It was all a dream: Ready to Die turns twenty
"As we proceed to give you what you need" - Intro to Who shot ya-- Puffy Daddy aka Diddy
September 13th1994: Ready To Die drops in stores.......
If you're a regular reader of this blog then you should already know how I feel about the year 1994 when it comes to music. I am at that age where I sit back and reflect on how music of my youth played a role in my coming of age. September 13th 1994 at the time new rap artist Biggie smalls aka Notorious B.I.G released his debut album "Ready to Die" The narrative of new york street life with a score, well that is how is viewed it. That summer "Juicy" was blowing up (90's slang) all over the radio and TV stations; couldn't not get away from that song no matter how hard I tried, but I loved it.
Many hip hop fans will give you different accounts on why they feel this is a classic rap album, well here is my two cents. West coast hip hop was a dominating force in the culture in the early nineties of course the genre started in the east but they brought it to the west, with the help of N.W.A, Ice T, Too Short, M.C. Eiht. and of course the late great Tupac Shakur (more on him later). in 1992 when Death row rose at the record label of the west and Dr. Dre drop the chronic album featuring up and coming rapper Snoop Dogg.
Hip hop was being owned by the West without a doubt, every song off the chronic was killing the charts, then later on Snoop releases doggy style. It was all said and done well that what some of us thought. In 1993 East coast was still making noise with groups like Onyx, Gang Starr, Das FX, Black moon and De La Soul was hot. But notable artist new and old was making waves such as A tribe called quest with their third album "Midnight Marauders" and new group Wu Tang Clan "Enter the Wu" was causing damage in a great way bring the game of chess back to the East.
I am getting to the point follow me....
94 rolls around new rapper Nas comes out with Illmatic (I heart that album) Summer 1994 a heavy guy standing on a stoop in Brooklyn explaining his dedication of his song to those that doubted him said he would never make it and then the beat drops "It was all a dream I use read word up magazine"......and the rest was history.
Ready to die brought the flag back over to the east coast, I love the west lords knows I play Warren G first album to death to this day. But this album was clever, interesting, insightful, fun, scary, mean, ignorant, Listen to the line from "Me and my Bitch: "Moonlight strolls with the hoes, on I want a bitch that play cee lo and craps. I mean that is just downright awful if you think about it, but the delivery and wording, you can't really be mad and that is the gift and curse of being a female who listen to rap music.
And that how the whole album plays out witty word play and punch lines, "Warning: Its gone be some sad singing and some flower bringing if my burglar alarm starts ringing" cold calculating menacing songs. Then there is my favorite "Unbelievable:
Dumb rappers need teaching
Lesson A - don't fuck with B-I, that's that
Oh I, thought he was wack, oh come come now
Why y'all so dumb now, hunt me or be hunted
I got three hundred and fifty-seven ways
To simmer saute, I'm the winner all day
Lights get dimmer down Biggie's hallway
My forte causes Caucasians to say
He sounds demented, car weed scented
If I said it, I meant it
Bite my tongue for no one
Call me evil or unbelievable
Ready to die was on of those hip hop albums or in my time cassette tapes where a lot of rewinding was going on because Biggie would say a Verse so crazy that it would go over my head so I had to play it back and now that I am grown I still have my whoa moments with this album.
Biggie was definitely taken over the charts as 1994 went on Tupac was shot at quad studios and later after he went to prison informed in a article with Vibe magazine that Biggie was apart of shooting that took place and we all know the rest that happened.
To me that unfortunate situation with the East vs West coast beef overshadowed what was one of the best albums of that decade. Two years later on the date of Ready to die second album anniversary Tupac dies in las Vegas hospital after being shot on September 7th. Seven months later Biggie aka Christopher Wallace Is killed on March 9th 1997 two days shy of my sixteenth birthday.
September 13th was happy day in 1994 and a sad day in 1996 but none the less two years that would forever change hip hop history
Ready To Die......Christopher Wallace you was definitely ready to live......R.I.P Notorious B.I.G 1972-1997
Image from google, lyrics from www.rapgenius.com