Album Review | The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die

People have been requesting a Biggie Marathon pretty much ever since I first started doing them in 2015. I waited until I reached 500 followers on Twitter to do my 2Pac Marathon, so I figured it’d make sense to do this after reaching 1000 followers. I flew past that milestone a couple weeks ago, but here’s the thing: I’m not planning on covering any of the posthumous projects, nor am I interested in doing that first Junior M.A.F.I.A. project. Do people even consider that part of his discography? I don’t know… Anyway, since this isn’t really much of a marathon, I decided it’d only be fair to do a KRS-One Marathon after I cover Ready to Die & Life After Death. There are some tracks here and there from the posthumous records that I do enjoy to some extent, but as full length projects RTD & LAD are the only ones I’m interested in covering here. So yeah. The KRS-One Marathon will include all of the BDP albums, so stay tuned for that next Monday. Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that info out the way, let’s finally talk about Ready to Die…

This album was released on September 13th in the year of our lord 1994. Hip Hop purists and normies tend to put this project in the list of their top 5 Hip Hop albums ever. For me personally, I’d maybe have it in my top 5 albums of ’94. It would be either number 4 or number 5 though. I think Nas‘ Illmatic, UGK‘s Super Tight…, and Redman’s Dare Iz a Darkside are all better personally. I might even take the first Outkast album over this one too, but this is obviously still a must-listen project. I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s hard for me to really come up with anything to say in this preamble without kinda spoiling my thoughts on the album already since I first heard it years ago. I guess I’ll try to remember back to my first listen… I think I was probably a freshman in high school. I don’t think I’d ever really heard any of Biggie’s music before. I might have heard Juicy and Hypnotize, and probably Big Poppa. I don’t really know for sure though. All I knew was that old NY niggas wanted to slap me in the face any time I, a self-proclaimed Hip Hop fanatic, told them that I had never heard a Biggie album. I kinda get it to be honest. Like, yeah, obviously when you’re a certain age there’s a ton of stuff you have to go out of your way to expose yourself to since it came out before you were even born. However, I personally understand why you wouldn’t be inclined to discuss music with someone like that. I mean, maybe that’s a bit of an extreme statement. I’ll just put it like this: certain people’s musical opinions and views hold more weight than others. If you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about, people are gonna be less inclined to talk to you than someone who can match their level of experience. It’s like when you’re speaking to someone who actually goes out of their way to figure out what’s going on in the world vs. speaking to someone who gets all their news from CNN. They’re just not gonna be able to offer as much of a balanced, nuanced perspective. Why am I even talking about this? Let me quit dickin’ around and actually talk about the music…

As always, I’ll cover the material I actually enjoy before discussing the tracks I don’t care for. The album begins with a pretty cinematic sounding Intro skit in which we get to hear the reenacted birth of Christopher Wallace, followed by different audio clips of what are supposed to be different points of his life in chronological order. It’s cool to hear the classic Hip Hop singles playing from the radio or cassette deck in the background of each scene. Well, first Super Fly by Curtis Mayfield was playing, but then we get Rapper’s Delight, then Top Billin’, and then Tha Shiznit, so that’s pretty cool. I actually think it’s a pretty good intro personally. The ending with him getting out of jail and saying he’s got big plans is iconic. Well, I think it’s iconic. Maybe it isn’t. It’s definitely very memorable to me personally though. It’s a bit long for an intro skit, but that’s really just a nitpick. It’s dope. The first actual song is entitled Things Done Changed. Just from the title alone, you can see how that ties into him just getting out of jail right at the start of the record. I think the production here from Darnell Scott is really dope. That drum break from The Main Ingredient that kicks the track off is iconic. I do really like how tense this beat sounds too. The opening verse from Biggie is of course very dope. I think he does a really fantastic job at describing life around his hood in his younger days, and the way he moves forward to the more modern period of his life is nice.

Turn your pages to 1993
Niggas is getting smoked, G, believe me
Talk slick, you get your neck slit quick
'Cause real street niggas ain't having that shit
Totin' TECs for rep, smoking blunts in the project hallways
Shooting dice all day
Waitin' for niggas to step up on some fightin' shit
We get hype and shit and start lightin' shit

I don’t think the verse is mindblowing or anything, but it’s just really well-written and performed. The samples that are flipped for the break between each verse aren’t really that interesting to me personally, but I don’t mind them. However, whenever they come on I just find myself feeling impatient because I’d rather just hear Biggie’s verses. Anyway, I think the second verse is way better than the first one to be honest. He was rhyming his ass off.

