In print from 1987 to 2012, Word Up! was an iconic teen magazine that focused heavily on Hip Hop, and was even shouted out by Biggie on his 1994 hit “Juicy,” where he rapped: “It was all a dream; I used to read ‘Word Up!’ magazine.”
Bringing things full circle, the late rapper’s estate and beer giant — who announced a partnership back in 2021 — revealed on Wednesday (August 9) that they will be tag-teaming a limited edition revival of the magazine.
Drawing parallels to the lyrics from the Ready to Die track, the issue will “share innumerable stories of grit and resilience exemplified by Biggie himself, as well as his lasting legacy that continues to inspire Hip Hop artists to this day,” according to a press release.
The drop will include an opening verse from Biggie’s mother, Ms. Voletta Wallace, as well as excerpts from industry veterans like Word Up!‘s founding Editor-in-Chief Gerrie Summers. It will also feature handwritten lyrics, rare photos, personal memorabilia and untold stories about The Notorious B.I.G. that showcase his lasting impact.
The collectible mag will be released on September 13 to coincide with the 29th anniversary of Ready to Die, with 5,000 copies being available at select locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago.
Fans will also be able to view a digital copy here.
The news comes fresh on the heels of another major deal with The Notorious B.I.G.’s family, who last month struck a partnership with Pepsi.
Per AdWeek, the soda company’s campaign aims to “bring the artist’s music to life through both virtual and physical experiences and events.” This includes art installations in major cities around the world as well as limited-edition cans featuring the late rap legend’s image.
Pepsi also re-released a 1997 Biggie freestyle where he mentions the brand. The song was previously unearthed in 2020 after being lost for decades.
“Nothing can beat the P-E-P-S-I, yes I drink it constantly/ Something ’bout the taste feels great, less filling,” he raps on the track. “Tell ’em Biggie said to drink it all, don’t test me/ Nothing else beats a Pepsi / If it is, let’s see/ I’m thirsty.”
In a statement about the partnership, Biggie’s mom Voletta Wallace, said: “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and its cultural impact on our world, we’re excited to honor Christopher’s legacy and continue bringing his music to a new generation of fans.
“While his art is timeless, we’ve been working with Pepsi to commemorate my son’s artistry and connect his music with the sounds and artists of today. We hope fans will enjoy it as much as we do.”
Meanwhile, it was also recently announced that Biggie’s son CJ Wallace had partnered with TIME Studios for a new documentary chronicling his father’s life. Understanding Christopher Wallace will provide an intimate look at the life of one of the greatest rappers of all time from the perspective of the son who never got the chance to know him.