Review Summary: A hip hop spectacular.
Robert Christagu: A-
Rolling Stone: 4/5 (Eventually re-rated 5/5)
The Source: 4.5 Mics (Eventually re-rated 5 Mics)
Born as, Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G, who died on March 9th, 1997 (6 months after 2Pac died, and weeks before his 2nd album) went on in history as one of the best lyricists of all time. This album made it onto the Rolling Stone list of the 500 best albums of all time, being the 4th highest hip hop album on there. This album also made it to the about.com list of top 100 hip hop albums, at 5th. Notorious B.I.G also made it onto the about.com list of top 50 MC's of all time, at 5th. Those stats prove how critically acclaimed Biggie Smalls is.
With this album, Notorious B.I.G rhymes about drug dealing, and other occurences that he had to go through throughout his lifetime, such as his mother getting breast cancer, and other things. He also comes equipped with incredible storytelling ability, that only KRS-One, Nas, and Jay-Z can defeat. Now for the track by track review.
1. Intro: An interesting intro, that features songs such as "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield, "Rappers Delight" by Sugarhill Gang, "Top Billin" by Audio Two, and "Tha Shiznit" by Snoop Dogg. This song also features a bunch of other sounds, such as the birth of Notorious B.I.G, and other sounds. An excellent start to the album, but it's not a song so I can't rate it.
2. Things Done Changed: The first actual song on this album kicks in the legendary bass, waving the amazing lyrics that are in your face (Kick In The Door reference, hopefully you noticed). The overall feel of this song is gangster, and talks about things that have happened during his life. Classic, one of the best Biggie songs ever, and one of the best songs on the album. This song samples the songs, "Lil Ghetto Boy" by Dr Dre, "The Vapors" by Biz Markie, and other songs. 5/5
3. Gimme The Loot: This song features Biggie using 2 voices, and they are having a conversation about robbing. This song shows the storytelling skills that Notorious B.I.G possesses. One of them being the normal Biggie that we know of, and the other being a younger one. The way he executes this concept is perfection, and is often hilarious. Classic, one of the best Notorious B.I.G songs of all time, and one of the best songs on the album. This song samples the songs, "Throw Ya Gunz" by Onyx, "What They Hittin Foe" by Ice Cube, "Just To Get A Rep" by Gang Starr, "Scenario (Remix)" by A Tribe Called Quest, and other songs. 5/5
4. Machine Gun Funk: A song, that best represents the hardcore side of Notorious B.I.G, and shows him at some of his lyrically finest, and shows at some of his darkest. Classic, one of Biggie's best songs, and one of the best songs on the album. This song samples the song "Chief Rocka" by Lords Of The Underground, and other songs. 5/5
5. Warning: This song best represents the storytelling of Notorious B.I.G. This song has Biggie emulating a phone call between him and a friend, talking about a friend trying to kill Biggie. One of the best Notorious B.I.G songs, and one of the best songs on this album. This song has been sampled in the song "Get Em High" by Kanye West, and other songs. 5/5
6. Ready To Die: The title track, and another song proving the hardcore skills that Biggie possesses. A classic song, one of the best Notorious B.I.G songs, and one of the best songs on the album. This song samples the songs, "Ain't No Half Steppin" by Big Daddy Kane, "Two To The Head" by Kool G Rap And DJ Polo, and other songs. 5/5
7. One More Chance: This song best represents the love raps of Notorious B.I.G, and is a good song. By the way, this song is not the One More Chance that most people know, this is the original. This song is funny, and excellent, but it doesn't compete with any other song on the album. Proving how good Biggie is, considering, that this is the weakest song on the album, but yet it's still excellent. 4/5
8. F*** Me: Interlude, so I can't rate it
9. The What: This song features Method Man, who does an excellent job, but definitely doesn't compete to Biggie. Meth and Big go back and forth with each other in an excellent fashion. Not as good as most of the others, but still classic. 5/5
10. Juicy: Here we are, the best song out of the whole career of Notorious B.I.G. This song has Biggie going back on his life, and looking back at the good and bad times, and how his life is now good. This song is very positive, happy, and upbeat. Even if you are not an avid hip hop fan, you most likely have heard this song, since this song is probably the most known song by Biggie. Classic without a doubt. This song has been sampled in the song, "A Dream" by Jay-Z, and other songs. 5/5
11. Everyday Struggle: After the previous upbeat song, the album gets back to how Biggie was drug dealing, and other things of the like. Classic, one of the best songs by Biggie, and one of the best songs on the album. 5/5
12. Me And My B****: A song that tells a story (fictional of course) of how much he loved his girlfriend, but ends tragically with his girl getting killed by the police. Kind of depressing though. This song has been sampled in the song "Where I'm From" by Jay-Z, and other songs. 5/5
13. Big Poppa: Another one of the most popular songs by Notorious B.I.G. This song is another song that Biggie dedicates to the females. A classic song, one of the best songs by Notorious B.I.G, and one of the best songs on the album. This song has been sampled in the songs, "Crush On You" by Lil Kim, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" by Jay-Z, "What's Goin On" by Canibus, "Excuse Me Miss" by Jay-Z, "The Jump Off" by Lil Kim, "Body Rock" by AZ, and other songs. 5/5
14. Respect: This song features a guest, that is unknown, making the song even better. This song is a surprise, and is much different than any other song on the album. A classic song. 5/5
15. Friend of Mine: An excellent song. Another song that Biggie dedicates to the ladies. Not as good as most of the other songs, but still excellent. This song has been sampled in the songs "So Ghetto" by Jay-Z, "Leatherface" by Big Punisher, and other songs. 4/5
16. Unbelievable: This song is produced by DJ Premier, and this is one of his best beats. This song is classic with no doubting that. This song has been sampled in the song, "Rock Da Spot" by Redman, and other songs. 5/5
17. Suicidal Thoughts: With this song, Lord Finesse is on the turntables, and he does excellent production for the song. This song is a thought provoking ending, to a classic album. This has Notorious B.I.G making a phone call to Puff Daddy, talking about how he is going to kill himself, eventually he does. At the end of the song, you can hear his heartbeat slowly stopping, then you hear the call operator when the person doesn't pick up. This is a perfect ending, since he was born at the beginning, and he dies at the end. 5/5
This album is one of the best hip hop albums of all time. Overall I give this album 5/5, 10/10, and my grade for it is "A+." This album is essential to any hip hop head.
3 Best Songs:
3. Machine Gun Funk
3 Weakest Songs:
1. Friend of Mine
2. One More Chance