Sam Samuelson of AllMusic gave the album 3 stars out of 5, calling it "a treasure that should be cherished by hip-hop fans the world over." Todd Inoue of Metro Silicon Valley said, "Charizma sounds like MC Shan blessed with youthful lung capacity while PB Wolf makes like Marley Marl programming beats in DJ Premier's lab." Ross Hogg of XLR8R said, "Charizma's voice brims with eagerness, enthusiasm and earnestness; Wolf's textured, jazzy beats epitomize boom bap and are a sign of great things to come."
Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club said, "while Big Shots is one of those charmed debuts where nearly every song sounds like a terrific single, it wouldn't be without Wolf, whose gorgeously constructed tracks, flawless ear for melody, and extensive sonic quotations anticipate Madlib." Rachel Swan of East Bay Express said, "had Charizma not been shot and killed in '93, he might've turned into another Pharoahe Monch or J-Live."
East Bay Express named it one of the best local albums of 2003. In 2007, The A.V. Club listed it on the "10 Unjustly Overlooked Hip-Hop Classics" list.