Monday, January 7, 2013

The Notorious B.I.G. Project Part 1: Ready To Die

Yep, with the late great Notorious B.I.G. being my #4 favorite MC of all time, it's only fitting that I do a project on him, beginning with his CLASSIC 1994 "Ready To Die". The last time I did a post on this album, I talked briefly about it, but I didn't dissect the album, which is what I'm going to do for part 1. And here's the link to the previous post I did on this album:

We'll jump right into the dissection of this classic.

Release date- September 13, 1994

This intro is one of my favorites, as we hear the evolution of Biggie, from his birth to his troubles as a youth to a daring robbery which then led to his incarceration. At the end of the intro, we hear Biggie getting out of jail, and right before we get into the album's first song, he says, "I got big plans n****, big plans, ha ha ha!" Those were TRUE words.

Things Done Changed (Produced By Darnell Scott)

"Thangs done changed on this side/Remember they used to talk, but now they blast right?!" (Dr. Dre - Lil Ghetto Boy)

 This album gets off to a roaring start with this joint right there, as Biggie details how things had changed as he was coming up, also detailing what he had to do to survive.

"If I wasn't in the rap game, I'd probably have a key knee deep in the crack game/Because the streets is a short stop, either you slingin crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot"

Powerful material here. 5 out of 5

Gimme The Loot (Produced By: Easy Mo Bee)
For YEARS, I always wondered who was the other "artist" on this track with Biggie, until it hit me one day that Biggie (in a first time occurrence for an MC) did BOTH vocals, switching up his flow throughout, to spectacular results. I should've known better when I didn't see another name in the album credits, lol.  Creative, gangster, witty, humorous, they ALL apply to this banger. Biggie made no secret that he would do whatever it took to get paid. One of my favorites from him. 5 out of 5

Machine Gun Funk (Produced By: Easy Mo Bee)
Another tight song produced by Easy Mo Bee, featuring the memorable quote for the hook, courtesy of Lords of the Underground's "Chief Rocka" (I live by the funk, I die by the funk). Great stuff. 5 out of 5

Warning (Produced By: Easy Mo Bee)
Man, Mo Bee LACED Biggie with some classics, and this right here is my #1 favorite Biggie song, no doubt. 

"Damn, n***** wanna stick me for my paper"

That's one of the most memorable lines from this song, in addition to "there's gonna be a lot of slow singin, and flower bringin, if my burglar alarm starts ringin". Classic. My favorite line is "feel the ruff, scandalous, the mo weed smoke I puff, the mo dangerous!" Man, words can't do this song justice. 5 out of 5

Ready To Die
A FOURTH STRAIGHT Mo Bee produced banger, as Biggie outlines in great detail why he's ready to die. Controversial or not, you can't do nothing but listen to his words and see why he feels the way he does.

"F*** the world, f*** my moms, and my girl/My life is played out like the jehri curl, I'm READY to die!" 

Wow. Still powerful and captivating. 5 out of 5

One More Chance (Produced By: Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chucky Thompson, and Bluez Brothers)
This is the original version, and of course it doesn't hold a candle to the classic remix that came out in 1995. Biggie had his way with the ladies, and that's at the forefront on this track. 3.5 out of 5

F*** Me (Interlude)
I have nothing to say about this POINTLESS skit, let's continue with this great album.

The What (featuring Method Man, Produced By Easy Mo Bee)
Man, is it safe to say that Mo Bee is the star producer on this album? He's behind some of the best songs on this album, with this track being such a memorable and outstanding collaboration between two of my favorite MCs. The beat was nice as hell and Meth and Biggie had such great chemistry on the mic, definitely trying to one up each other in the friendly spirit of competition. It made for a GREAT song. 5 out of 5

Juicy (Produced By: Sean "Puffy" Combs & Poke (of The Trackmasters)
A true classic in every sense of the word, and I remember liking it A LOT when I first heard it. 

"It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up Magazine/Salt N Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine"

That's one of the most memorable (and quoted) first lines in hip hop history. Much like every song on this album, this song is filled with quotables. One of my personal favorites is:

We used to fuss when the landlord disses us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip champagne when we thisty

SO timeless. 5 out of 5

Everyday Struggle (Produced By: Bluez Brothers)
Almost in the same tone as "Things Done Changed", Biggie, as descriptive as an artist can get, effective details the life of the struggle for someone desiring to go from nothing to something. Again, powerful, and possibly my second favorite song on the album. 5 out of 5

Me & My B**** (Produced By: Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chucky Thompson, & Bluez Brothers)
First things first, I'll be deducting 5 points for Biggie's hideous opening line, which I will NOT quote here, and I'm sure you know which line I'm talking about. When it comes to his lady, Biggie would protect her at all cost, and that's exemplified in this very good song. 4.5 out of 5

Big Poppa (Produced By: Sean "Puffy" Combs and Chucky Thompson)
Featuring a NICE sample of The Isley Brothers' "Between The Sheets", Biggie's charisma on the mic is at the forefront on this classic. 5 out of 5

Respect (Produced By: Sean "Puffy" Combs and Poke, Additional Vocals By Diana King)
Awesome track here, as Biggie kills the trunk rattling beat and Ms. King's reggae styled hook is the icing on the proverbial Bad Boy cake. 5 out of 5

Friend of Mine (Produced By: Easy Mo Bee)
Mo Bee shows up AGAIN for another tight track. At first I didn't care too much for this song, but after listening to it more and more, it grew on me after a while, basically after this line (lol):

"B****** come, b****** go
That's why I get my n*** and I be out the f***** doe"

I'm sure that was meant for a few laughs, but I know he meant it at the time.This is (almost) a cool down moment heading into the next track. 5 out of 5

Unbelievable (Produced By: DJ Premier)
Another banger, and although Premo did just one song on this album, the chemistry with Biggie was just undeniable.

"You're ready to die, tell God I said hi/And take up some ice for the nicest MC"

And again, timeless. 5 out of 5

Suidical Thoughts (Produced By: Lord Finesse)
This is one of the more creepy yet brilliant, chilling yet captivating album closers I've ever heard. In short, according to the storyline of the song, Biggie was completely unhappy and just wanted to end his life, and "he did", but that would lead us directly to 1997's "Life After Death". 5 out of 5

Wow, just dissecting this album was an event, and you would think with ALL of the positive remarks I've given this album, it should rank higher on my list. It's all good though. What more can I say about this album that I haven't said already. In a word, CLASSIC, nuff said.

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