Editor’s Note: Where would Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. be if he were still alive? There are an endless number of scenarios. This is one. In this alternate reality, Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur, AllHipHop’s co-founder, examines what life Biggie would lead had he survived March 9, 1997.
He remembers the bullets whizzing through the air. He still can hear the horrific scream of the rounds piercing the Suburban that carried him and his friends D-Roc, Lil Cease, and G-Money. The smell of panic, burning rubber, death, and fear make for a pungent scent one never forgets.
Today is March 9th. The day he was supposed to die.
He thanks God every morning that he wakes up – that he was spared on that day in 1997. Today, he looks up, almost tearfully. Then, he rolls over and gazes into a colossal mirror, as he does every morning these days. Soon, he glances over his shoulder and sees Faith, his doting wife. Somehow, through all the rotten beef, fights, and other women – especially Charli Baltimore – she stayed with him.
Gingerly, he wipes the cold from his eyes, as he once rapped about in “Warning”. Only difference is, he still sees clearly now.
Checking his mobile, he sees hundreds of e-mails and text messages. Some are people reminding him incessantly that today is the anniversary of the attempt on his life. Others, the ones he reads, are from Cease, D-Roc, and even Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, the head of Bad Boy Records. Ever since Biggie decided to leave the label that got him his start, his relationship with Diddy had been on rocky ground. He knows he did the right thing to step away from the music game as a performer and segue into being a true entrepreneur. But, his relationship with his former boss has transitioned into a better place, as he has seriously considered a comeback album. He’s thinking about calling it “Ready To Live”. He likes the way it represents a cycle, but also growth.
Well, when nary one of those bullets hit him after the VIBE Magazine party in Los Angeles; he knew for certain he was never truly ready to die, classic first album be damned. Actually his life – past, present, and future flashed before his eyes in an instant. It was a miracle that the gunman fired that rare German 9mm blue-steel pistol four times, missing Biggie with each one. In fact, the assassin is still out there, something he ponders about but really doesn’t allow to dominate his thoughts. He’s stronger than ever, but more importantly, at peace.
So he continues March 9th like most other days, right after he and Faith get “CJ” off to private school. Later in the morning, he ensures that Lil Cease and Lil Kim are getting their just rotation on MTV, BET, and urban radio. The Internet already has them daily on the blogs and popular urban sites like AllHipHop.com. They haven’t been embraced the way he was, but they have seen prolonged success under his guidance. However, Biggie’s most excited about partnering with his Brooklyn cohort Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter in a joint venture of unprecedented impact. He knew the time was right after Jay parted ways with then-partners Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burk. He places a call.
“What’s up Jay?” says in his nasally voice. “How’s the album coming along? Yeah? I know it’s going to kill the game. You got the crown now, but I’m thinking about doing it again. Yeah, Puff and I are talking. If the paperwork is right, watch out.” He disconnects.
“I’m still the illest,” he whispers gently inside in his head. “Take your Throne back.”
He’s got the sprawling Jersey mansion with all of the opulence a man could ever want and the legacy to match. But, Biggie’s proud of himself for more philanthropic reasons since March 9, 1997, the day he was to die. He restarted Hip-Hop shows in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. He brought back the Queens/Brooklyn Day. He even established the Brooklyn Music Academy, where he develops and often signs young, talented artists. T’yanna, his lovely daughter, attends Penn State University with honors. CJ, his namesake, is a mini version of himself – only brighter. He often reflects on what could have been. Somehow, he’s living out the future that once flashed before his eyes, as bullets sought to steal him from the earth.
As the day closes, Faith is in his arms. The mansion is quiet, save the hum of the ventilation system.
Inevitably, he thinks about Tupac Shakur. His California counterpart’s death continues to weigh on him heavily. He can’t help but think he and his dear friend were pawns in somebody’s chess game. But he doesn’t empower conspiracy theories too much. He mostly reflects that yet another young, Black man of tremendous potential died far too early. Then there’s his potential. He’s still here. Surely, he’s far more successful financially today than he would have been under Bad Boy.
He sits contently, thinking how his albums, Ready To Die and Life After Death, set a barometer that most artists would kill to attain. But, deep within, he knows that he has one more thing to do.
Quietly, with Faith still in his clutches, he starts to string words together. Words become verses and concepts.
The time has come to take back the Throne.