It’s not often that you can mark the exact moment a cultural phenomenon was born, but hip-hop, true to form, isn’t like anything else. Legend has it that on August 11, 1973 in a quiet apartment building in The Bronx, DJ Kool Herc lit a spark that would set the music industry ablaze. Flash forward two decades and another New York native, who loved it when you called him Big Poppa, would take those foundations and shake them them to their very core. The short but blinding career of Christopher Wallace, otherwise known as The Notorious B.I.G., is the stuff of music folklore and fittingly, a familiar name is paying tribute to hip-hop’s greatest wordsmith.
Pepsi’s 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Pepsi MAX has announced a new partnership and international campaign that ‘honours and amplifies the legacy’ of the late Biggie Smalls. Working closely with The Notorious B.I.G. estate, Pepsi MAX is planning to bring hits like ‘Juicy’, ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ and ‘The World Is Filled’ to a new generation.
According to the global brand, the immersive campaign will connect Biggie’s unique personality, style, and lyrical flow with the sounds of today, through Pepsi’s ‘Thirsty For More’ philosophy. That means you can expect “disruptive virtual and physical experiences”, alongside a series of street art activations across major cities worldwide to limited edition Pepsi MAX cans. According to the late rapper’s mother and founder of the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, Ms. Voletta Wallace, the new collab is an opportunity to celebrate Biggie’s unique artisty.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and its cultural impact on our world, we’re excited to honour Christopher’s legacy and continue bringing his music to a new generation of fans,” Ms. Wallace said. “While his art is timeless, we’ve been working with Pepsi to commemorate my son’s artistry and connect his music with the sounds and artists of today. We hope fans will enjoy it as much as we do.”
Pepsi x The Notorious B.I.G.
While Pepsi’s influence might seem a little out of left-field, the beverage brand has a long-standing connection to the underground music and entertainment scene, and in recent years has immersed itself in the rap game. In 2023, Pepsi made global headlines for sponsoring the Superbowl LVI Halftime show, which included performances from Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and frequent Biggie collaborator Mary J. Blige. Somewhat remarkably, however, the Pepsi x The Notorious B.I.G. link goes back even further.
In 2020, an old Biggie freestyle was unearthed that highlighted the then 23-year-old rap prodigy’s love for Pepsi. Recorded way back in 1997, the track features Biggie describing the soda in trademark, buttery-smooth flow.
Nothing can beat the P-E-P-S-I, yes I drink it constantly
Something ’bout the taste feels great, less filling
Tell ’em Biggie said to drink it all, don’t test me
Nothing else beats a Pepsi
If it is, let’s see. I’m thirsty.The Notorious B.I.G. – Freestyle 1997
Biggie Smalls Pepsi Freestyle
Rap fans will remember the track was remastered and released as part of Pepsi’s tribute to Biggie when he was posthumously inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This new campaign marks the next step in the collaborative efforts between The Notorious B.I.G. estate and Pepsi to revive the music of arguably hip-hop’s most important voice.
“In this pivotal year of music, hip-hop cannot be discussed without my dad,” CJ Wallace, son of Christopher Wallace and founder of Frank White, a lifestyle brand and creative studio at the intersection of black culture, creativity, and advocacy added. “My dad is synonymous with rap, and his influence is unmatched. Taking one of his most well-kept secret flows out of the vault and working directly with Pepsi, the brand he cites is pretty dope.”
Pepsi has kept its cards pretty close to its chest regarding what is still to come, stating only that “2023 is about to get B.I.G.”. You can check out more about Pepsi’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, along with the new campaign with The Notorious B.I.G. estate at PepsiGlobal’s Instagram and Facebook.
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