As we celebrate the life of the Notorious B.I.G. this weekend we should thank the person keeping his legacy alive, Ms. Voletta Wallace. There are a lot of Hip Hop icons and legends who have passed away but none have had their legacies cemented like Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur. Their mothers these two men will be the faces of the culture over one hundred years from now because of the work, support, integrity, and dedication these Black women have put in. It is understandable that some of the family or the “estate” want to preserve the legacy of the artist but there are degrees to which that can be done. It’s similar to how a publicist would handle an artist’s image. Some artists don’t have publicists and are just out there tarnishing their business. Some publicists encourage the ridiculous behavior because today, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad news as long as people are talking about you.
Some artist’s legacies are stagnant or “misguided” by the same family and “estate”. Big Pun could have much more of a posthumous presence but due to some soured relationships we may never hear or see any new music, documentaries, visuals, or have any type of reboots. We could have more with Guru but I think the culture can respect what Preemo and Guru’s family is doing to preserve his legacy. Some artists made such a large contribution to the culture that their legacies can never be shaken; unless something crazy happens or comes to light just ask Afrika Bambaataa. Some artists have their respective labels, crews, labelmates, or group members to keep their legacy alive for the current generation.
Bad Boy Records will never allow anyone to misuse the music or the voice of Notorious B.I.G. Diddy always mentions him, Lil Cease, and Lil Kim always show love to Big whenever the feel the need to. We can’t forget about his widow Faith Evans. She released a project with vocals from her late husband. Despite the tumultuous relationship they may or may not have had she still shows him respect. The children of some of these artist feel compelled to follow in their father’s footsteps. O.D.B.’s oldest son and Big Pun’s son, Chris Rivers both rhyme and neither aren’t too shabby. Some children of the deceased emcees keep a low profile and I could see why they’d want to. Rappers today don’t have any record label, wife, or estate to manger their business if they possibly die from a drug overdose or some sort of health issue that is the result of a drug induced lifestyle. I guess they don’t’ really need anyone to have their back because they never planned on making a major contribution to the culture in the first place.
“Like my Team ain’t the best in the world…y’knahmsayin?” – Dame Dash (Champions)