notorious big

BIGGIE WEEK: Can Anyone Replace BIG?

To say Biggie was phenomenal to me feels like a gross understatement. The man did things for the culture that haven’t been replicated or duplicated since. How many rappers can easily go from storytelling, to battle rapping, to romantic anthems that made the ladies swoon, to owning every collaboration he’s featured on? Not many, and very few who can do it all with the precision that Big Poppa had. He was clearly in a class by himself, ahead of his time, and left us as fans with a chasm-sized void that can never be totally filled…

That doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried…. a LOT!!!!

The first attempt that sticks out in my head came from BIG’s best friend, Sean-Puffy-Puff Daddy-P. Diddy-Diddy-Now-I’m-Just-Sean-Combs, with Shyne. Although Shyne didn’t look anything that resembled “Black and Ugly as Ever,” if you closed your eyes, he sounded a lot like him.

Unfortunately, we can’t ever know what heights Shyne could have reached because of an incident at Club New York that involved a gun, “American Idol” judge and Kohl’s spokesperson, Jennifer Lopez, and Ciroc Obama. The incident landed Shyne in the bing, and it did irreparable damage to his potential career.

The next “Wanna-BIG” that I remember was Guerilla Black. Not only did he have the girth, the look, and the sound, he was actually talented.

Sadly for him, Guerilla Black was so much like Biggie that people took to him with all of the enthusiasm that Snuggie owners had over the Slanket! Maybe it was too much too soon. Maybe we didn’t give him a fair chance to get out of what could arguably be described as the largest shadow in Hip-Hop. Any way you slice it, Guerilla Black was gone before you could say “UGHHH.”

It’s 2012, and on the 15th anniversary of the Notorious B.I.G.’s unfortunately premature demise, Hip-Hop is in need of something a little more solid. The radio is cluttered with a bunch of surface rap and sing-song styled, skinny jean (or worse yet, JEGGING) rap. Real Hip-Hop seems to have returned to the underground – a place where you won’t find reality show cameras or people with lackluster skills. It’s there that I ran across Philly Swain.

Before I get into who Swain is and what makes him special, I need to tell you that he’s not trying to be BIG. He’s trying to be HUGE.

Swain grew up in Philly, and although he lives in LA, he reps the East Coast… HARD! “If Biggie didn’t pass, I would have never taken rap seriously,” he says. “Biggie had an energy that changed the game. He died four blocks from my house (on Wilshire), and I just want to bring that energy back.”

Swain isn’t without credentials. He’s been a BET 106th & Park “Freestyle Friday” champion and a Red Bull EmSee Battle Champion. He’s the first rapper to have a battle on Pay-Per-View, in addition to having millions of hits on every site from YouTube to Facebook and everything in between. Paramount even shot a documentary on him called Hustle Diaries.

It’s rare that I endorse anyone, let alone put him in the same SENTENCE as BIG, but Philly Swain reminds me why I love Hip-Hop. He is REAL. His life story didn’t come from some other gangster, nor was it manufactured in some A&R’s office.

I miss gangster sh*t. I miss having fun when I turn on the radio or the TV. I miss lyrics that are actually SAYING something. Swain’s latest mixtape, Swain Storm, brings all of those things to the forefront.

No one will ever replace BIG.

He was a man so influential that he made Michael Jackson curse (see HERE), but Philly Swain will remind you of what Hip-Hop SHOULD be, and what it could be again. Check out more on Philly Swain HERE.

David Tazz Anderson is a Nationally Recognized Media Personality, Motivational Speaker and Author. His latest book, Common Sense Ain’t Common, is available at or wherever books are sold. Follow him on Twitter (@TazzDaddy).

  • Roberto Ciamora

    Damn, that dude looks just like him


    ok so whats your point theirs only 1 biggie tho??????

    ¨°º¤ø„ ¸ ¨º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨¸„ø¤º°¨
    _______REAL REAL
    _______T A L K


  • water_ur_seeds

    I used to think Shyne sounded like Biggie, but I dont think He does… Gurrila Black defo does, He even uses Biggie lyrics, and his flow…

    Philly Swain doesnt really sound too much like Biggie IMO, dude does remind Me off someone though cant put My finger on it.. Though He does remind Me off King T A little…

    Matter of fact I remember hearing that Biggie was heavily influenced By King Tee and the West Coast…

  • gomer_1

    that was good promotion. making everyone thinks the article is about biggie but really a cheap promo for whats his name..oh yeah… swain…

    • $18592567

      I listened to Swain for the 1st time 2 minutes ago, because of this article. I was a minute in and was like… Wait a minute muthafucka!?! They got that off.

      Swain be rappin!

  •  Let me say this, I am an ole’ head, but I am never going to out grow “real” HIP-HOP. Hip Hop is the prefect blend of artistry, boldness, precision-lyrical-delivery and equal balance of depth and expression of meaning. Hip Hop speaks to the soul and condition of our people and our culture. Hip Hop expresses life as mental and emotional intelligence. You have to have both intelligences to truly be an effective communicator to your audience. Swain has both. In fact I think his story telling is quite visual and narrative. Its like you are there and you get it. Not to mention the passion, and raw visceral energy his transmits like a laser. You just have to listen to what this dude is saying. The sky is the limit for this soldier, and he has the weapons to conquer all he surveys. 

