The Notorious B.I.G. has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, further cementing his legacy, indomitable beats, and inimitable talent in music history.
During the virtual ceremony held on Saturday evening, Sean “Diddy” Combs – who signed Biggie to his label Bad Boy Records in 1993 – lauded the late Brooklyn rapper in his induction speech.
“Big just wanted to be biggest, he wanted to be the best, he wanted to have influence and impact people in a positive way, and that clearly has been done all over the world. Nobody has come close to the way Biggie sounds, to the way he raps, to the frequency that he hits,” Diddy said. “Tonight, we are inducting the greatest rapper of all time into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Notorious B.I.G. representing Brooklyn, New York, we up in here!”
In a tribute comprised of archived interview footage, JAY-Z praised Biggie’s songwriting and compared it to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock. “They were these tales that was disturbing, but they all had a purpose,” he said. “The human side of him came through in his music, and I think it moved the molecules in the world. I know for a fact that he pointed me in a direction and I’m sure that’s happened to millions and millions of people worldwide.”
“It was the undisputed sound of New York,” Lin-Manuel Miranda adds. “It was this voice with such authority and bravado. He had this incredible deep bass voice, but he wielded it like a virtuoso, and he could paint a picture with as few words as possible.”
Nas argued that the artist’s impact in the music industry helped open doors for New York rappers. “Rap music is all about who’s gonna be the king,” Nas shared. “The West Coast, they was sellin’ millions of records, and before Big, I felt like there was only so far New York rap could go as far as sales. Biggie changed all of that.”
The rapper’s children Tyanna and CJ Wallace accepted the honor on their father’s behalf, and reflected on the artist’s influence on the hip-hop industry and the Black community in their speeches.
“When my dad passed away I was only three years old,” said Tyanna. “Even though I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted, through his fans and our family I was able to see with my own eyes that his music transcended the hip-hop industry. He was able to not just become the king of New York but the king of the culture.”
“Our father was one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. He helped revolutionize what was a young art form for the Black community and the world,” CJ added. “I’m honored to share his name and his dedication to Black music, creativity, self-expression, and Black freedom.”
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2020 was broadcast on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max. The event took place in lieu of their live induction ceremony originally scheduled in May. The ceremony featured guests including Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Dave Grohl, Alicia Keys, Billie Idol, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bruce Springsteen, and more to highlight the importance and influence of this year’s inductees.
Watch CJ and T’yanna Wallace acceptance speeches in the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony below: