Pepsi Repackages a Notorious B.I.G. Freestyle for Hip-Hop's 50th
"Whether too cold or too hot—you got to keep Pepsi in the freezer. I keep a three-liter for my crew. My girl like them diet drinks too. Other sodas taste the worst, I don't even converse, if you can't quench my thirst, what you in my fridge for?”
Brands have been parading a range of endorsements for hip-hop's 50th birthday this year—from rising stars to elder statesmen—but a new campaign from Pepsi marks perhaps the most notable entry yet: the one and only, The Notorious B.I.G.
Pepsi is promising to celebrate the rap icon and Brooklyn native, born Christopher Wallace, with a sweeping set of "disruptive virtual and physical experiences" that will bring his "music to life" and help reach new audiences. It will include street art in major cities as well as limited edition cans. The initiative opens with new visuals for a 1997 freestyle with Big Poppa singing the praises of his favorite pop (or so it seems).
The new ad pairs Biggie's crooning ode with a retro montage stitching together footage and stills of the rapper with shots of NYC—including the Brooklyn Bridge, graffiti-scrawled subways, and the street signs at the corner of Fulton & St. James, near where he grew up (and now officially named after him). Naturally, '90s Pepsi product shots abound.
It's not the brand's first time featuring the freestyle in an ad. In 2020, Pepsi created a similarly Biggie-and-Brooklyn-themed animated video to celebrate the rapper's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. According to DJ Enuff—who recorded Biggie performing the rap just weeks before his infamous 1997 murder in Los Angeles—it was always intended to be part of a commercial. Ultimately, it took over two decades for the stars to align.
Biggie's family and estate are participating enthusiastically in the new campaign. As his son C.J. Wallace says in a statement: "In this pivotal year of music, hip-hop cannot be discussed without my dad. My dad is synonymous with rap, and his influence is unmatched."
Truer words. Or, as Biggie himself rapped: "You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far."