9th Wonder and Phonte

BIGGIE WEEK: Was Biggie Smalls the G.O.A.T.? – Reflections from 9th Wonder & Phonte

Game recognize game. And when your name appears 99.99% of the time on the Hip-Hop Nation’s lists of greatest rappers, you just might be the greatest.

The debate will likely rage on forever as to whom is the “Greatest Of All Time” in rap music, but there is little doubt that The Notorious B.I.G. remains one of the sturdy pillars of the genre and the culture.

At age 24, and with only two studio albums to his credit, Christopher Wallace had a definite “it” factor – that certain something that today might be called “swag” or might have earned him a privileged place among living icons.

Still, in death, his iconic status lives on. And in rap, where there is mutual respect among competing MCs but little affection, even the greats who still uphold the music can agree that BIG left an indelible mark on them as artists and people. For producers and DJs, the relationship to Bed-Stuy’s Boy was different but equally powerful – the way he “rode the beat” ranks high among many of their reflections eternal.

AllHipHop.com spent last evening (March 8) with two North Carolina rap giants – producer extraordinaire, 9th Wonder, and his talented partner and former Little Brother member, singer/rapper Phonte. At the legendary Sigma Sound Stage, after sharing their own endearing stories of industry triumphs and struggles during Red Bull Music Academy’s stop in Philadelphia, the duo reflected on whether or not The Notorious B.I.G. was indeed the G.O.A.T.:

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