Hypnotize (The Notorious B.I.G. song)

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For other uses, see Hypnotize (disambiguation).
Single by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Pamela Long from Total
from the album Life After Death
Released April 1, 1997 (1997-04-01)
Format CD single, CD maxi-single, cassette single, 7" single, 12-inch single
Recorded 1996
Genre G-Funk
Length 3:59 (CD single)
3:49 (Album version)
Writer(s) Christopher Wallace, Sean Combs, Deric Angelettie, Ron Lawrence, Andy Armer, Randy Alpert
Producer(s) D-Dot, Ron Lawrence, Sean "Puffy" Combs (co.)
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Pamela Long from Total singles chronology
"Only You"
"Mo Money Mo Problems"
Music video
"Hypnotize" on YouTube

"Hypnotize" is the Grammy-nominated hip-hop song recorded by American rapper The Notorious B.I.G. It was released as the first single from his album Life After Death on April 1, 1997. It was the fifth song by a credited artist to hit number 1 posthumously. It was ranked number 30 on Rolling Stone’s 50 greatest rap songs of all time.


P. Diddy (known then as Puff Daddy) produced "Hyponotize" and sampled the beat from Herb Alpert's 1979 hit "Rise" which was written by Andy Armer and Herb's nephew, Randy "Badazz" Alpert.[1] Randy recalled, "I asked Puffy, in 1996 when he first called me concerning using 'Rise' for 'Hypnotize,' why he chose the 'Rise' groove. He told me that in the summer of 1979 when he was I think 10 years old the song was a huge hit everywhere in New York and 'Rise' along with Chic's 'Good Times' were 'the songs' that all the kids were dancing and roller skating to that summer. He had always remembered that summer and that song. When he first played the loop for Biggie, (he said that) Biggie smiled and hugged him."[2]

Randy continued, "Over the years I was approached by Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Vanilla Ice, and maybe another 4-5 artists to use the song and I never said 'yes' until I heard a rough version of Biggie's recording produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs, D-Dot, and Ron Lawrence. I was sent a cassette from Puffy and when I cranked it up I not only immediately loved it but my gut thought that this could be a #1 record once again. The original 'Rise' record climbed the chart all summer and became #1 around the end of October; Biggie's version was released and charted its first week at #2 and went to #1 the second week."[2]

As for the chorus, or "hook", the melody and phrasing is interpolated from a lyrical section of Slick Rick's song, "La Di Da Di" and it is also from these lyrics that the title "Hypnotize" is derived. Pamela Long from the group Total sang this part.[1]

The song features many pop culture references to television and film including Star Wars, Roots, Starsky and Hutch, King of New York, comics/cartoon character Richie Rich, children's clothing Underoos, and the pop hit "Da Doo Ron Ron" by The Crystals. Other references include popular fashion lines Versace, DKNY, Moschino and Coogi.

More recently, the song served as the theme song to the 2009 motion picture Notorious, based on Biggie's life.


The song was already a hit on U.S. radio stations before its release. Once the single was issued, "Hypnotize" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number two, right behind labelmate and co-writer/co-producer Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs ("Can't Nobody Hold Me Down"). When "Hypnotize" reached number one two weeks later, it made The Notorious B.I.G. the fifth artist in Hot 100 history to have a posthumous chart-topper (see List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones). It also gave back-to-back number-one hits to Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records label. It was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards but it lost out to "Men in Black" by Will Smith. The single reached number 10 in the UK, making this his first top 10 hit in that country.

Music video[edit]

The music video was filmed in Los Angeles, California in February 1997, a month before The Notorious B.I.G.'s death. Directed by Paul Hunter, the video starts off with the caption: Florida Keys 5:47 pm, with B.I.G. and Puff Daddy hanging out on a yacht with some ladies when a bunch of helicopters disrupt their party and attempt to capture them. It then cuts to B.I.G. and Puff Daddy in an underground parking lot, where they spot a black Hummer and a group of men dressed in black riding motorcycles, and attempt to get away from them by driving their vehicle in reverse while in the streets. It cuts to an upscale party that's set underwater, where mermaids can be seen through the windows, and it ends with B.I.G. and Puff Daddy escaping the helicopters. Intercut throughout the video are scenes of B.I.G. and Puff Daddy behind a sepia background with some female dancers and B.I.G. dancing behind a black background while pieces of the chorus are captioned below.

Single tracklist[edit]

  1. "Hypnotize" (Radio Mix) – 4:05
  2. "Hypnotize" (Instrumental) – 3:59
  3. "Hypnotize" (Album Version) – 5:32[3]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[5] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[6] Platinum 1,200,000[7]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Liner Notes, Liner notes from both Life After Death as well as Hypnotize reference this sample.
  2. ^ a b Quoting Randy Alpert from personal interview,.
  3. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved August 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  5. ^ "British single certifications – Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Hypnotize in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  6. ^ "American single certifications – Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  7. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard (BPI Communications Inc.) 110 (5): 76. January 31, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
Preceded by
"Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" by Puff Daddy featuring Mase
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 3, 1997 – May 17, 1997 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"MMMBop" by Hanson