No more coco-levio one, two, three
One, two, three, all it is to me is a mystery
I hear you motherfuckers talk about it
But I stay seeing bodies with the motherfuckin' chalk around it
And I'm down with the shit, too
For the stupid motherfuckers want to try to use Kung-Fu
Instead of a MAC-10, he tried scrappin'
Slugs in his back and that's what the fuck happens

He fuckin’ spazzed here. I feel like this track sets the tone for the rest of the album perfectly. You know exactly what kind of artist Biggie is as soon as your hear this track. The song is hard as fuck.

Back in the days our parents used to take care of us
Look at 'em now, they even fuckin' scared of us
Calling the city for help because they can't maintain
Damn, shit done changed

The third verse is my favorite part of the whole song. I just feel like this track encapsulates the entire theme of the album, which to me is the everyday struggle of trying to cope with stress and hardship. Yes, I said that. Fuck you, I don’t care if it was corny.

Goin' out of town, blowing up
Six months later, all the dead bodies showing up
It make me wanna grab the nine and the shotty
But I gotta go identify the body
Damn, what happened to the summertime cookouts?
Every time I turn around, a nigga gettin' took out
Shit, my mama got cancer in her breast
Don't ask me why I'm motherfucking stressed
Things done changed

The song is dope af to me. It’s followed by one of the most iconic songs Biggie ever made, Gimme the Loot. I think this track is even better than Things Done Changed. The production from Easy Mo Bee is iconic—I’m gonna be using that word a lot in this review by the way. I love how aggressive and bloodthirsty Biggie’s performance here is. The way he was rapping as himself as well as from the perspective of his own friend was awesome. I love how he was going back and forth with himself. I can’t really tell whether or not he was just reaching into a higher register in his voice or he was using a voice synthesizer. If I had to guess I would say it was the latter, but either way I think it sounds awesome. Honestly, it almost sounded a little bit like ODB to me at certain points. Like, when he yelled, “nigga, you ain’t got to explain shit!” that sounded a lot like Dirt in my opinion. The following line in which he said he’s been robbing people since slave ships was dope to me. I mean, yeah, it is kinda morbid, but the way he kinda referenced how black people were literally robbed from their own land and enslaved was clever. That might have been unintentional though. I don’t know. I could be reaching. Whether it was intentional or not, the connection is still there, so I fuck with it.

The nigga play pussy
That's the nigga that's gettin' screwed
And bruised up from the pistol whippin'
Welts on the neck from the necklace strippin'
Then I'm dippin' up the block and I'm robbin' bitches, too
Up the herringbones and bamboos
I wouldn't give a fuck if you're pregnant
Give me the baby rings and the #1 Mom pendant

The first verse is hard as fuck, and the hook is fire too. I love the way that Scenario sample is incorporated, and the scratches from Mister Cee are fantastic. That line in the second verse about showing up to someone’s wake with their blood on his shirt is cold as fuck. The third verse is fire too. I’d say overall the first verse might actually be my favorite one on the song, but I don’t even really know about that. All of the verses on this track are essential. Also, the little outro skit in which Biggie takes a hit of some weed and then coughs disgustingly hard is hilarious to me. I don’t know why whenever I’m shmoking with someone and they cough really hard it makes me laugh. It’s just funny to me. Anyway, the song is obviously dope af. I think it’s a perfect track. It’s followed by yet another major highlight entitled Machine Gun Funk. I don’t think this one is anywhere near as iconic, but it’s one of my personal favorites. I think Easy Mo Bee’s production here is phenomenal. In the opening verse, Biggie pretty much begins by saying the same things that Billie Eilish got a fuck ton of backlash for earlier this year, which is basically that a lot of rappers are lying about the shit they rap about. Obviously it’s easier to take seriously when Biggie is the messenger, so I kinda get it. Anyway, the verse itself has a super smooth flow as always, and I really love the hook on this one. From what I understand, the original version of the album had an uncleared Parliament sample. I’m covering the remastered anniversary version though. I don’t know if I’ve heard the original one, but I’m happy with this version. I think the second verse is even better than the first one.

