The Flow of The Notorious B.I.G


Today is the anniversary of Biggie Smalls’ death. I know that,not because I am a fan, but because my FB newsfeed told me so.

You see, when Biggie hit the scene, I was completely turned off by him. I couldn’t relate to what he was talking about and really couldn’t respect him for it. (Yep, I said it.). It wasn’t until my friend and fellow English major, Deb of All That Cheeky Music, convinced me to put aside my feelings and listen to his flow, that I learned to appreciate The Notorious B.I.G.

What is flow, you ask?  You only need listen to any Biggie song for the answer.

It is his tight vocabulary and his phrasing that runs like a stream.

It’s his ability to create such clever and sharp imagery. Check out these lyrics to “Warning” and tell me you can’t see a short film by John Singleton.

Who the fuck is this?

pagin me at 5:46 in the mornin crack a dawnin

now I’m yawnin, wipe the cold out my eye

see who’s this pagin me and why..

It’s my nigga Pop from the barbershop

told me he was in the gamblin spot and heard the intricate plot

some niggas wanna stick you like fly paper neighbour

slow down love please chill drop the caper

remember them niggas from the hill up in Brownsville

that you rolled dice wit

smoked the blunts and got nice wit

yeah my nigga Fame up in Prospect

nah dem my niggas nah love wouldn’t disrespect

I didn’t say dem,

they schooled me to some niggas

that you knew from back when,

when you was clockin minor figures

Now they heard you blowin up like nitro

know they wanna stick the knife

through your windpipe slow..

so thank Fame for warnin me now I’m warnin you

you got the mac nigga

tell me what you wanna do…

[CHORUS]

Damn niggas wanna stick me for my papers

[VERSE 2]

They heard about the Rolex’s and the Lexus

wit the Texas license plate outta state

they heard about the pounds

you got down in Georgetown

now they heard you got half of Virginia locked down

they even heard about the crib

you bought your moms out in Florida

the fifth corridor….

Call the coroner

there’s gonna be alot of slow singin

and flower bringin

if my burglar alarm starts ringin

whatcha think all the guns is for?

all purpose war got the rottweilers by the door

and I feed em gun powder so they can devour

the criminals tryna to drop my decimals

DAMN..niggas wanna stick me for my cream

And it ain’t a dream things aint always what it seems

it’s the ones that smoke blunts witcha

see your picture, now they wanna

grab they guns and come and getcha

Bethca Biggie won’t slip

I got the calico with the black talons loaded in the clip

so I can rip through the ligaments

put the fuckas in a bad prediciment

where all the foul niggas went

Touch my cheddar, feel my Beretta

Buck with what I had you with

you motherfuckers betta duck

I bring pain, blood stains on what remains

Of his jacket, he had a gun he should’ve packed it

Cocked it, extra clips in my pocket

so I can reload and explode down ya rasshole

I fuck around and get hardcore

C4 to ya door no beef no more nigga

feel the rush scandalous

The more weed smoke I puff the more dangerous

I dont give a fuck about you or your weak crew

What you gonna do when Big Poppa comes for you

I’m not runnin, nigga I bust my gun in

Hold on I hear somebody comin……..

[Dogs Barking]

“Shh…”

“Come on mothafucka!”

“I’m comin’ as fast as I can”

“Just bring yo mothafuckin’ ass on come on!”

“Are we gettin’ close? Huh?”

“It’s right over here”

“Man, are you sure it’s biggie smalls crib man?”

“Yeah i’m sure mothafucka come on”

“Oh fuck,it better be his mothafuckin’ house”

“Fuck?”

“It better be this mothafucka’s house”

“Oh shit!”

“What? What’s wrong man?

“What’s that red dot on your head man?”

“What red dot?”

“Oh shit, you got a red dot on your head too!”

“OH SHIT!”

[two gun shots] 

Flow is his use of the natural rhythm of words in combination with a complicated syncopated beat.  His is absolutely impeccable.   Remember this part in “Hypnotize”? 

Poppa been smooth since days of Underroos

Never lose, never choose to, bruise crews who do something to us, talk go through us.

See how that just, well, flows?  No other MC that has ever stepped to the mic has a flow quite like his.  Even though I usually can’t get with what he’s talking about, I gotta applaude his use of language.  It’s impeccable.

My favorite example of him “delivering lyrical lyrics that’s blowing lyrics out [his] larynx” is the song that first turned me off from him.  Now it is my favorite song.

Enjoy lyricism at its best in “Juicy”.