Over the weekend, several of hip-hop’s most influential figures gathered on Twitter Spaces to discuss The Notorious B.I.G. and the industry contributions and influence of the Brooklyn rapper also known as Biggie.
While praising the late rapper, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs suggested that Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter may have filled the hole in hip-hop created by West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur and Biggie’s untimely deaths in September 1996, and March 1997, respectively.
The Saturday, May 21 conversation was hosted by TIDAL and included the Bad Boy Record founder, Grammy-nominated rapper actor Fat Joe and Hov, who expressed that “As far as Big and ‘Pac and pushing forward, that’s just me being a student of the game and loving the game and loving the culture and wanting to push the culture forward.”
The 52-year-old explained that their deaths, both due to gun violence, were felt across the industry and had effects on other artists, including him. “That was the challenge that I was faced with, and that’s a void. That’s a big void,” Hov continued. “Others stepped in to fill it as well, not just myself. That’s a big void. That’s the two pillars right there. Imagine that, within a year.”
Diddy soon interjected, praising the Roc Nation boss, stating, “Bro, you filled them shoes though. You came in, and we definitely give thanks. You definitely came, and I just know how much Big really looked up to Jay.”
He continued, “They looked up to each other. That is crazy you had to step into the shoes of two people. That’s all it was was those two people. They had things on lock. Hov was coming, but it was like these two cats was just so big, and so to have all of that come on you and have that responsibility to keep this s–t fly and keep the art of it going. I think Hov kept the art of it going and take where they was at and take it even higher.”
Diddy’s comments, however, drew mixed reactions from music fans online, many of whom felt Hov would have reached his current level of fame even if Biggie and Tupac were still alive.
One user wrote in the comments section of Instagram, “I can appreciate giving him flowers but as a die hard Jay fan he was always in his own lane, he would always be impactful on rap culture and the culture period.” That person added, “ Even if the other two weren’t suddenly taken away Jay would’ve always been one of the greats that has to be clear.”
Another person commented, “JAY-Z did not fill anyone’s shoes but his own. 2Pac and Biggie are in a league of their own.”
“He should’ve just kept quiet and never make this comment publicly smh,” commented a third person. “Speak for yourself diddy lol,” wrote a fourth.
Sunday, May 21, would’ve been Biggie’s 50th birthday. In his native borough, the Barclays Center shared a video montage of some of his most classic hits on the oculus display above the arena’s entrance. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority also issued a limited edition Biggie MetroCard at three different stations in Brooklyn.