I'm doin' rhymes now, fuck the crimes now
Come on the Ave, I'm real hard to find now
'Cause I'm knee-deep in the beats
In the Land Cruiser Jeep with the MAC-10 by the seats

I like how they censored “blue suits” with the sound of police sirens. That was cool. The third verse is easily my favorite part of the track though. The part where Biggie sings Nina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do with It? has always sounded surprisingly great to me. I think it’s just the way it matched the beat perfectly. The whole verse is just awesome. He sounds cool as hell. The song isn’t as unique or creative as a track like Gimme the Loot, but it’s just super well done in my opinion. I think it’s dope af. The following track is entitled Warning.

This song is relatively popular, but it’s never really been one of my favorites personally. I mean, I still love it, but I feel like most Biggie fans love it even more than I do. Maybe I’m mistaken though. I don’t know. I think Biggie’s performance here is fantastic. I just don’t really think Easy Mo Bee’s production here is on par with some of the other highlights on the record. It’s not a bad instrumental, but it just doesn’t stand out to me that much. I tried to find a Cookin’ Soul remix, but the only Biggie material they have is a couple weird Christmas-themed remix albums, but I digress. This track is kinda similar to Gimme the Loot in that he’s rhyming from two perspectives and having a conversation with himself. As the title indicates, the concept is that his friend is calling him to warn him of an impending assassination attempt. I think it’s really cool that Biggie worked Lil Fame into the story. So, Biggie’s friend Pop is on the phone telling him that he heard from Lil Fame that somebody’s tryna catch him lackin’.

They heard you're blowin' up like nitro
And they wanna stick the knife through your windpipe slow
So thank Fame for warnin' me 'cause now I'm warnin' you
I got the MAC, nigga, tell me what you gonna do

I think the hook is pretty underwhelming on this track, but it’s not necessarily bad. It just doesn’t really add anything to the song for me. It’s fine though. It only occurs at one point in the song, so it’s not a huge deal. This is the song with that classic “call the coroner” line, which I love. His flow is buttery smooth.

There's gonna be a lot of slow singin' and flower-bringin'
If my burglar alarm starts ringin'
What you think all the guns is for?
All-purpose war, got the Rottweilers by the door
And I feed 'em gunpowder so they can devour
The criminals tryin' to drop my decimals

After he hears the actual warning the song pretty much just turns into a long list of threats towards his pursuers. I don’t really think the song is as interesting as a lot of the other highlights on the record, but the rapping is great. I still think the song is dope as hell even if it isn’t a contender for my favorite track on the project. It precedes the title track which is even better in my opinion. Easy Mo Bee’s production here is really nice, and, as an old nigga from NY would say, Biggie “caught wreck.”

.45, glocks, and TECs are expected when I wreck shit
Respect is collected, so check it
I got techniques dripping out my butt cheeks
Sleep on my stomach so I don't fuck up my sheets
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

The “dripping out my butt cheeks” line was pretty goddamn gross. Anyway, I think the sample of Scarface on the hook is really nice. The Barbara Mason sample does sound a little discordant, but it’s not really a big enough issue to have much of an effect on my overall enjoyment of the song. I think the second verse is even better than the first one.

As I sit back and look when I used to be a crook
Doing whatever it took from snatching chains to pocketbooks
A big bad motherfucker on the wrong road
I got some drugs, tried to get the avenue sold

I like how he channeled his inner 12-year-old white boy with this couplet…

My mother didn't give me what I want, what the fuck?
Now I've got a Glock making motherfuckers duck

The third verse is the most impressive part of the song to me personally.

