Today marks 15 years since the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles, and even now there are constant reminders of his passing. I guess after that long, you get used to seeing reminders of him pretty often—the music, the bootleg t-shirts, the use of his image and most memorable lines by every streetwear brand. There were also certain items that always brought Young Christopher, and while this list would vary person to person (especially for those who knew him) but here are the five items that I think he made his own.
1. Versace shades
Even though there are lots of pictures of Big with no shades on, these sunglasses are still the first thing I think of when I think of Big. Crazy dark locs was some West Coast gangster shit, but he smoothed it out by selecting Versace. That was Big in a nutshell, no?
2. Jesus pieces
Thanks to Christopher Wallace, God’s only begotten son on a chain with diamonds in his beard and thorny crown is probably the centerpiece of the Rapper Kit. It’s even carried over into the Big Sean aesthetic—just about the only accessory that survived the tight-jean revolution.
3. Coogi sweaters
I never liked these; even the beige one was somehow too loud. But Big made them look so cool that the sweater/matching hat combo was ringing off at The Tunnel like Motorola Startacs. (I don’t know enough about fashion, but Big was absolutely the first person I saw in one of these.)
4. Tropic Ventair Kangols
Big had a conservative fade, like a grown-up’s. But you’d never know because he made the Kangol such an integral part of his image. Other rappers wore it, but it didn’t even matter. The Kangol was all Big, and maybe it even helped keep his head cool during that whole Tupac mess.
The man’s leg was broken in a car accident while Lil Cease was driving, so he walked with a cane (hence “I used to be strong as Ripple B/ ’til Lil Cease crippled me…”). But I bet no one really even knew that his leg had been broken—he was so smooth, the cane looked like it was just part of his ensemble. Cane in one hand, leaning on it slightly while smoking a blunt, wearing a fresh suit and a derby. That’s Big to me.