22 year-old Joey Bada$$ was just a toddler when The Notorious B.I.G. passed away two decades ago. Still he credits the late great King of New York as one of his greatest inspirations. Even as a uber youngin, Joey recognized great music.

“I even told Puff, when I was a baby bro, Big was that person who gravitated me towards hip-hop. I’m from Brooklyn too and my mom was a hip-hop listener. Anytime I would see him on the TV, ‘Juicy’ and ‘Hypnotized’ were my joints. I would run to the TV and just stand there and be amazed. I’d be [very close to the TV] and just watch the joint. Inspired at such a young age. Big is the reason I picked up the pen. He’s the reason I started getting poetic. I was watching Big on TV. I would love his songs when it came on. He stood out to me.”

As Joey got a little older, around six, Biggie’s classics still had all of his heart and mind. He even incorporated the King of New York into his school work.

“Then when I went to first grade, I was introduced into poetry,” he added. “I was like ‘Oh! This what he be doing.’ It was from poetry to Big. From there, my poetry was always raps. I always won the poetry slams because of the structure and everything. I’m definitely a Christopher Wallace understudy.”

Over the years, obviously Joey has gotten older and his comprehension of the music has gotten greater.

“Ready to Die, what connected that CD to me as a child was that it was a child on the cover,” he recollected. “So immediately to me it was like ‘this is for me. That [kid on the cover is] just like me. As a kid I was making these different connections. Listening to it now as a adult, when I went back a few years ago in my high school years, I was re-inspired all over again. It’s like when you watch movie when you younger. You don’t fully get everything. You come back as a adult and be like ‘ohhhh.’ It was the same thing with music especially Big’s music. Pac’s music.”