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9 Unexpected References of Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Ready to Die' in Pop Culture

Biggie's legendary record undoubtedly changed hip hop upon its September 1994 release. Take a look at all the surprising places it's popped up since 21 years after his death and continue honoring Notorious B.I.G. with our #WeMissYouBiggie tribute starting Friday at 9AM

1 / 9

'Hardball' (2001)

In 2001 film Hardball, Keanu Reeves plays Conor O'Neill who coaches a baseball team of troubled but lovable fifth graders. One of the coolest characters, Miles, has big love for Ready to Die single "Big Poppa" and sings it all throughout the flick in spite of its mature theme ("I see some ladies tonight and she'll be having my baby!"). 

Watch a Hardball scene above where Miles gets his pitching groove back after his team starts singing the Biggie classic. Unexpected? Yup. Heartwarming? Yes, that too.

20 years after his death, we're honoring Notorious B.I.G. with a musical tribute featuring his greatest hits. Join us for #WeMissYouBiggie starting Thursday morning at 9/8c on Fuse. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder.

2 / 9

Ashanti, "Foolish" (2002)

You need pretty big cajones to sample Biggie, with the likes of Jay ZKanye West and Nas sampling from Ready to Die in their careers. But it was a bold move for R&B newcomer Ashanti to drop her debut single "Foolish" in 2002 with elements of album cut "One More Chance" cooked inside.

Luckily for Ashanti, the bravery paid off: The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks, secured her a record-breaking debut album and made it cool for newcomers to utilize a little Biggie from the beginning.

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Gwen Stefani, "Luxurious" (2005)

"Big Poppa" was the second single off Ready to Die and Biggie's first Top 10 pop hit. The track features a sample of "Between the Sheets," originally done by The Isley Brothers, and made its slow-groove beat instantly recognizable to an entire generation. While hip hop stars like DiddyDrakeLil WayneDa Brat and more followed Biggie's lead in reinterpreting the beat, the most unexpected had to come from Gwen Stefani in 2005.

Likely looking to rouse the excitement that comes every time "Big Poppa" plays at a party, the No Doubt diva used that same iconic beat in her "Luxurious" single. It secured her fourth Top 40 hit and proved that Biggie was influencing even the biggest pop stars.

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Mindless Self Indulgence, "Shut Me Up" (2006)

Offbeat, electronic-rock outfit Mindless Self Indulgence included a cover of "Big Poppa" on the physical single of their 2006 release "Shut Me Up." 

Did you want to hear Biggie lyrics sung and screamed over an industrial synth-rock beat? Now you do. 

5 / 9

Girl Talk, "Smash Your Head" (2006)

On this 2006 mashup from his heralded Night Ripper album, DJ Girl Talk spliced together recent hits by Young JeezyLil WayneBeyoncé and more. And while the mashup mastermind is no stranger to offbeat pairings, Biggie rapping "Juicy" (Ready to Die's lead single) paired with Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" instrumental was possibly the most unexpectedly brilliant moment on Night Ripper.

6 / 9

'Superbad' (2007)

Ah yes, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera's high school quest to lose their virginity and unpopularity also had a B.I.G. reference. 

In one of Superbad's most hilarious (and most gross) moments, Hill gets his mack daddy on at a house party, grinding with a girl to "Big Poppa." Everything seems to be going super smooth—he even gets to cop a feel of the booty—before he realizes his dance partner left behind a, uh, present on his pants.

Luckily, the music to accompany the scene is really good.

7 / 9

Say Anything, "No Soul" (2007)

Similar to how the beat on Gwen Stefani's "Luxurious" paid tribute to "Big Poppa," beloved indie-rock outfit Say Anything utilized a sample made famous from "Juicy." Showing that Biggie's influence knows no genre border, the female voice we hear towards the end of their 2007 track "No Soul" was also heard in the B.I.G. single.  

For those looking for the history of the sample: The original vocals appear on early-'80s funk song "Juicy Fruit" by soul act Mtume.

8 / 9

'Born Ready to Die' Mixtape (2012)

To honor the 15th anniversary of Biggie's death in 2012, DJ/mixtape composer Terry Urban crafted the Born Ready to Die mixtape pairing instrumentals and occasional vocals from Lana Del Rey's Born to Die album with raps from Ready to Die

The results are mysterious, dark and rather incredible, making for a surprisingly cohesive record that still sounds fresh today. Listen to a mashup of "Juicy" and Lana's album cut "Lolita." Could Lana have been a Biggie collaborator if he were still with us? This mix makes us think quite possibly...

9 / 9

Taco Bell's "Grande Papi" Commercial (2014)

Yup, even Taco Bell has referenced the iconic rap album.

In a 2014 commercial to promote the "big daddy of all burritos," their Cantina steak burrito, a father walks outside with his infant daughter strapped to his chest, much to the delight of the attractive women around him. A Spanish cover of Biggie's "Big Poppa" plays in the background using "grande papi" instead of the original "big poppa." 

The commercial connection is a bit of a stretch, but we'll never say no to hearing the "Big Poppa" beat.

20 years after his death, we're honoring Notorious B.I.G. with a musical tribute featuring his greatest hits. Join us for #WeMissYouBiggie starting Thursday morning at 9/8c on Fuse. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder.

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