In a sec I throw the TEC to your fucking neck
Everybody hit the deck, Biggie 'bout to get some rec
Quick to leave you in a coffin for slick talkin'
You better act like CeCe and keep on walkin'
When I hit you, I split you to the white meat
You swung a left, you swung a right, you fell to the concrete
Your face, my feet; they meet with stompin'
I'm rippin' MCs from Tallahassee to Compton

The song’s got a very straightforward structure, and there’s not really a specific concept like there was on the preceding track. Everything’s just super well done here. I think this shit is dope af. The next highlight for me is The What. Easy Mo Bee’s production here is really pretty, although it’s definitely not one of my favorite beats on the album. To be honest, I actually think Method Man‘s rapping on this track is more impressive than that of Biggie. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like Meth completely shmoked him on this joint. I was just more entertained by his performance personally. I think his voice and delivery are more intriguing, and he’s just more charismatic to me. In terms of the actual lyricism, Biggie definitely had the better verses. With that said, Method Man definitely gets credit for being more politically correct. Biggie used a couple slurs throughout the track, but that kinda comes with the territory when listening to old school Gangsta Rap. It’s not something that really bugged me that much personally, but I imagine if I was a part of the LGBT community I’d be less forgiving. I don’t really think this track is super amazing or anything, but it’s just cool to hear these two guys rapping with each other. It’s a pretty exciting collaboration. I think it’s dope as hell. It’s followed by arguably the most iconic Biggie song of all time, Juicy.

If I’m not mistaken, I think this song is what popularized the common trope in Hip Hop of “underdog makes it out of the hood.” If not for this song, we probably wouldn’t have ever gotten that cliché “my teacher said I wouldn’t be shit” lie that struggle rappers constantly tell in their music. Anyway, this song heavily samples Juicy Fruit by Mtume, which is a song I don’t really care for at all, so it’s cool that Poke & Puff Daddy were able to flip it into a genuinely enjoyable song for me. Damn near every line in this song is iconic. It has one of the most memorable opening lines in Hip Hop ever.

It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! magazine
Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine

The entire verse is fire. I love how he’s so open about his affinity for Hip Hop on this song.

Remember Rappin' Duke? Duh-ha, duh-ha
You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far
Now I'm in the limelight 'cause I rhyme tight
Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade
Born sinner, the opposite of a winner
Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner
Peace to Ron G, Brucie B, Kid Capri
Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starski

I used to never really think much of that Rappin’ Duke line, but K-Beta recently explained to me that Rappin’ Duke was a song by a comedian named Shawn Brown that was basically him rapping in a John Wayne impersonation. I listened to it for the first time recently and was absolutely astonished by how silly it is. I’m honestly shocked that this song isn’t a popular meme.

Maybe it is more popular than I think and I’ve just been sleeping this whole time. It kinda reminds me of the song Rascal by that RMR guy. Anyway, Biggie’s syntax in regards to the World Trade Center is one hell of a coincidence. I’m sure there were plenty conspiracy theories about how Biggie predicted 9/11. Anyway, I think the sung hook from Total on this track is absolutely stellar. I actually think they sound a lot more impressive than Tawatha Agee did on the original Juicy Fruit track, but that’s just me. Anyway, my one gripe with this song is the unbearably annoying ad-libs from Puff Daddy in the background. I swear to god, if that nigga does not shut the fuck… It’s not quite as bad on this track as it was on Who Shot Ya?, but his moany voice constantly rambling in the background just grinds my gears. His presence on this track is completely unnecessary. It probably bothers me more than most people, but I wouldn’t say it’s bad enough to tarnish the track that much. It is something I had to bring up though because it annoys the fuck outta me. He’s gotten better at talking shit in the background in more recent years, mainly because he learned to shut the fuck up when the MC is rapping. However, he’s just constantly saying shit in the background while Biggie is rapping here, and it pisses me the fuck off. Anyway, the third verse begins with another super iconic couplet.

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
When I was dead broke, man, I couldn't picture this

I think people just thought it was fun to imagine Biggie playing Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog as an adult, mainly because he presented himself as such a serious, tough dude. So yeah, that’s pretty much all I have to say about the song. There’s not really much I can mention that hasn’t already been said a million times. It’s one of the most popular Hip Hop songs ever made, and for good reason. It’s phenomenal. Again, my only nitpick is Puff Daddy’s presence. The song is still dope af though. It’s followed by another major highlight called Everyday Struggle. This is easily one of my favorite songs on the project. It’s definitely in my top three tracks. I think the production from the Bluez Brothers is superb. The Dave Grusin song that they sampled is gorgeous. Much like the first and last song on this album, I think this track epitomizes the entire theme of the record.

