What Does The Notorious B.I.G. Stand For?
Many people have wondered what the acronym B.I.G. stands, so let’s break it down. First let’s unpack the first part of his name, “notorious”, let’s look at the Merriam-Webster’s definition (theirs was the most positively framed)
no·to·ri·ous | \nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs, nə-\
Definition of notorious
: generally known and talked of
iron is a notorious conductor of heat
— Lewis Mumford
especially : widely and unfavorably known
a notorious gangster
an area notorious for soot, smog, and dust
The explanation of the meaning fits well with his rap name, meaning someone who stands out from the crowd. Someone noteworthy for their skills (rapping), but it could also apply to his large size making him noticable.
The second explanation could apply to his reputation as a drug dealer, meaning that he was looked upon as unfavorable during his teenage years prior to his rap career. As Biggie rapped on “Juicy”, “Uh, damn right I like the life I live / 'Cause I went from negative to positive / And it's all… (It's all good, nigga)”.
But What Does B.I.G. Stand For?
B.I.G. is a pronouncable acronym, which can easily be said as a word (unlike FBI, LAPD, NYPD, YMCA, NYC etc). In many cases a acronym can have several meanings. In Biggie’s case the meaning has changed over the years and also depends on who you ask as you will see.
Biggie has stated that B.I.G. stands for “Business Instead of Game”. This could be a variation of “money over bitches”.
If you want a deeper analysis you might want to watch the documentary Notorious B.I.G.: Business Instead of Game Unauthorized.
What Else Does B.I.G. Stand For?
On Live at MTV's "The Grind" in 1995, Biggie stated that the meaning had changed from “Business Instead of Game” to “Bullet In the Gut”. The meaning here is up for discussion as it seems somewhat unclear what that could mean. One explanation could be that he now (in 1995) had to defend himself more than before with his increased riches and the coast wars. He could be saying don’t ‘eff with me unless you want a “bullet in the gut”.
It could also mean that he is amazing an emcee who murders his competition with a metaphorical “bullet in the gut”.
What Does Biggie’s Mom Say That It Stands For?
Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace, is a pre-school teacher, and she says B.I.G. stands for “Books Instead of Guns”. This makes sense because Biggie was a very talented student in English class, he had a real talent for language.
His mom now holds a annual charity event called “B.I.G. Night Out” through The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. This great event raises funds for children's school equipment and supplies and honors the memory of the late rapper.