On the 15th anniversary of the death of Biggie Smalls, Bed-Stuy native, one of Brooklyn’s most beloved sons, and possibly the greatest rapper in history, Gilt Taste drops an essay by writer Francis Lam, on how B.I.G. inspired him to write about food.
Lam took note when in his breakout hit ‘Juicy’ Biggie rhymed, “Born sinner, the opposite of a winner, remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner.” But it was a verse about cookies, buttercrunch cookies, in ‘Sky’s the Limit’ that stuck with him
“When I heard him rap about cookies in “Sky’s the Limit,” Biggie Smalls became to me something truly greater than a just a wit and storyteller:
Here comes respect:
His crew’s your crew, or they might be next
‘Look at they man eye! BIG, man, they’ll never try.’
So we rolled with ‘em, stole with ‘em.
I mean loyalty: n**gaz bought me milks at lunch.
The milks was chocolate; the cookies, buttercrunch.
…There’s much more in that song…but it was the cookies, buttercrunch, that made me understand food’s potency as a symbol, its ability to bridge enormous gaps between him, his characters, and the listener, whether that listener hustled on his corner or was a Chinese kid from the suburbs…Everyone, no matter how hardened, can remember the foods that defined their childhood. And everyone knows, whether you are eating sardines or lobster, that what you eat and what you want to eat says much about you.”
Read the full piece and a selection of Biggie’s choice food rhymes at Gilt Taste here.
Rest in peace, Biggie. We know you’re rocking the chocolate milk and buttercrunch in a better place.