I remember when someone asked me the most inane question a few years back. “Are you a Big fan or a Tupac fan?” It was a stupid question, mainly because I wasn’t one to take sides on the East Coast/West Coast thing. I grew up in the South.
But I answered the question anyway. “Biggie.” I said. The dude looked at me like I just shot his cousin. He then went on try to “educate” me about how Biggie was a poser, and how Biggie would get shot if he tried to disrespect the West Coast.
Unfortunately, he was right.
I’m not going to call Biggie the Greatest of All Time, mainly because there are probably hundreds of rappers who could rap better than him but probably didn’t have the luxury of a record deal. But if you stack him against any rapper today, he could hold his own.
I discovered Ready to Die a full 2 years after it came out. Blame it on my parents—they didn’t let me listen to hop-hop until I was 16. In any case, Ready to Die was a classic album because Biggie dealt with his past, his struggles, and his paranoia. His last album, Life after Death, featuring songs like “You’re Nobody (‘Til Somebody Kills You)”, felt too ominous and surreal for someone that was just making a rap record. I’ve always felt that Biggie knew that his time was up, and these album titles were just small clues to key us in to his eventual demise.
Ironically, Life After Death was released a few weeks after Biggie was shot and killed leaving a party in Los Angeles.
(Stone blogs at Article Online)