It was 14 years ago today that Brooklyn-born hip hop juggernaut Christopher Wallace - better known as Biggie Smalls or the Notorious B.I.G. - was killed in Los Angeles. A tuxedo-wearing gunman in a Chevy Impala pulled alongside the Suburban ferrying Biggie and opened fire. Riding in the passenger seat of that 'burb, the drug dealer turned wordsmith was killed. Despite the fact that a whole lot of people thought they knew who was behind the shooting, the murder was never solved by the LAPD, and is actually still being investigated on the Left Coast.
All these years later, the vivid street narratives in Born to Die and Life After Death remain poignant and surprisingly fresh. At turns angry, hilarious and vulnerable, Biggie has got songs for all seasons. And even one about banging the girl of a player on the New York Knicks. The last song on the first disc of Life After Death, "I've Got A Story to Tell," details what happens when Big's liaison with the lady of Knicks player at that fellow's crib is interrupted by the player returning home from a game against the Utah Jazz, who were fittingly in town the other night. Surprisingly, hilarity, not violence, ensues. Well, there is a robbery and there are threats of violence. But it's funny. Really funny.
Who y'all talkin to man?
Check it out, check it out
This here goes out
to all the niggaz that be fuckin mad bitches
in other niggaz cribs
thinkin shit is sweet
Nigga creep up on your ass, hahaha
Live niggaz respect it, check it
I kick flows for ya, kick down doors for ya
Even left all my motherfuckin hoes for ya
Niggaz think Frankie pussy whipped, nigga picture that
With a Kodak, Insta-ma-tak
We don't get down like that, lay my game down quite flat
Sweetness, where you parked at?
Petiteness but that ass fat
She got a body make a nigga wanna eat that, I'm fuckin witchu
The bitch official doe, dick harder than a missile yo
Try to hit if she trippin dissapearin like Arsenio
Yo, the bitch push a double-oh
with the five in front, probably a connivin stunt
Y'all drive in front, I'm a peel with her
Find a deal with her, she fuck around and steal, huh?
Then we all get laced
Television's, Versacci heaven, when I'm up in em
The shit she kicked, all the shit's legit
She get dick from a player off the New York Knicks
Nigga tricked ridiculous, the shit was plush
She's stressin me to fuck, like she was in a rush
We fucked in his bed, quite dangerous
I'm in his ass while he playin gainst the Utah Jazz
My 112, CD blast, I was past
She came twice I came last, roll the grass
She giggle, sayin i'm smokin on homegrown
Then I heard her moan, honey I'm home
Yep, tote chrome for situations like this
I'm up in his broad I know he won't like this
Now I'm like bitch you better talk to him
Before this fist put a spark to him
Fuck around shit get dark to him, put a part through him
Lose a major part to him, arm, leg
She beggin me to stop but this cat gettin closer
Gettin hot like a toaster, I cocks the toast, uhh
Before my eyes could blink
She screams out, "Honey bring me up somethin to drink!"
He go back downstairs more time to think
Her brain racin, she's tellin me to stay patient
She don't know I'm, cool as a fan
Gat in hand, I don't wanna blast her man
But I can and I will doe, I probably chill doe
Even though situation lookin kinda ill yo
It came to me like a song I wrote
Told the bitch gimme your scarf, pillowcase and rope
Got dressed quick, tied the scarf around my face
Roped the bitch up, gagged her mouth with the pillowcase
Play the cut, nigga comin off some love potion shit
Flash the heat on em, he stood emotionless
Dropped the glass screamin, "Don't blast here's the stash,
a hundred cash just don't shoot my ass, please!"
Nigga pullin mad G's out the floor
Put stacks in a Prada knapsack, hit the door
Grab the keys to the five, call my niggaz on the cell
Bring some weed I got a story to tell, uhh...
Yo man, y'all niggaz ain't gonna believe what the fuck happened to me.
Remember that bitch I left the club with man? Yo, freaky yo. I'm up in
this bitch playa this bitch fuckin run them ol mink ass niggaz and shit,
I'm up in the spot though. One of them six-five niggaz, I don't know.
Anyway I'm up in the motherfuckin spot, so boom I'm up in the pussy,
whatever whatever. I sparks up some lye, Pop Duke creeps up in on some,
must have been rained out or something *laughing* because he's in the
spot. Had me scared, had me scared, I was shook Daddy - but I forget I
had my Roscoe on me. Always. You know how we do. So anyway the nigga
comes up the stairs, he creepin up the steps, the bitch all shook she
sends the nigga back downstairs to get some drinks and shit. She gettin
mad nervous, I said fuck that man! I'm the nigga, you know how we do it
nigga, ransom note style put the scarf around my motherfuckin face,
gagged that bitch up, played the kizzack. Soon this nigga comes up in
the spot, flash the Desert in his face he drops the glass. Looked like
the nigga pissed on his-self or somethin, word to mother! Ahh fuckit
this nigga runs dead to the floor, peels up the carpet, start givin me
mad papers, mad papers. (I told you that bitch was a shiesty bitch cuz!
