Let this fat-shaming negative review of a classic “Yiggie Smalls” video be a teachable moment.
Artists often tell us that they don’t care about reviews, but they’re lying. They absolutely care about reviews. Especially negative reviews. Here’s the thing about all reviews, though: they don’t fucking matter. At all.
For proof, let’s travel back to March 17, 1995, the day The Boston Globe published “Fat Chance,” a scathing, 150-word review of The Notorious B.I.G.’s Hype Williams and Puff Daddy co-directed “Big Poppa” video, which earned a whopping “zero stars.”
Written by Renee Graham, who has incredibly withstood the test of time and the implosion of the newspaper business and is still writing columns at The Boston Globe, the short critique not only mocks Biggie’s raps (“Smalls spews one of those dreadful raps reducing women to ornaments/semen receptacles.”), his weight (“Somebody give this guy a reality check and a membership to Jenny Craig.”) and even the way he walks (“He moves (well waddles) through a crowded club…”), but the paper printed his rap alias as “Yiggie Smalls.”
While the full-text version of the review is unavailable online unless you have a subscription to The Boston Globe, late last week, writer Christopher Pierznik tweeted a clipping of the review after he found it inside of a used book.
Similar to some classic internet hating on Biggie’s “Juicy,” Graham’s indictment of the legendary emcee, his material and the video was delivered through the lens of a non-hip-hop scribe.
In addition to being one of, if not, the most iconic songs in his tragically abbreviated catalog, “Big Poppa” peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, earned Platinum certification within six months of its December 1994 release, and found a home on Biggie’s acclaimed debut, Ready to Die, which has since been certified 4x Platinum.
Oh, and the video is fucking awesome.
So, artists, the next time Pitchfork hands out a 5.8 review of your new EP or The Source only give you two mics—wait, does The Source still exist?—just remember that The Notorious B.I.G., arguably the greatest emcee of all-time, once released a video that earned “zero stars.”