Ready to Die is the debut studio album by American rapper the Notorious BIG. He seemed to have signed off his fate. By that I mean, by calling yourself after an adjective meaning to be labeled as a criminal. It was released on 9/13/94 by Bad Boy Records. The label’s first release, the album features production by Bad Boy founder Sean “Puffy” Combs. Recording for the album took place during 93 to 94 at the Hit Factory & D&D Studios in NYC. The partly autobiographical album tells the story of B.I.G.’s experiences as a young criminal. Ready to Die is his only studio album released during his lifetime, as he was murdered days prior to the release of his 2nd album Life After Death in 97, achieving gold certification. On November 8, 1994, after the release, it was certified gold. Then in 1995 it became a certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Ass (RIAA) & the album has reached a certified quadruple platinum with sales. It’s still a factor in revitalizing the East Coast hip hop scene, amid West Coast hip hop’s commercial dominance. The album’s 2nd single, “Big Poppa”, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo in 1996. In 1993, Biggie was signed to the Uptown Records, label by A&R Sean “Puffy” Combs. When executive producer Sean Combs was fired from Uptown, Biggie’s career hung in limbo, as the album was only partially completed. After a brief period dealing drugs in North Carolina, Biggie moved from writing his lyrics in notebooks to freestyling them! B.I.G.’s rhymes are showstoppers. Tracks only enhance them, pushing the rapper to new heights. AllMusic Steve Huey says, “firmly rooted in reality but plays like movie scenes!” The New York Times proclaim, “His lyrics mix autobiographical details about crime & violence with emotional honesty, telling how he felt while making a living dealing dope.” Rolling Stone “maintains a consistent level of tension by juxtaposing emotional highs & lows. Clear, sparse terms, allowing the lyrics to hit the first time you hear them.” The album shipped 57K units in its first week of release. 2 months later, certified double platinum on October 16, 1995, only a year & a month after its release. Ready to Die was then certified triple platinum on August 26, 1998; certified 4x platinum in 99. The Rolling Stone go on to say, “Ready to Die is the strongest solo rap debut to date : breathtakingly visual moments of his birth.” The Source gave it 4.5 mics stating “Big weaves tales like a cinematographer, each song is like another scene in his lifestyle. Overall, this package is complete.” They re-rated it to 5 mic max mics. “Ridiculous beats, harmonizing honeys, ill sound effects, criminal scenarios & familiar hooks.” Rolling Stone places it at #8 on their 100 Best Albums of the 90’s. Stylus Magazine: “Sweet, hypocritical, sensitive, violent, depressed & jubilant. These words can all fittingly describe B.I.G. at various points on Ready to Die. “The album that reinvents East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star. Today it’s recognized as the best hardcore rap mostly due to B.I.G.’s skill as a storyteller! Wallace takes his street corner experience & filters them through his considerable charm. The result is a record that mixes long stretches of menace with romance & lots of humor. No rapper ever made multi-syllabic rhymes sound as smooth!”
Here is Suicidal Thoughts; the last song he ever had pleasure & privilege to see resonate amongst his disciples. His true fans.
All my life I was considered as the worst
Crying to my mother
Even stealing from her purse
Crime after crime From drugs to extortion
I know my Mama wishes I was an abortion
She doesn’t even love me like she did when I was younger
Sucking on her chest just to stop my hunger
I wonder if I die will tears come to her eyes?
Forgive me for my disrespect Forgive me for my lies
I just want to slit my wrists & end this bullshit
Shoot a magnum at my brain stem
I’m glad I’m dead
I wear a Budda hat
I can’t believe suicide is on my mind
I want to leave I swear to God death is calling
Except when I brush over There ain’t no coming back
People at my funeral Fucking like they miss me
My Baby Mama miss me But she’s glad I’m gone
She know me & her sistah had something going on
I can’t sleep I can’t eat I reach for my piece
I’m sick of dudes talking I’m sick of hoes talking Matter of fact I’m sick of talking
He went on to do both voices in Gimme the Loot in 93. A first for rappers. He was ahead of the curve. A prophet.
(1st voice) I slam like Shaquille This is real
When it’s time to eat a meal
I rob & steal
(2nd voice) Chill
Before you find out how blue steel feel
(1st voice) Hold up He has his wife in the car
Fur coats & diamons? She thinks she’s a superstar
(2nd voice) Ooh Biggie lemme jack her
Kick her in the back
(1st voice) Chill shorty let me do that
(2nd voice) You ain’t got to explain shit
I’ve been robbing people since the slave ships
With the same clips & the same 45
2 point blank You’ll be sure die!
Live by the gun Die by the gun
Does this make sense? Register? Is it chemically relative? Trivial? Think B.I.G.