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The Notorious B.I.G. & “Ready To Die”

“THROWBACK REWIND SERIES”

On March 9, 1997 The Notorious B.I.G. left the world with 2 children, an ex-wife, friends, family and a millions of fans after a fatal shooting in California. Roughly three years prior on September 13, 1994 Biggie Smalls debut album “Ready To Die” hit stores and he instantly gained a following worldwide. Some call him the greatest of all-time, some have him as one of the top 5 mc’s dead or Live, some even feel he is overrated. However regardless of your thoughts about Biggie’s legacy, “Ready To Die” is an album that plays out like a classic gangster flick with melodramatic themes sprinkled throughout.

Ready To Die isn’t all dark, there are a few light-hearted tracks throughout the album, one being the classic track “Juicy”. For some the high dosage of an overall gloomy overcast on the album may be a turn off, however just like we can enjoy a good comedy, we can enjoy a gritty rags to riches story with vivid lyricism. The Notorious B.I.G.’s many lyrical talents include his knack for playing the role so to speak to perfection. By playing the role i mean in each song regardless of the subject matter you felt like you were seeing what he saw, feeling what he felt, and experiencing what he may have experienced. He had sort of a Jekyll and Hyde type ability in his raps where you would say to yourself did the same guy that just rapped xyz in this track, REALLY say abc in the next track.

Two perfect examples of Biggie showing his jekyll & Hyde type persona and his ability to go from the over weight lover to the robbery expert are on the track “Gimmie the Loot” and “Big Poppa”. On the latter the Brooklyn mc raps…

“Straight up honey really I’m askin
Most of these n*****z think they be mackin but they be actin
Who they attractin with that line, “What’s your name what’s your sign?”
Soon as he buy that wine I just creep up from behind
And ask what your interests are, who you be with
Things to make you smile, what numbers to dial
You gon’ be here for a while, I’m gon’ go call my crew
You go call your crew
We can rendezvous at the bar around two”

Then Biggie flips the script into the ruthless robbery expert on “Gimmie The Loot” where he raps…

“I wouldn’t give fuck if you’re pregnant
Give me the baby rings and a #1 MOM pendant
  I’m slamming n****z like Shaquille, shit is real
  When it’s time to eat a meal I rob and steal
  cause Mom Duke ain’t giving me shit
  so for the bread and butter I leave n****z in the gutter
  Huh, word to mother, I’m dangerous
  Crazier than a bag of fucking Angel Dust
  When I bust my gat mother*******s take dirt naps
  I’m all that and a dime sack, where the paper at?”

On the Easy Mo Bee produced “Warning” Biggie puts on full display his story telling ability; one of his many strengths as an mc. Biggie Smalls ability to draw you into the visuals of his raps and make you see what he’s rhyming about brings life the story.

On of the underlining themes of the entire album becomes apparent on the title track “Ready To Die”. On the track Biggie raps…

My shit is deep, deeper than my grave G
I’m ready to die and nobody can save me
Fuck the world, fuck my moms and my girl
My life is played out like a jheri curl, I’m ready to die

On the albums closeout track “Suicidal Thought” Biggie raps…

“All my life I been considered as the worst
Lyin’ to my mother, even stealin’ out her purse
Crime after crime, from drugs to extortion
I know my mother wished she got a fuckin’ abortion
She don’t even love me like she did when I was younger
Suckin’ on her chest just to stop my fuckin’ hunger
I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes?
Forgive me for my disrespect, forgive me for my lies
My babies’ mothers 8 months, her little sister’s 2
Who’s to blame for both of them (naw n****, not you)
I swear to God I just want to slit my wrists and end this bullshit
Throw the Magnum to my head, threaten to pull shit
And squeeze, until the bed’s, completely red
I’m glad I’m dead, a worthless fuckin’ buddah head
The stress is buildin’ up, I can’t,
I can’t believe suicide’s on my fuckin’ mind”

One the biggest reasons why Biggie had such a following is because he is one of those rare artist that excels at the extremes and all the in-betweens. Biggie could scare you like a classic Steven King novel or flip to the other extreme by romancing a women with smooth rhymes on a song. It was his ability to jump from song to song and give you the impression that he wasnt forcing the issue, It always seemed like the role he played on that particular song was what he was, like a great artist should be able to do. Not to say that he was portraying a false image to fool you on purpose, but more so that he used his talents and creative lyrical ability to not only entertain, but also make you feel and see the movie on beats. Now i dont want to make “Ready To Die” out to be a perfect album without flaws, i.e the track “friend of mine”, however what the album and Biggie Smalls represented was an artist that crafted a hiphop classic with flair, cleverness, wit, humor and a dark aura that allowed you into the mind of a man ready to die.  #HaitianJack

Score:  Ready To Die   (Released Sept 1994)

Bars: XXL  Beats:XXL   Music:XXL  Report Card :A+(Classic)

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Love Music!!!

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