It feels like it’s been ages since Christopher Wallace left us, yet his influence is still very prevalent in hip-hop and the world at large. Most recently, we’ve heard his voice on the (arguably wack) Biggie Duets project, seen him on the big screen in the film Notorious, and heard new life breathed into an old verse on the very recent “Angels” by Dirty Money. Charlie Kubal, 24, (recording under the name “wait what”) capably adds a fresh perspective to your Biggie memories with his project, The Notorious XX, which mixes classic Notorious B.I.G. joints with the unique production style of wait what (Kubal). From the intro, a mix of “Dead Wrong” with a surprisingly-contrasting (but it works), almost ethereal backdrop, you know you’re about to get into some next-level sh*t. It’s different without being pretensious and it pays homage while adding in a completely fresh sound. The Notorious XX adds and does not subtract, sparks nostalgia while inspiring one to spark other things while still being progressive, and delivers on all fronts.
“I’ve been a Biggie fan since I was eleven,” says Kubal, bringing up some of his own Biggie nostalgia. “I saw the video for Mo Money Mo Problems, and was hooked. I had a tape recorder that I held up to the screen and hit record when they started the video, so the first couple hundred times I heard the track it had the voiceover of Puffy at the golf tournament that they had in the video — I finally got the CD single, and had no idea before that that wasn’t actually part of the song”. Kubal is from San Francisco originally and attended Columbia, where he moonlighted producing and recording hip-hop. He’s currently inspired by a wide range of music from underground hip-hop to indie rock.