Word to mother I used to fuck her cousin but you ain't know that! Hahaha.
You wouldn't know that shit. Really though.) I threw all that
motherfuckin money up in the Prada knapsack. Two words, I'm gone!
(No doubt, no doubt... no doubt!) Yo nigga got some lye, y'all got
some lye? [conversation fades out]
While the anonymous cuckolded Knickerbocker is likely just a stand-in for the stereotypical ideals of straight-laced, milk-drinking masculinity that this overweight, black market superstar was trying to supersede, I did like to wonder who the gal would have been if the story had been true. Usually, I'd just assume that, Big was banging the wife of Charles Smith. A Connecticut-born college graduate who was well paid but little respected on the block (or at my suburban middle school). Smith's four misses in the waning moments of Game 5 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals were still an open wound in this town during the period when the song was likely recorded.
Life After Death was released shortly after Biggie's death in March 1997, but it was, according to my extensive Wikipedia research, originally slated for release on Halloween in 1996. An autumn '96 on-sale would have meant that most of the songs were likely written and recorded during the three-year window between September 1994 when Ready to Die dropped and the start of the 1996–1997 NBA season. Although the Knicks' roster was fairly stable during that span, the only clues that we have about the 'bocker from the song is that he was scared and that he kept a stash of cash in a Prada bag beneath the floor of his bedroom. He's also described as "one of them six-five niggaz," which likely rules out the 6' 10" Smith. Despite the scars I carry from Charles Smith's time with the Knicks' I'm going to say that he simply doesn't fit the description.
1994–1997 New York Knicks
Patrick Ewing 1994–1997
John Starks 1994–1997
Charles Smith 1994–1996
Derek Harper 1994–1996
Hubert Davis 1994–1996
Anthony Mason 1994–1996
Charles Oakley 1994–1997
Greg Anthony 1994–1995
Anthony Bonner 1994–1995
Herb Williams 1994–1995
Monty Williams 1994–1995
Doc Rivers 1994
Charlie Ward 1994–1997
Doug Christie 1994–1995
Ron Grandison 1994-1996
Greg Kite 1994–1995
Gary Grant 1995–1996
Brad Lohaus 1995–1996
Willie Anderson 1995–1996
Matt Fish 1995–1996
Scott Brooks 1996–1997
Chris Childs 1996–1997
Allan Houston 1996–1997
Larry Johnson 1996–1997
Buck Williams 1996–1997
Walter McCarty 1996–1997
Chris Jent 1996–1997
First, I think we can rule out the handful of white guys that played on the team since I believe it would have been noted explicitly in the lyrics if this dude was white. Next, I'd eliminate Ewing, Oakley and Mason. Mostly, because they are all too tall, but also because I think this situation ends with a murder if Oak or Mase are involved. Also, Rita Ewing ain't playing like that if it's going to jeopardize her settlement in the divorce. The Ewings also lived in New Jersey. Third, I'd tend toward knocking the older players like Herb Williams and Buck Williams from the list as they're likely married to women too old to end up in bed with a young rapper who they met at a club. Those veterans also probably would have had kids in the house. The next to go would be the itinerant players who only had a cup of coffee with the team during that span. Please move along Gary Grant, J.R. Reid, Greg Kite, Ron Grandison and company. After removing all those guys we're left with a group of young players and a few veterans, that includes Starks, Childs, Davis, Bonner, Ward, Christie, Houston and McCarty.
Of these candidates, I'd think that the religious Houston and Ward would have quoted scripture when faced with such a situation and that Biggie would have mocked them for it. More importantly perhaps, those Christian brothers didn't arrive in town until the very end of the window during which the song could have been written. Same goes for LJ (who is probably closer to being 6'5" then whatever he was listed as during his playing days), Bonner, Childs and McCarty. So I'm going to say that they weren't in town long enough to qualify. Elementary, my dear Diddy.
That leaves us with three likeliest candidates: Davis, Starks and Christie. Davis and Starks are both listed at 6 feet and 5 inches tall while Christie is just an inch taller. They all fit the bill. It's possible that Starks' nightmarish 1994 NBA Finals was brought about by having been "robbed" by Smalls at his home, and the former grocery store clerk does seem like the type that might have kept his money stashed in bags rather than banks. Of course, I see Starks opting for a plastic bag if given the "Prada or plastic?" choice. Now, knowing what we now know about Christie's wife, Jackie, he seems a darkhorse candidate. Lastly, Davis is the college-educated All-American sort that seems a candidate to have a Prada bag and to not stand up for himself. Such measured cowardice is the wise play, of course, which is why it may potentially rule out Starks. This a complicated case with a lot of ins, outs and what have you. Among the many unsolved mysteries surrounding this fallen icon, is the identity of the player that begged Biggie not to shoot his ass.
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