    As for the Biggie comparisons, sure Biggie is one-of-a-kind and is an icon and a legend. Yet when you listen to Swain, you can’t help but notice the depth and content of his lyrics. That’s what folks are picking up on, that similar talent. That is what is missing in the game. Swain brings that, and then some.

    and that’s my word.

  • rep87

    only one sounding like and even looking like Biggie is Gurerilla Black he should have played him in that movie

  • This is disrespectful. . .you cant replace him, you can only imitate 

  • Philip Joseph

    that is biggie. no?

  • I been Checking out Philly Swain. I hear and feel Hip Hop. There is not much of that in this day and age of rap music. Of course No one can replace the Late Great Frank White. I do feel Philly Swain’s Energy. 

  • SDS_Overfiend

    To Bad B.B. Jay is a Gospel Biggie Clone that sounds better than all of them lmao!!!

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  • Teron Anderson

    Who the F*** is Tazz Daddy?

  • That Philly Swain $hyt was Aight!!!!!!!!!


  • LetsBeRealpeople

    What is it that Jay-Z said, “Y’all respect the one that got shot..I respect the shooter” The Hip Hop of NYC has collectively replaced Biggie with Jay-Z. Biggie gets more respect and play in the West than he does from his own territory. Yeah, they got love, but it’s all about the Mogul over there. Can anybody replace Biggie? You use this title too late. It’s 2012 I am suprised Vibe/AHH even remembers Biggie. Whatever happened to Biggie forever NYC…that’s a mighty long time. If you miss can hear live on the WestSide. God Bless the Dead.

  • slumlord_vinny

    Hell no, can’t believe you would ask such a question. Ridiculous. I actually met Big a few time before dude passed, had homies that went to school with dude at Friends and Westinghouse. There will never be another Big Poppa. Never! There might be people that come, take his spot as far as the whole king of NY thing but dude music is timeless. I put that on Crown Heights baby baby!

  • Tony G.

    That Shyne BadBoy joint used to rock..but I dont think he sounds as much like Big as people think…Guerilla Black sounded more like him..esp on his song…shouts to Swain…dude goes in

  • SharksBreath

    Jay Z already replaced him. Matter of fact a thousand rappers have already stolen his style. To me the greatest can’t be copied. You don’t see a million rappers sounding like Pac, Nas, KRSI, LL, Ice Cube, Kool G, Em. Greatness can not be copied. Everyone does not have that talent. Anyone can slow flow over a beat. Look at rap now. Everyone is doing it.  Big’s greatest gift was dumbing down the art. To the point a Mase or Puffy thought they could rap. See Rick Ross. He’s stealing his style right now. His greatest gift was rap’s down fall. When it comes to subject matter anyone can fake it till they make it. Look at how many rappers talk about what they got. Before Big nobody was getting rich off of faking it. After. That’s all we got. Because it’s easy to talk about the things you wish you had. You see all the rappers looking broke not owning a thing they are talking about. 

    You can thank Big for the make it till you fake it era. It ruined rap.         

  • disqus_lcLBazVyTd

    Please give biggie his own article dont try to use his greatness to give some other artist promo……swain tough tho real talk but thats clear promo for him sorry ….and sorry for the people who came in here thinking theres was a straight biggie article…its not …

  • BIG PUN was better than Biggie,  Biggie was good at using simple words and made them sound good with his voice and flow, but his lyrics were dumbed down,  BIG PUN was  a lyrical monster on the mic

    • Exactly what I was thinkin’.  Not to mention people need to get off this dudes nuts, for real.  Hip-hop ain’t grow since Biggie died. Everyone trying to replicate.  I’m not disrespecting those who remember him personally, I’m speaking to those that don’t know him for shit, speak about hip-hop like he invented it while taking a shit and making a sandwich.
      Let his memory rest, and do what he was in essence doing himself, elevating a music genre because everyone else was too scared or uncreative to do so.
      By the way, the muthaf*ck that knows who killed him and Pac need to step up.  People need to get up and say something.  That’s word.

      • torreysn

        Word son.

  • torreysn

    Nobody can replace Biggy just like nobody can replace YOU David “Tazz Daddy” Anderson,can any body replace RAKIM?

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  • Adrian Barron

    Philly Swain just aight … but quit comparing niggahs to LEGENDS when they aint never gonna fill them shoes … let Philly Swain be Philly Swain and let BIG RIP – its damn near 20 yrs later and you niggahs still on this dumb shyt!

  • Adrian Barron

    worse than bytches …

  • thuglifefukdapolice

    biggie dropped party n bullshit in 93 week later he met pac study n u willl see he sound like pac a lil

  • 1SOFLO1

    So obvious, how much did Swain pay for this PROMO. AHH needs knew writers; they think only “dummies” visit this sites.SMH. On the way down………Fast.

    • Its AHH needs new writers not knew. Talk about dummies.

  • besides being nice at rapping how did big uplift his people? Ross is big with lyrics to but neither one of them are revolutionaries like pac

  • WillVetterGoodin

    fill the void, yes. Replaced….no