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Old School Rap
The Notorious B.I.G. Roundtable Discussion -
March 9, 2012
"I think it’s important to note how very different those two albums are. Ready To Die is a naturally street record because Biggie was coming from the streets. There’s Easy Mo Bee production, there’s [DJ Premier] production; these are raw boom bap beats, and I think Biggie really wanted to stay true to that. From what we’ve heard [Diddy] and the people who worked on the album, he was very adamant about maintaining his creation and not giving into Puff. We all know what happened with “Juicy,” that was the Pop record because Puff needed to sell X amount of records, and Biggie had to swallow his pride. When it came time to transform for Life After Death, I think this is something few artists are able to accomplish. I mean, he made the complete transformation from guy from the streets, as Kathy was noting, and he became this larger than life figure. The shiny suit era was ushered in with songs like, what’s a good example, “Hypnotize” is a prime example. “Mo Money Mo Problems,” all those kind of songs. Here’s a guy who was willing to take his career to the next level. He never turned his back on his actual lyrical content or abilities. He’s still rapping about the same stuff. He’s still rapping in these extremely intricate flows with these grand double entendres, which are not things you’re hearing on mainstream radio at the time. He managed to create this album that had these records, but also had something like “Kick in the Door” or “Ten Crack Commandments,” these are songs that show he never lost touch with who he was. Because of that, I think he was able to become this figure who was bigger than himself, but at the same time, that self was still intact. I think that really is a testament to how he kind of ushered his career to the next level." -
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