On March 1st, streaming platform Netflix, released “Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell”, the behind-the-scenes documentary film showcasing the career and life of one of the rap scene’s most important and highly regarded artists of all time, perhaps the greatest, Christopher George Latore Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G.
Through exclusive and unprecedented access, the documentary traces Biggie Smalls’ journey from his beginnings to greatness with never-before-seen clips and never-before-seen documents, as well as interviews with people very close to Notorious who had never told their story.
Today, exactly 24 years after the passing of Notorious B.I.G., we decided to pay him homage through a journey in the style that distinguished Big Poppa.
Perhaps the most famous photo ever taken of Notorious B.I.G. is the one by Dutch photographer and filmmaker Dana Lixenberg, which depicts the New York artist while counting $50 bills wearing the iconic COOGI, a sweater that has become synonymous with his style. COOGI is a brand founded in 1969 in Toorak, Australia under the name of “Cuggi”, later renamed with the current naming in 1987, and famous for its woven and colorful sweaters. What was perceived only as an “Australian souvenir” has become an absolute must thanks to Biggie, who matched them with jeans or sports pants and the ever-present Yellow Boots by Timberland, a true symbol of New York.
“I put hoes in NY onto DKNY
Miami, D.C. prefer Versace
All Philly hoes, dough and Moschino
Every cutie wit a booty bought a COOGI”
Another photo that has entered the collective imagination is the one taken by photographer and photojournalist Shawn Mortensen in 1994, with Biggie wearing a camo jacket by BAPE, a Japanese brand founded by NIGO in 1993 in Ura-Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, which will soon become one of the most popular brands in the global streetwear scene. There is a little legend about this photo, however, it seems that the jacket in question did not belong to Biggie but to Mortensen, this does not detract from the fact that thanks to this shot BAPE has become the brand we know today.
To describe Notorious’ style we can’t help but talk about the real love the rapper had for Karl Kani, founded in 1989 by Carl Williams in Brooklyn, rightly considered a pioneer brand in the streetwear world and which best represented the hip hop culture of the 90s and early 00s.
“I got the funk flow to make your drawers drop slow
So recognize the dick size in these Karl Kani jeans”
During the recording of his second album, which was initially supposed to be called “Life After Death… Til Death Do Us Part”, later shortened to “Life After Death”, Biggie was involved in a car accident in which he broke his left leg in a very serious way that forced him to a long period in a wheelchair. After the episode, he will be forced to rely on a walking stick for the rest of his life.
This episode definitely changed Notorious B.I.G.’s style: tailored clothes, lots of velour and his walking stick with a golden handle.
A book would not be enough to tell how much, Notorious B.I.G., has influenced the culture, music and style of our contemporary times, an iconoclast of the ’90s who has forever marked the history of music of all time.