Froback Friday is a weekly feature of a music video from the platinum age of hip hop. 1998-2003, when rap was truly crossing over into the mainstream and I was regularly attending middle school dances.
There was a period of about five years, which almost perfectly coincides with the range of this column (though in this case, about a year early), where Biggie and Tupac verses would just show up on songs. A lot of songs. Pac had like six albums and a bunch of singles popping off years after his death and even Biggie’s Life After Death came out just after he was murdered. Biggie had Born Again in 1999 and the cut-and-paste Duets in 2005, a full eight and a half years following his departure, which still spawned off a couple charting singles. B.I.G. also appeared a few times on Puff Daddy & the Family’s No Way Out album in mid-1997, including on a remix to “All About the Benjamins,” which was on a DJ Clue mixtape without the Lil’ Kim or Notorious verses.
The third single for Puff, it may very well be the greatest song of all time. He raps about pasta and getting grants like Horace, before he’s interrupted by an unremarkable Jadakiss verse that bleeped out the word “Hebrews” from the line, “Stack chips like Hebrews.” Sheek Louch turns listeners into dreamers by “tryina cop those colossal size Picassos.” Lil’ Kim has one of her best verses ever, which is saying something, before the beat switches from a Love Unlimited sample to a Jackson 5 one for Big’s final verse. It hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was given new life in 2002 for the Ice Cube and Mike Epps masterpiece All About the Benjamins. The video takes place in a green-lit cabaret room and also near a forest-enclosed quarry, where the (male, living) rappers are either running toward or away from a cult rave party. If you’re not inspired to amass numerous hundred dollar bills after seeing this, feel free to go back to the Soviet Union.