Earlier this year, The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming just the seventh hip-hop artist ever to do so. While the pandemic may have stifled that news somewhat thanks to the official induction ceremony getting postponed as a safety precaution, Biggie’s accomplishment is being celebrated in other ways. In May, Statik Selektah shared an “unreleased” Biggie verse on Instagram, while the rapper’s “King Of New York” crown was auctioned off for close to a whopping half-a-million dollars.
Today, another piece of Biggie pop culture ephemera gets immortalized as Pepsi unveils its new ad featuring a rare, in-studio freestyle from 1997, set to colorful animation celebrating the rapper’s hometown. As Biggie raps about the virtues of Pepsi — clearly one of his favorite soft drinks, judging from the lyrics — a boombox blasts his words out into the New York streets as locals go about their day-to-day interactions, grabbing egg sandwiches from the bodega and dancing on the corner. The verse was recorded at the legendary D&D Studios as Biggie and DJ Enuff worked on tracks.
Pepsi’s bond with hip-hop is strong, as the brand continues to employ rappers as its spokespeople. Cardi B has appeared in multiple ads for the brand, while Missy Elliott remixed The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” for their 2020 Super Bowl ad. Biggie’s legacy is in good hands, especially since he rapped about how much he liked it long before rappers were receiving massive checks for doing so.
Watch Pepsi’s new ad above.