I don't wanna live no more
Sometimes I hear death knockin' at my front door
I'm livin' every day like a hustle, another drug to juggle
Another day, another struggle

I feel like Biggie was really ahead of his time because people seem to rarely ever consider the mental wellbeing of people growing up in the super dangerous environments he describes throughout the record, especially at the time of this album’s release.

I know how it feel to wake up fucked up
Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell
People look at you like you's the user
Sellin' drugs to all the losers, mad buddha abuser
But they don't know about your stress-filled day
Baby on the way, mad bills to pay
That's why you drink Tanqueray, so you can reminisce
And wish you wasn't livin' so devilish, shit

I think this song is amazing, not only because it’s just super well written, but it just sounds like it’d be really helpful for anyone trying to cope with the kinda shit Biggie is rapping about. He rhymed his ass off on that second verse too. I think this track has some of his best flows and rhyme schemes.

I got my honey on the Amtrak with the crack
In the crack of her ass, two pounds of hash in the stash
I wait for hon' to make some quick cash
I told her she could be lieutenant, bitch got gassed
At last, I'm literally loungin', black
Sittin' back, countin' double digit thousand stacks
Had to re-up, see what's up with my peeps
Toyota deal-athon had it cheap on the Jeeps

This couplet right here has one of the smoothest flows on the whole project…

Heard TEC got murdered in a town I never heard of
By some bitch named Alberta over nickel-plated burners

The final verse begins with a mention of one of the most evil Americans still living today, Rudy Giuliani. Didn’t he test positive for COVID-19 recently? I hope he dies a slow and painful death. I’ll visit his grave just to adorn it with a flaming brown paper bag full of shit.

I'm seein' body after body and our mayor Giuliani
Ain't tryin' to see no black man turn to John Gotti
My daughter use a potty so she's older now
Educated street knowledge, I'ma mold her now

I have zero gripes with this song at all. Puff Daddy technically was on this song talking in the background, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was on Who Shot Ya? or Juicy, and I’m sure some people won’t even notice him if they don’t pay close attention. The song is dope af. It’s followed by what might be my favorite song Biggie ever made, Me & My Bitch. This is the first deep cut I ever heard from Biggie Smalls, and I remember being completely blown away the first time I heard it. The story itself isn’t super unique or crazy. I just think the way he delivered it was fantastic, and the way it ends really hit me hard. I think it’s because he did such a great job at making me believe that he was genuinely in love with his girlfriend. She’s not just some woman with a fat ass that he’s pounding. The closing line on the song is what really made my jaw drop on my first listen.

They killed my best friend.

Also, this song has my favorite beat on the album. The Bluez Brothers and Chucky Thompson killed this shit. With that said, I highly recommend the No I.D. version of the song as well because that beat is just as amazing. The song opens with that “I’d suck on your daddy’s dick” line, which is very questionable without context. Apparently it’s a reference to a Richard Pryor joke, but to most people who have never heard of that joke it’s just gonna be really weird, especially coming from someone like Biggie. I feel like he probably didn’t think that line through very much, but it’s not even really a problem for me. I just felt like it had to be addressed since most listeners will be taken aback by it. The bigger issue with the song is obviously the misogyny. Not only due to his use of the word “bitch,” which is obviously commonplace in Hip Hop, but more so because of the following line…

You talk slick, I beat you right

Yeah… That might be the worst line on the whole album to be honest. The implication that a guy who will physically abuse a woman who shows any sign of disrespect is doing it out of love is disgusting. However… The overall song is just way too goddamn good for that one line to ruin it for me. I think this shit is fucking amazing. I have an affinity to this track just due to my personal history with it, so most listeners might not be as obsessed with it as I am. Like I said, it was the first deep cut I ever heard from Biggie, and I played this shit on repeat constantly when I first heard it. It’s dope af. It’s followed by what is perhaps the second biggest song from the record, Big Poppa.

