March 9th, 1997 was a day that would change hip hop as we know it. I can still remember what I had on and what I was doing when I heard the horrific news come across my radio in Queens N.Y. Twenty years later we still mourn the loss of the late great rapper, Notorious B.I.G.
I remember sitting at the table in the kitchen of my home in Queens when the news broke. I remember feeling a sense of hopelessness and pain when they announced the passing of one of hip hops legends. Biggie shaped the lives of so many people through his words and lyrics. He gave hope to every young soul in the hoods of Brooklyn; that if he could make it out, anybody could. After the passing of this great legend, we still celebrate him and his music to this day. I play Biggie at least once a day in my car, and while his music lives on, so does his legacy.
I went back home last week coincidentally the same time as the passing of this rap legend. I couldn’t leave the city without doing a photoshoot in honor of his legacy. When I thought about what I would discuss in my next blog post, I thought discussing the word legacy was completely necessary. I thought to myself, “When I die, I want my legacy to stay alive like Biggie.” How is it that twenty years later people can still can honor someone for his contributions to music? You can hear a Biggie song on every radio airway across America on March 9th. The Barclays Center even (Home of the Brooklyn Nets) paid tribute to the late rapper by unveiling a number 72 jersey banner in his honor. Diddy did the honors of hosting this memory in his honor last week at the Nets game. How cool is it for that the late Brooklyn native will forever hang in his city?
When you think about legacy, what do it mean to you? Are you living to leave a positive imprint on the world, or are you simply living? When I think about legacy, I think that I am working to leave my footprint on the “sky”. Each day, as I embark on this journey called life, I try to leave what I’ve learned and not earned. The older I get, the more I realize that legacy isn’t always about wealth, but it’s about your body of work that you will leave behind when you’re gone.
See, I always try to remember how I want my life to touch others. My body of work goes far beyond my selfish desires, but how it can improve the world as I know it. I often ask myself how can I increase the well-being of those who depend on me. On this day, I challenge you to begin conditioning your legacy. Identify what matters, what your values are, and what makes you proud. Develop what I like to call your “legacy will.” When I look at people like Biggie Smalls, I realize your legacy is what truly defines you. Your body of work will always supersede your past when it has shaped the lives of others. It’s never too soon to start your legacy, pursuing both purpose and significance. So, what will your legacy be?