Notorious B.I.G.

Still touted as one of the best and most famous rappers of all time, our homie Biggie Smalls—also known as the Notorious B.I.G.—not only revolutionized an entire genre of music, he also shook up the world of fashion.

Most people know that Biggie was the man to first rock a Jesus piece on his gold chain—at least the first man to do it and call it a Jesus piece, making it a staple part of his wardrobe. But, Biggie pushed the boundaries of style in many ways, which is why we wanted to revisit some of his most iconic looks that you can draw inspiration from.

A Quick History of Biggie Smalls

Born Christopher Wallace in Brooklyn, New York, in 1972, Biggie Smalls quickly became one of the biggest names in hip hop, completely reinventing East Coast rap and stepping out of the typical boundaries of the genre.

Biggie was known for rapping about the good things in life but also the many hardships he faced coming up to stardom. He wasn’t afraid to show the flashy side of fame and was regularly debuting some truly baller outfits and accessories. Sadly, he was murdered in a drive-by shooting at the age of just 24 in 1997. Although his case was never solved, he lives on through his music and his dope sense of style that many dudes are still trying to re-create to this day.

5 Trends Popularized by Biggie

  • The Jesus Piece

Maybe his crowning achievement of style, the Jesus piece can’t be discussed without a mention of our dude Biggie Smalls. He commissioned famous jeweler Tito Caicedo to make him three custom pendants of Jesus for a whopping $30,000 in the mid-90s.

These days, that number doesn’t necessarily turn heads, as we hear about today’s stars like Rick Ross purchasing a custom gold chain for an unimaginable $1.5 million. But, in Biggie’s day, three racks for three custom pendants was a lot of dough and had people talking. His Jesus piece began a major part of his image, and a lot of other rappers started to hop on board with the statement.

Get Iced Out With The Perfect Pendant

 Rolex oyster perpetual Date

  • Rolex Watches

Okay, so Biggie wasn’t the only person who regularly flaunted a Rolex on his wrist. This luxury brand has had some of the most popular high-end watches for nearly a century. But, Biggie was known for telling the true players to “Put your Rollies in the sky, wave ‘em side to side” as a statement of success and just great fashion sense. Biggie’s Rolex watches weren’t quite like anyone else’s though, blinged-out with diamonds to match his collection of iced-out chains.

  • Coogi Sweaters

Unlike many other big-time rappers who favor black clothing or solid-colored tees, Biggie did not shy away from bright patterns and colors. And when he discovered the eclectic style of Coogi sweaters, he was all about it, even describing his style in the song “One More Chance / Stay With Me (Remix)” with the lyrics, “I stay Coogi down to the socks, rings and watch filled with rocks.” He’s damn right—Biggie was always rockin’ the iced-out chains with his Coogi shirts that previously were strictly worn by middle-aged golfers and maybe your grandpa.

  • Karl Kani

Another favorite brand of Biggie’s, Karl Kani was started by a fellow Brooklyn native, which may partially explain Smalls’ support of the brand. Karl Kani’s line, originally named Big and Tall, featured a lot of flashy colors and patterns for this urban streetwear style, so it seemed like a natural fit for our boy. 

private detective in an old fashion hat

  • Walking with a Cane

After being involved in a serious car crash in 1996, Biggie’s style seemed to shift, as he now relied on the support of a cane to walk properly. But he took that pimp limp and ran with it, creating a very Roarin’ 20s gangster-esque look with a gold-tipped cane and a Homburg hat. With this new look, Biggie replaced his Coogi sweaters with a more tailored suit customized just for him, inspiring a new generation of suited-up hip hop stars. But, just because his style was becoming more sophisticated and less casual, that didn’t mean that he skipped out on his bling.

Biggie’s Style Lives On

There’s no doubt that Biggie Smalls had a huge impact on hip hop, from his music down to his dope style. And, with the recent resurgence of 90s trends, it’s the perfect time to reflect on some of Biggie’s most baller looks and try to incorporate them into your own style, from an iced-out gold chain with a Jesus piece to bringing back the oversized Coogi sweaters. You do you, homie.

    August 19, 2020

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