The production here is fire. It heavily samples Between the Sheets by The Isley Brothers, and there’s also a very obvious G-Funk influence. It’s probably the smoothest beat on the whole album. Anyway, songs with this kinda subject matter typically don’t really interest me at all, and to be fair I wouldn’t really say this song is an exception. I still enjoy it quite a bit though just because it’s so well done. Biggie’s flow here is just as smooth as the production. The hook is fantastic too. That “I love it when you call me Big Poppa” line is sampled from the remix of Dolly My Baby by Super Cat, which was apparently Biggie’s first appearance on record. That song is terrible, but Biggie’s verse was good, and the beat is cool too. I guess if you’re morbidly curious it’s worth checking out. It has one of the worst Puff Daddy verses I’ve ever heard, which is obviously saying a lot, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, the song isn’t really one of my favorites on the album, but I do enjoy it—mainly just from a sonic perspective. The lyrics are definitely well written. The content just isn’t that interesting to me. The song’s still dope though. I fuck with it. The penultimate track is called Unbelievable. This one has an amazing beat from DJ Premier, making it one of my favorite tracks on the album just in terms of the production. Much like the recent Griselda collabs, this track does admittedly feel like it wasn’t really meant to be on the record. I don’t know what it is, but whenever I listen to it I just get the feeling that it was an afterthought. I’m not saying that the song is of a lesser quality than the other tracks because that’s not the case at all. Something about it just feels kind of out of place. It feels more like a loose single than an album cut. In fact, when I went to the Genius page for this track, it says that DJ Premier admitted that he almost didn’t make it onto the album. I guess this is a common thing for DJ Premier because that’s exactly how he got tacked onto Westside Gunn‘s Pray for Paris album. Again, I don’t dislike the song at all, and I’m glad it made it onto the record. I just think it’s kind of interesting that a lot of DJ Premier-produced songs end up feeling like this. Anyway, the opening verse is really nice. I thought it was kinda funny that he threw a diss to Kwamé at the very end. I mean, I doubt he actually had an issue with Kwamé. It’s just funny that he kinda made fun of him here.

Those that rushes my clutches get put on crutches
Get smoked like Dutches from the master
Hate to blast you but I have to
You see, I smoke a lot
Your life is played out like Kwamé
And them fucking polka dots

I don’t know why that’s so funny to me. I guess it’s because it just feels like such a random diss. Kwamé didn’t hurt anyone. People barely even remember who he is. The only reason I’m even aware of his existence is because I got him mixed up with Super Helpful Kwame a few years ago. Anyway, I’m personally not really crazy about the hook on this song just because I think the R. Kelly sample sounds kinda bad… It’s obviously nowhere near big enough of an issue to ruin the song for me though. All of the verses are really dope, and the beat is fantastic. The song is dope as hell. The closing track is called Suicidal Thoughts, and it’s easily one of the best songs on the record in my opinion. It’s probably my second favorite track on the album despite its brevity. The concept of this track is just so cool to me. Basically, Biggie calls Puffy up at like 3 AM because he’s having what modern clinicians would refer to as a “mental health crisis.” The song is Biggie telling Diddy that he’s contemplating suicide, and you can hear Diddy in the background trying to calm him down throughout the whole track. See, I don’t mind Puff Daddy talking throughout this track because he actually adds to the song. There’s a purpose for his contribution. That’s not really the case on a song like Who Shot Ya? in my opinion. Anyway, I really love how dark Lord Finesse‘s production on this track is. It’s the perfect backdrop for Biggie’s suicidal ideations.

I swear to God I want to just 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' buddha head
The stress is buildin' up, I can't… I can't believe
Suicide's on my fuckin' mind, I wanna leave
I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin' callin' me
But nah, you wouldn't understand…

Nobody was making shit like this when the song dropped, and I feel like this would still be kind of shocking to listeners if it came out today. I think he knocked this track outta the park. It’s dope af. So yeah, those are all the tracks I like from this album. Now I’ll quickly discuss the handful of songs I personally don’t care for, the first of which is called One More Chance.

If you’re familiar with my taste, it probably comes as no surprise that I don’t like this song. I think the production is pretty nice, but that’s pretty much the only aspect of the song that I like. The subject matter is the main reason I can’t fuck with this track. The fake voicemails at the beginning of this track—which is super played out these days by the way—didn’t interest me at all, and since the entire song is just about fucking I don’t really get any enjoyment from it. This is basically Biggie’s version of WAP. I mean, obviously he’s far more skilled than Cardi B from a technical perspective, but it’s the same type of content. The lyrics are just as vulgar. When I first heard this track, I knew I wasn’t gonna like it just based off the first five words Biggie says.

