Friday, January 16, 2009

You Never Thought Hip Hop Would Take It This Far

Hardcore. Raw. Ground-breaking. Revolutionary. Real.

All these words have been used to describe Big's debut solo LP Ready to Die, but only one word can fully describe all that is the 1993 album: Classic.

Personally, this might be my favorite album ever. Wu-Tang's 36 Chambers, Outkast's Aquemini, Nas' Illmatic and Jay-Z's Vol. 2 put up a good fight, but BIG's probably got the top spot. It's so tough to choose but I'd choose Ready to Die on most days.

Ready to Die's rags-to-riches autobiography showcases all sides of the Brooklyn MC - the trials of of a heat-packing drug dealer on "Gimme The Loot" and "Everyday Struggle," the lyrical virtuoso on "Unbelievable" and "The What" with Meth, the smooth ladies man on Grammy-nominated "Big Poppa" and "One More Chance," and the agonized man facing life's harsh realities on "Suicidal Thoughts."

But most of all, BIG celebrates his story as a successful entreprenuer on (my favorite hip-hop song, ever) "Juicy." I remember when Diddy told the contestents on the first season of Making the Band that they had to memorize the lyrics to this song, and I thought "How the HELL do you NOT know them?" Not only is it one of his best lyrical efforts, but the story he constructs and wordplay he implements is unparalleled:

Thinkin' back on my one-room shack
Now my mom pimps a Ac with minks on her back
And she loves to show me off, of course
Smiles every time my face is up in The Source
We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ayyy
Damn right I like the life I live
'Cause I went from negative to positive

Throw in phenomenal production by Puffy, The Hitmen, Easy Mo Bee, Pete Rock, DJ Premier and Lord Finese, and you've got arguably the most consistent song-by-song release that hip-hop's ever witnessed. No wonder it sold 4x Platinum and counting.

I know you've all heard these songs before, but it's Biggie Day, so I'm gonna post my favorites. If you've been sleeping on this CD, which I'm sure none of my loyal readers have ever dared to do, I'm revoking your hip-hop card immediately.

On to the good ish, Enjoy!
Track List:

1 Intro 3:23
2 Things Done Changed 3:58
3 Gimme the Loot 5:04
4 Machine Gun Funk 4:17
5 Warning 3:40
6 Ready to Die 4:24
7 One More Chance 4:43
8 #! *@ Me (Interlude) 1:31
9 The What 3:57
10 Juicy 5:02
11 Everyday Struggle 5:19
12 Me & My B*tch 4:00
13 Big Poppa 4:12
14 Respect 5:21
15 Friend of Mine 3:28
16 Unbelievable 3:43
17 Suicidal Thoughts 2:50

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