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It’s the first track in 17 years to be headlined by the late rap icon, following his second posthumous album, 2005’s ‘Duets: The Final Chapter’. It also marks the first new material to feature Biggie’s vocals since 2017, when ‘The King & I’ – a collaborative album with his widow, R&B singer Faith Evans – was released.
In the first of his two verses – both of which also feature backing vocals from Diddy – Biggie raps: “I’m poppin’ Magnums while Jigga bag somethin’ / Watch is platinum, got jet lag from / Flights back and forth, pop corks of the best grapes / Make the best CDs and the best tapes / Don’t forget the vinyl, take girls, break spinals.”
Have a listen to ‘G.O.A.T.’ below:
“Being on a song with Biggie has been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Ty said in a statement shared with the release. “The song title is fitting of him… the GOAT. Happy Birthday, Big. We miss you!”
“It’s wonderful to witness my son’s music reimagined for his fans and today’s generation of young men and women to embrace his art,” added Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace. “I appreciate the hard work of all involved in bringing together the perfect blend of voices and music to this song.”
The release of ‘G.O.A.T.’ is one of many ways Biggie’s 50th birthday is being celebrated. In the city of New York, where he was born and raised, two notable landmarks will don visuals honouring the rapper. At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a broadcast beamed above the entrance to the arena will sport a montage of Biggie’s most notable releases.
In commemoration of Biggie’s timeless debut album, 1994’s ‘Ready To Die’, the Empire State Building will be lit up in red and white, with the image of a spinning crown plastered along its mast. It’ll also host an event celebrating Biggie’s life – featuring appearances from Biggie’s children, Wallace, Lil Cease and Lil Kim – tonight (May 20).
Closer to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Biggie’s original stomping grounds, the MTA will issue special MetroCards for the three subway stops closest to his childhood home – Lafayette Avenue, Clinton-Washington Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. These will only be available tomorrow, (May 21 – the exact date of Biggie’s birthday).
Amazon will add to the celebrations with two street art-centric initiatives in Biggie’s honour. The first, steered by their in-house [RE]DISCOVER brand, will decorate the Clinton-Washington Ave. subway station with murals dedicated to the rapper. In a separate partnership with Beautify Earth, additional murals painted by New York locals will pop up in each of the city’s boroughs.
Back in February, Biggie’s estate revealed details of a 25th anniversary edition of his second album, 1997’s ‘Life After Death’. In addition to the original album, the box set – due out on June 10 – will feature 12-inch pressings of singles ‘Hypnotize’, ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’, ‘Sky’s The Limit’ and ‘Nasty Boy’. It’ll also include a commemorative booklet with rare photos, new linear notes, and commentary from team members who worked on the LP.
A year-long campaign honouring Biggie’s 50th birthday – dubbed ‘Sky’s The Limit: A Year Celebrating The Legacy of the Notorious B.I.G.’ – will also see the release of an “enhanced digital version” of ‘Life After Death’, a number of online events and upgrades to his entire video back-catalogue on YouTube, plus some “additional surprises” (via Pitchfork).
Last September, the Brooklyn apartment where Biggie recorded ‘Ready To Die’ went up for sale. The rapper lived in the complex with Evans and her daughter, Chyna Tahjere Griffin, in the mid ’90s. He grew up nearby in Clinton Hill, with his childhood home being rented out at almost £3,000 a month in 2019.