The Notorious B.I.G. was known for being a braggadocious rapper in his music. But in real life with his friends, he was loved as a gentle giant. Toward the end of his life, he started having to use a cane to walk around, but maintained his classic Brooklyn swagger all the same.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s car accident with Lil’ Cease
In 1996, Biggie was involved in a car accident that left his leg permanently injured. After being checked into the hospital, doctors found he had serious respiratory problems that could have been fatal if he’d not received medical care. They put a metal rod put in his leg, and he ended up needing six months of physical therapy to be able to walk again.
The car was being driven by Biggie’s cousin and fellow rapper Lil’ Cease; Biggie rode as a passenger with his then-girlfriend, rapper Charli Baltimore. Biggie referenced the accident in the song “Long Kiss Goodnight” from his Life After Death album, released just two weeks after his death in 1997. “I used to be as strong as Ripple be / ‘Til Lil’ Cease crippled me,” he said.
Lil’ Cease spoke about the accident in a 2015 interview with VladTV. The day before the accident, Cease and Biggie were arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. When they were released, their Lexus truck wouldn’t start, and they wound up having to use a loaner car from the dealership with faulty brakes.
“We were turning around the corner [onto the expressway] and the s— just spun out of control; we crossed to the other side of the road and hit the rail,” Cease recalled. “And that’s how he f—ed up his leg.”
The Notorious B.I.G. tried to turn a negative experience into a positive
When asked about the line in “Long Kiss Goodnight” about the accident, Lil’ Cease admitted that he couldn’t even be mad about what Biggie said.
“I just had to laugh at it, man,” he smiled. “What am I gonna say? It was real! But that’s how Big was. You go through some real experiences with him, that’s what’s gonna happen. He’s going to rap about you when he feels like it.”
After Biggie was released from the hospital, he immediately got back into the studio to work on his iconic Life After Death album. But he still needed his cane to walk everywhere and decided to use that to his advantage.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s cane made an appearance in the ‘Hypnotize’ music video
Biggie needed his cane to hold himself up while filming the music video for “Hypnotize,” the lead single from his Life After Death album. The unplanned prop ended up making him look even more sophisticated as he wore his unforgettable white suit in the video.
“Hypnotize” was released in March 1997 just a week before his death. The song ended up becoming his first number-one single, with “Mo Money Mo Problems” repeating the same success.
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