This homemade clip of a 17 year-old Biggie Smalls battle-rapping on the streets of Brooklyn might be the best hip-hop video I've ever seen. (Runners-up include LL's acoustic, deoderant-enhanced "Mama Said Knock You Out" performance on MTV's unplugged and the 40+ year-old Big Daddy Kane's flip-to-split landing on this year's Hip-Hop Honors.)
Everything about this video makes my skin go bumpy: the bodega sign, the cheap-ass microphone, the guy in the background cooling his skull with a damp washcloth, and that skinny-looking Ralph Tresvant knock-off who will always have that amazing story about getting his MC ass handed to him by the fattest kid on his block. Plus, it's just amazing to see this young kid whose voice is already completely developed. That's Biggie Smalls, but small. It's so crazy.
I've heard a lot of Biggie freestyles on mix tapes and remixes that pop up here and there, and they're usually better than 99% of what makes it way on to other artists' greatest hits albums. But this one is just bananas. I have watched it again and again and again and I still feel like I'm witnessing something supernatural. (Thanks, Gothamist, for posting this before I did.)