Ready To Die
Bad Boy Entertainment
During the Reagan era of “all-for-me” economics, emcees like Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap painted pictures of silky rap gangsterism, inspired by movies like ‘The Mack’ and ‘Superfly.’ Out of the post-Reagan rubble came B.I.G.’s inaugural opus, a hustler reality-trip. The Black Frank White still rhymes about jewels, champagne, and the ladies, he also reveals the casualties on the road from struggler to hustler to player. “Juicy” sets up Biggie’s rags-to-riches story, but then the curtain gets pulled back, with unapologetic, hardcore tracks like “Gimme the Loot” and “Machine Gun Funk.”
The N-o-t-o-r-i-o-u-s one set the tone for years to come in the world of rap for rappers like 50 Cent and G Unit henchman Tony Yayo. Biggie also put New York back on the map in a time when West Coast gangsta rap was just straight-jackin’ the top of the charts. Hood tales told so vivid you felt you were actually there to see it happen. None could do it with such lyrical grace like Biggie.
Many still try unsuccessfully to this day. Biggie represented the rappers of the new hip-hop generation, but possessed the aura of an old-school emcee at a block party. While I am a self-confessed B.I.G. fan, he may not have been the greatest lyricist as other proclaimed after his death, but few could deny he had the craziest flow and could ride a beat better than most.
Ready To die is more than just a mere rap album, it’s a classical testimony of a man who went from a hustler to recording artist to rap phenomenon. Even though Big went from rags to riches, this never over shadowed his dark outlook on life, and that’s what made this album so real. Along with his dark themes, Premier, Lord Finesse, and Mo Bee brought madd flava on the production tip to make Biggie’s tales even rawer. While others fight for the throne of King Of New York, the true king lyrically reigns supreme forever.