Yesterday (May 21) marked the birthday of The Notorious B.I.G., the Brooklyn, New York rapper lionized following his 1997 murder. Though not commonly associated with New Orleans, the man born Christopher Wallace has left an indelible impression upon Paasky, a 5th Ward hip-hop artist whose debut was 2011’s Suggested Retail. In acknowledgment of what would have been B.I.G.’s 46th birthday, he penned an homage, “Big Tyme.” Borrowing inspiration from a venerated local duo (Big Tymers) and Wallace’s stage name for its title, “Big Tyme” plays on an interpolation of Junior Mafia’s “Get Money” (among other Biggie classics) and the song and its corresponding video are referential only in the best of ways.
“With the video, we wanted to compare and contrast Biggie at his lowest point and his highest in the rawest way possible, to give the lyrics in the song a chance to shine,” Paasky tells OffBeat.com. “In the opening scene, we are re-enacting the Rap City interview that aired directly after his death. We changed the logo to say ‘Dat City’ to add a New Orleans flavor to it. The interview happened at the height [of his career, when Biggie was the king of New York]. In the interview, he discussed his power, saying he was able to make an entire coast have a problem with another person [Tupac Shakur], so he wanted to use that same power to squash the tension once and for all. Professor Bling plays Joe Clair in this scene, who was the host of Rap City at the time. The second scene is the infamous video of Biggie’s street-corner rap battle. This symbolized the hunger and the grind of an aspiring artist soon to be crowned as one of the greatest ever.” The video is directed by Visionary Barnes, while the song is produced by Professor Bling–with whom readers may be familiar as visual artist Ceaux.
Paasky tells us “Biggie is my biggest influence when it comes to rhyme schemes, patterns and flows overall. In my opinion, Biggie & Lil’ Wayne are the best in those three aspects of rapping. B.I.G. died at 24, so that speaks to his natural God-given ability. So any reason I have to big up his name, pay homage and try to put my younger fans who may have missed Biggie’s wave onto his classic yet short-lived career, that’s what I’m gonna do. And what other day to celebrate is life other than his birthday.”