unanimously considered his definitive classic album, some fans also put his posthumous 1997 double album “Life After Death” in that top tier. Highlights from that project include:

  • “Hypnotize” – Massive #1 pop hit song
  • “Mo Money Mo Problems” – Iconic cut featuring Mase & Puff
  • “Notorious Thugs” – Collab with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
  • “Ten Crack Commandments” – Legendary track about dealing
  • “Going Back to Cali” – Eerie given his beef with the West Coast

Supporters argue this excellent collection of tracks with Undisputed #1 hits cements “Life After Death” as another undisputed classic album equal to his solo debut. But detractors counter it lacks the raw hunger and concepts that made “Ready To Die” so groundbreaking as a newly minted superstar.

Perception of Being Over-Promoted by Diddy

Another complaint by some hip hop fans is that Biggie’s former producer and close friend Sean “Diddy” Combs over-promotes Biggie’s legacy out of his own self-interest. Specifically, some argue Diddy frequently uses Big’s beloved memory as a marketing tool.

Diddy has referenced Biggie in lyrics, named clothing lines after him, produced posthumous music in his name, and constantly preaches his GOAT status in interviews. Some see this as exploiting and misrepresenting Big’s legacy to keep himself relevant decades later.

While their friendship was no doubt genuine, Diddy undeniably gains credibility from his close working relationship with such an icon. For critics already alleging Big is overrated, Diddy’s obsession with preserving Big’s memory seems more self-serving than organic admiration.

How has Diddy monetized Biggie’s legacy over the years?

Some ways Sean “Diddy” Combs has monetized and promoted Biggie’s legacy to mutual benefit include:

  • Bad Boy clothing line named after Biggie’s single “Bad Boy For Life”
  • Hosting high profile Biggie tributes and remixing old songs for new audiences
  • Using Biggie’s iconic voice and flow on newly produced “reunion” singles
  • Covering Biggie classics on tour and TV performances (like “Juicy” at BBMAs 2022)
  • Selling Notorious B.I.G. merch like t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and accessories
  • Keeping Biggie’s music in pop culture consciousness through references and name drops

So while celebrating his close friend’s legacy, Diddy has also undoubtedly profited from repeatedly spotlighting their legendary partnership decades later as the “King of NY”

Has Diddy helped or hurt Biggie’s legacy?

There are good arguments on both sides of this debate:


  • Keeps Biggie name hot by promoting classics
  • Produced hit duets introducing Biggie to younger generations
  • Advocates for Biggie’s place among rap legends
  • Shares insights on era and friendship as rap pioneer


  • Over exposure leads to overrating as GOAT contender
  • Posthumous changes to songs distort intended art
  • Allows personal biases due to financial stake
  • Spotlight should remain on Biggie’s talent alone

Regardless where one stands on this issue, Diddy and Biggie will remain powerfully linked for hip hop history. But separating their actual legacies will continue challenging fans and critics weighing Biggie’s true hip hop pedigree on his own merits.

Below is a table comparing some statistics between The Notorious B.I.G. and a few other rap legends with whom he is often compared:

Rapper# Albums# HitsTotal SalesYears Active
The Notorious B.I.G.2517 million1992-1997
Jay-Z13100125 million1989-Present
Eminem1083220 million1992-Present
Tupac1141140 million1991-1996
N.W.A21480 million1987-1991, 1999-2002

This data shows that while Biggie was enormously impactful in his short career, he does lag behind some rap legends in terms of commercial stats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions around why The Notorious B.I.G. has haters:

Why do some people see Biggie as a bad role model?

Critics argue Biggie glorified violence, drug sales, misogyny, and other irresponsible behavior in his lyrics. They believe this promoted negative stereotypes and influenced young listeners.

Was Biggie’s criminal persona authentic?

Biggie did have real run-ins with the law over drugs and guns as a youth. But historians also agree he exaggerated his criminality for shock value and street credibility in rap.

Did Biggie really live a lavish lifestyle later in his career?

While he rapped about riches, Biggie was killed before reaching the peak of fame and fortune. So we’ll never know if he could have managed wealth responsibly over a long career.

Why couldn’t Biggie and Tupac settle their beef peacefully?

Experts argue alliances within the music industry and media likely sabotaged attempts for a private resolution in order to fuel controversy and profits.

Is glamorizing the gangster lifestyle damaging hip-hop culture?

Some argue portraying criminality without consequences poisons society. But defenders counter it reflects the systemic struggles BIPOC face in oppressed communities.

Could Biggie have grown as an artist by discussing social issues?

If he lived longer, Biggie may have leveraged his platform to tackle racism, inequality, police brutality and other societal problems. But his early death confined him to gangsta rap lanes.

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