Friday, May 21, 2010

A Blessed Happy Birthday, B.I.G.

(from the Mail.Bagg series)

by Barry Michael Cooper

21 May 2010

Dear Christopher:

A Blessed and Happy Birthday to you; a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Black Frank White, a.k.a. The King of New York, a.k.a. Big Poppa, d.b.a./p.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. You would have been 37 today. Yes, things done changed, but one thing remains the same; your voice, talent, and brilliance are sorely missed.

Big, you are the true poet laureate of Hip Hop; a man of letters, essays, and novels, framed and bound in 16-bars. You are the Bertolt Brecht of Nostrand Avenue, whose pen macked the knife of urban literature like a brain surgeon's scalpel and lobotomized the media's fraudulent Threepenny Opera of life in the 'hood. You were a true artist who was both client and player-president, both Bigger Thomas and Richard Wright. Big, you allowed your Biggie Smalls to fly too close to the street corner's native sun, so you could unveil the illusion of that golden-bricked, road to the riches, for what it really was; an Icarus-boulevard of broken wings, paved with the wax of melted dreams.
Though you were respected and revered by most, you were playa-hated by some. These were Sucka MC's/One Hit Wonders/Dimwitted Victims of Obsolescence, who fancied themselves as card-counting card sharks in the record bidness, which they re-imagined as a casino named The Glamour Profession. Card cheats who looked at their record deal like stacks of $500 chips, and thought they could beat the house with B.I.G. desire undercut by minature ambition and even smaller talent. 
However, when the deck of life made them fold as they played themselves out of pocket when over-exposing their hand (by spending too much time admiring your style, of course), you suggested that they shouldn't get mad, because UPS was hiring. And Big, what prescient advice that was! Some of them did indeed find out what Brown (and the Post Office) could do for them, and that was provide a steady pay of $50,000 per year, health, dental, a great retirement package, and a safety net when the market crashed a decade later.
Big, you not only offered them pragmatic advise, you showed them real love: you were telling them to prepare for the marathon, not the sprint. Especially when most labels, percs, and deals, have gone up in a bonfire of corporate mergers, stale champagne dreams, and dissipated blunt smoke.
Finally Big, thank you for letting the world know that young Black men were not really ready to die. Your stories were (and still are) valuable insight into what they know, and what they know is this: making nihilistic choices (one step, Kaboom!) will most assuredly bring fatal obligations (black suits fill the room). You. Will. Always. Be. The. Greatest. Happy Birthday and GOD Bless you . 


My debut anthology of street journalism from the 1980s (and more current essays), "Hooked On The American Dream-Vol.1: New Jack City Eats Its Young," is now available on Kindle/Amazon. Click here to go to the Amazon site.


ceered007 said...

The BEST rapper of all times!!! <3

jnotesnmaicolsosa said...

All I Could say The Best Birthday Letter For The Greatest.

Bmc said...

@ceered007: thanks for your comment and B.I.G was the greatest of all time, I agree.

Bmc said...

@jnotesnmaicolosa: thank you for your kind words, jnotes. I appreciate it.