When it comes to sex I'm similar to the Thrilla in Manila
Honeys call me "Bigga the Condom Filler"
Whether it's stiff tongue or stiff dick
Biggie squeeze it to make shit fit, now check this shit
I got the pack of Rough Riders in the back of the Pathfinder
You know the epilogue by James Todd Smith
I get swift with the lyrical gift
Hit you with a dick, make your kidney shift

I just don’t see why anyone would want to listen to something like this. At least with someone like Megan thee Stallion it’s kinda hot, but this is just uncomfortable. I also really don’t care for the uncredited sung hook from Total. Biggie’s flow and rhymes are cool, and the production is kinda nice, but everything else about the song is pretty bad to me honestly. I actually think it’s a legitimately bad song. It also leads into the worst track on the whole album, which is Fuck Me (Interlude). It’s a sex skit. Yep. It’s literally just the sound of Biggie having sex with Lil Kim while she yells a bunch of strange insults at him. Why in fuck’s name would anyone wanna hear this? I can’t stand shit like this. It’s wack af. The next track I wanna talk about is called Respect. This song isn’t bad at all. It’s just not something I enjoy listening to that much. I think the beat is cool, and Biggie killed the verses. I just really don’t care for the hook from Diana King. I personally find it pretty annoying. However, like I said, Biggie killed this shit. The autobiographical content is great. It literally starts with his mother realizing she’s pregnant with him, and then goes all the way up to the year of the song’s recording.

Then came the worst date, May 21st
2:19, that's when my mama water burst
No spouse in the house, so she rode for self
To the hospital, to see if she could get a little help
Umbilical cord's wrapped around my neck
I'm seeing my death and I ain't even took my first step
I made it out, I'm bringing mad joy
The doctor looked and said, "He's gonna be a bad boy"

The song’s pretty solid. It’s not something I ever listen to, but I don’t think it’s bad. However, it ends with a skit in which Biggie gets his cock sucked, so all you hear is slurping sounds and moaning, and it’s absolutely revolting. Again, why the motherfuck would anyone wanna hear that shit? Honestly, I might have liked the song more if it didn’t have that skit at the end, but that kinda ruined it for me. Anyway, it’s followed by Friend of Mine, which is the only track I haven’t mentioned yet. The cocksucking sounds from the preceding track kinda bleed into the beginning of this track, so that was this song’s first offense. However, my main issue with this song is the content. The whole track is pretty much just him saying that he hates women and only uses them for sex because one time he got cheated on. It’s just lame as hell. This is like the opposite of Big Poppa. There’s nothing smooth about this track, aside from his flow. His flow was great. That’s pretty much the only thing I like about it. The beat from Easy Mo Bee kinda sucks to me, and I don’t care for the hook at all. I honestly don’t dislike this one quite as much as One More Chance, but it’s still wack to me. I’m not fuckin’ with it at all.

This album is pretty great. I don’t think it’s an amazing project overall, but I wouldn’t disagree with the sentiment that it contains some of the best songs ever made. I imagine I would be a lot more fond of this record had I heard it the year it was released. I was born in ’98 though, so I was negative four when it came out. With that said, I think I loved this album more when I first heard it than I do now. There have always been tracks that I didn’t care for, but I just dislike them even more now than I originally did. This project is still a must-listen album for Hip Hop fans though. There is some pretty gross homophobia and misogyny here, but that’s unfortunately par for the course with a lot of old school Hip Hop. Still, it has some of the most iconic hooks, beats, and quotable lines of all time. A lot of the song concepts are pretty brilliant too. The sex skits are trash, but aside from that and some of the aforementioned bigotry, I don’t have any consistent gripes. There’s really not much I can say that hasn’t already been said about this album a million times. You don’t need me to tell you how good this is. Again, it’s far from my favorite album of 1994, but it’s definitely one of the best from that year. It’s really dope.

Favorite Song: Me & My Bitch
Least Favorite Song: One More Chance


Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.

Grade: B+

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