Review Summary: One of the best albums of a genre
Few rappers will ever have the impact that Biggie Smalls, The Notorious B.I.G. had on the scene. Literally from rags to riches, young Christopher Wallace took his first chance to get out of his young life as a drug dealer, and quickly proved himself to be one of the finest men ever to breathe on a microphone, not to mention the millions of albums he managed to sell, despite tragedy striking fast, with two albums under his belt. The Notorious B.I.G. is a name that will forever be held in high regard.
The better of the two albums was undoubtably his first album, Ready To Die, which spawned the hit singles Big Poppa and Juicy, as well as many thug hits such as Gimme The Loot and Machine Gun Funk, the incredibly emotional Suicidal Thoughts, and the haunting song Warning. Through its entire one hour duration, Ready To Die is nothing short of breathtaking, with powerful beats, tight flows, and incredibly well written lyrics.
Following the strong opener, Things Done Changed, the four song home run begins, being the strongest run on the album, and one of the best four-song runs of any album. Gimme The Loot is a highly popular song, being a frequently played club hit, Machine Gun Funk contains some brutally well written lyrics and an infectious chorus, Warning is an extremely dark song that sends chills down my spine every time i hear it, and the title track is one of the most recognizable songs in hip hop.
Whilst on the subject of recognition, Juicy, Big Poppa and Suicidal Thoughts are rightfully considered to be three of the best songs in hip hop history. Juicy has an incredibly funky beat to it, great use of sampling and the artist's own story. Big Poppa is an amazing song front to back, with some great lyrics and one of the tightest flows on the album. However, it is album closer Suicidal Thoughts that, in my eyes, takes the cake as being the best song, not only from this album, but also the best that Biggie ever put out.
Suicidal Thoughts is horrifically dark, and carries a "i dont care what you think, this is how i feel" vibe that is enough to reduce grown men to tears due to how resigned Biggie sounds on this song. This time, it is his voice that carries the song, instead of the lyrics and the flow, which is fairly sloppy for this tune. He sounds literally ready to commit suicide, and it is haunting and scary to listen to, and is the single defining song ever to come from The Notorious B.I.G. and remains an essential listen.
This album is one of the finest lyrical performances from any rapper to have lived, and the flows on here are almost always untouchable. However, it is the stories behind each of the songs that keep this album feeling fresh every time. The heavy variety of lyrical themes found throughout, and jump from dark to light sounds cause a contrast unfound in music, and keep this album as the best of its genre. 5/5