May 21 marks the birthday of the widely celebrated rapper, Notorious B.I.G. If he were still alive, he would be 47 years old. Despite the fact that his life was cut short at the tender age of 24, he left his mark on the hip hop world and still had a large influence on the rappers today. To commemorate his birthday, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite stories told through hip hop songs.
“Renee” by The Lost Boyz
Inspired by the senseless murder of a Queens woman named Ebony, “Renee” tells the story of a blossoming romance between a man and a woman that is tragically cut short when Renee is fatally gunned down.
“It’s a true story and a story with some creativeness with it,” Mr. Cheeks told RapDillz in a 2017 interview. “It’s also about a girl that was killed in the hood. her name was Ebony out in forty-pee back in the late ’80s. I just wanted to write about it and put light on that situation.
“Story to Tell” by Notorious B.I.G.
In “Story to Tell,” Biggie shares a salacious tale of a tryst with a woman who is in a relationship with a New York Knicks player. One night the player shows up while Big is in bed with the woman so he pretends to be a burglar who robs the couple in order to get out of the house. In a 2016 interview on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable,” Fat Joe revealed that the Knick referred to in the song was Anthony Mason.
“The guy … I could tell you but I don’t want to be disrespectful, but it was about Anthony Mason, rest in peace. … Mason’s my brother, I love Anthony, but you’ve gotta also know that rappers, this is entertainment, we stretch the truth,” said Joe.
“Me and My B-tch” by Notorious B.I.G.
“Me and My B-tch” speaks to love and loss with a heartbreaking tale of a hood romance that exists between Big and a woman who quickly becomes his best friend and criminal accomplice. Throughout the song, he goes on to describe their unconventional relationship and the qualities that he loves most about his other half. Sadly, the woman is tragically murdered by rival drug dealers seeking revenge.
“How’s It Goin Down” by DMX featuring Faith Evans
Another love story of sorts, in “How’s It Goin’ Down,” DMX questions the loyalty of a woman with whom he is engaged in an affair. The woman, whose name is Tenicka, has two children by another man. Tenicka’s partner has suspicions that Tenicka is unfaithful; however, he is unsure of her lover’s identity. In the end, he continues to feel conflicted about his relationship with Tenicka and appears to but putting some distance between them while also hinting that the affair may continue.
“Love Is Blind” by Eve featuring Faith Evans
Based on the true story of Eve’s best friend, Andrea, “Love Is Blind” tells the story woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship with the father of her two children. Throughout the song, Eve raps about her desire to exact revenge on her friend’s abuser who eventually kills her in a violent rage. Thankfully, the true story didn’t end death, and Andrea lived to tell her story. In a sit-down with “The Queen Latifah Show,” both Eve and Andrea recounted the experience, which took place when they were in high school.
“Mind Playing Tricks On Me” by the Geto Boys
“Mind Playing Tricks On Me” has been dubbed “hip hop’s anxiety anthem” as it details the frightening experiences of three men who are suffering from anxiety, paranoia, post-traumatic stress, and hallucinations that are directly linked to their dangerous lifestyle. The title of the song was inspired by Scarface’s grandmother, whom he overheard mumbling to herself one day around the house.
“It was a strange way of how he came about it,” she told MTV. “I come through the room and I think I was just kinda mumbling to myself or my lips was working or something. He said, ‘Mawmaw, what you talking about?’ I said, ‘Oh nothing, my mind’s just playing tricks on me.’ And didn’t have no idea he was gonna go out and be making a song about it.”
“Warning” by The Notorious B.I.G.
In “Warning,” Biggie receives an early morning phone call from a friend who warns him that some former associates who are obviously jealous of his success have devised a plan to rob and kill him. After receiving this troubling information, Big teeters between expressing shock over the fact that his former associates are really trying to come for him and bragging on his preparation for an attack of this magnitude. Before the phone call ends, Big hears his assailants enter the home.
“Last Time” by Fabolous featuring Trey Songz
In “Last Time,” Fabolous uses the metaphor of an extramarital affair to describe how his love for the street life and drug dealing is driving a wedge between him and his lady. Despite being okay with his lifestyle when they first met, the woman has since matured and the pair now have children. She begs him to leave the streets behind, which he promises to do eventually. Sadly, he doesn’t get out of the game fast enough. His wife’s premonition comes to fruition when he is tragically murdered.
“Children’s Story” by Slick Rick
A true classic, Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” is a cautionary tale that warns of the dangers of poor decision-making. He communicates this theme through the story of a teenage stick-up kid who meets his tragic fate after a run-in with police.
“Poor Georgie” by MC Lyte
In “Poor Georgie,” MC Lyte tells the tale of George, an older man with whom she enters a situationship. Despite the fact that George is seeing other women, the two seem to have an understanding. Unfortunately, George’s drinking gets the best of him and he dies tragically in a drunk driving accident after he is diagnosed with colon and lung cancer.