September 13, 1994 one of the most important and groundbreaking albums of the 90’s released. That album was Ready To Die by Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace. I really could stop right there and tell you just play the album for old times sake but I won’t.
I remember this albums original tentative release date, August 24th, 1994. Puff Daddy was a marketing genius with how he set up Craig Mack and Biggie to be exposed to the world. Cats don’t have that kind of vision anymore. The two biggest records of the year were dropped by the same brand new label at the same time and from the looks of things was going to launch two rap giants into prominence. We know the end result so lets move forward.
I remember not being the biggest fan of the record “Juicy” [I know, stone me now] it was more of the Flavor In Ya Ear remix verse that made me want to get this album. Then I heard Warning and lost my mind and had to buy the album.
I don’t remember if I copped this at Ear Wax or from Columbia House [You youngsters know NOTHING about no Columbia House CD Club] but what I do remember is a lot of late nights playing NBA Live 95 and listening to this album. It was almost like a 101 on how to rap. You can literally get wrapped up into some of the lyrics on the album and really see them in your mind. One of the most factual and timeless songs ever, is “Things Done Changed”. Think about how realistic that song is right now in 2014…
Back in the days our parents used to take care of us
Look at em now, they even f**king scared of us
Calling the city for help because they can’t maintain
Damn s**t done changed
Even as a 13 year old with so much life ahead of me to live, I knew all about that just from what I seen going on around my way.
Outside of “Respect” and “Friend of Mine”, I feel this album is flawless! I like the Original “One More Chance” more than the remix. I like really nasty hip-hop lyrics [Shout to Too Short and 2 Live Crew]. Don’t get me wrong the remix is DOPE! However it’s not on the original album and I don’t think it affects the luster of the album at all.
Until this album dropped, Nas was the only rapper people wanted to talk about in NY and the West Coast firmly had their foot on the neck of the game. Bigs Ready To Die released changed all that. Not cause they needed a savior, and only partially because Sean Puffy Combs was an incredible hypebeast. It was because the lyrics and the stories were so phenomenal and in some respects ahead of their time, yet so simple that even a literal young kid from Freeport, Illinois could understand them. I felt I knew what Brooklyn looked like and how to have fun and survive in it by listening to this album. Not many albums will do that to your psyche. The cliche phrase but stone cold fact is, NO ONE is making albums like this anymore. Excluding NOBODY.
Salute to everyone who had a hand in putting together this classic album we call “Ready To Die”. It is the number 1 reason I say Biggie Smalls is the number 1 emcee of the 90’s.