Rich moguls like Suge Knight and Sean Combs always claim the reason they’re putting out another album by their deceased artist is for their fans. Yet, these compilations always seem to feature some of the world’s most popular people. The “reason” we’re given is that they’d want to collaborate with these artists, with the “best.” But for a second, please, lets be realistic. The odds of a collaborated album covering such an eclectic span of artists is so far from probable that the fantasy element diffuses into stupidity. Besides, who exactly thinks that collaborating with a deceased emcee is anything like collaborating with them whilst they were alive? In my humble opinion, it’s quite a sick surreal endeavour.
“Nasty Girl” featuring Nelly and Jagged Edge, produced by Jazze Pha is a perfect example of what I’m glad I can’t blame Biggie for. Whoever thought this little atrocity up should be shot. “Living The Life” alongside Snoop and Ludacris would have otherwise been a classic Biggie commercial track, but is still sub par due to Bobby Valentino’s melodramatic hook. “Hold Your Head” is another mistake, Biggie’s “Drugs” hook is re-used and paired above an over-the-top Missy Elliot flavoured track. It just doesn’t work.
“The Most Shady” and “I’m Wit Whateva” are actually decent tracks, the latter actually being quite good. But neither actually feature Biggie. The first is Eminem with Obie Trice and Puffy and the second is Lil’ Wayne, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones. They may be dedicated to him, but isn’t this release entitled Biggie “Duets”?
“Whatchu Want” featuring Jay-Z would have been brilliant had the hook been something else or not present. Jay and Biggie make a great duo, but the hook detracts from the song’s overall quality. “Living In Pain” featuring Nas and 2Pac is a gem produced by Just Blaze. Mary J. Blige contributes a great hook, but yet again, I take great issue with people at odds with one another collaborating because of technology. Arguably the album’s best track is “Just A Memory” featuring The Clipse. Scram Jones assembled the perfect remix beat to fit beneath Biggie, the hook is scratched up to perfection and The Clipse fit in perfectly.
“Wake Up Now” is another surprisingly effective track as Biggie is slapped above a typical KoRn sounding track alongside the group. Pairing him with Bob Marley was a fantasy which grew on me. Initially the re-using of “Suicidal Thoughts” vocal track left me pre-judging the song but the renamed “Hold Your Head” brought me around, the duo works. “Hustlers Story” is another noteworthy track, the song features Akon and Scarface and has quite a charm threaded through it due to Akon’s signature sounds.
Essentially “Duets” is an above average compilation, but disappointing. Hopefully Sean Combs will make enough with this album to stop exploiting his deceased friend.
It’s hard to believe that its been a decade since we last heard Biggie Smalls and his notorious “Uh uhs” in real life. The memory of when I first heard the news is still vivid. My dad was over to take my sister and me for the weekend and I barely reached the kitchen when he told me that the Notorious B.I.G. was dead. To say the moment felt surreal would be understatement.
I just bought the recent issue of The Source the night before with Biggie on the cover and a great feature article where he talked about how he was coming back for his number one spot. My last thought before going to sleep was, he was coming back and no rapper could come close to stopping him. Everything about him seemed larger than life, the rhymes, the flow, the suits, the way he took care everyone, how personable he was on camera and then suddenly it all stopped.
“The Greatest Rapper of All Time died on March 9th” -Canibus “Second Round Knockout”
People will debate who the greatest rapper of all time is until they are blue in the face, but everyone will agree that Biggie Smalls was the illest. It was an arduous task but I made a list of the ten best Biggie verses of all time. Some people’s favorites were left out, and I apologize. Biggie probably deserves three or four top ten lists. The hardest omissions were “Mo Money Mo Problems”, the storytelling verses like “I Got a Story to Tell” and “Niggas Bleed”, the sentimental “Sky’s The Limit”, the underrated “Everyday Struggle”, the cult classic “Last Days”, guest appearances like “Get Money” and “Benjamins”, and my favorite line ever from the track “Ready to Die” where Big rapped “I got techniques dripping out my butt cheeks / Sleep on my stomach so I don’t fuck up my sheets”.
10. “Flava In Ya Ear (remix)”
Memorable Lines Niggaz is mad I get more butts than ashtrays
I see the gimmicks, the wack lyrics / That shit is depressing, pathetic, please forget it / Mad cause my style you admiring / Don’t be mad UPS is hiring
Comments Whoever thought it was a good idea to start this posse cut mad a big mistake. Biggie stole the show and made the other rappers look average including the extra animated Busta Rhymes (and you know how I feel about the Dungeon Dragon and Posse Cuts). Craig Mack and Big put Bad Boy on the map and it was only fitting that they remixed (considering they invented the remix) one of their earliest hits.
9. 1st Verse “Long Kiss Goodnight”
Memorable Lines I make your mouth piece obese like Della Reese
You know the rules / Went from BK to New Jeruze / Look at the planes we flew / Bitches we ran through / Now the year’s new / I want my spot back, take two
Comments After his car accident, Biggie was hospitalized for a few weeks and watched a lot of movies. One of his favorites was “Long Kiss Goodnight” with Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson. He was often accompanied by his then girlfriend who was looking to become a rapper. Big suggested that she take the name of Geena Davis’ character in the movie, Charlie Baltimore. I did not include the verse because of the story but instead because of the hunger Biggie rapped with on the first verse. He was telling all other rappers that they were playing for second place. 8. 1st Verse “Dead Wrong”
Memorable Lines Relax and take notes, while I take tokes of the marijuana smoke / Throw you in a choke gun smoke, gun smoke
I guess I was a combination of House of Pain and Bobby Brown / I was “Humpin Around” and “Jump in Around” / Jacked her then I asked her who’s the man; she said, “B I G” / Then I bust in her E Y E
Comments Everything about this verse is aggressive including the way he delivered his lines. Biggie had pretty graphic and excessively violent lyrics but this could top them all. Some people may have problems with the content of his lyrics but those same people probably loved the Oscar winner for best picture, Martin Scorcese’s “The Departed”. He was not Mos Def or Chuck D but he was great at what he did.
7. 1st Verse “Kick In The Door”
Memorable Lines Your reign on the top was short like Leprechauns / As I crush so called willies, thugs, and rapper dons
You should know my steelo / Went from 10 g’s for blow / To thirty g’s a show / To orgies with hoes I’ve never seen before
Comments This was the only Biggie verse to earn The Source’s monthly Hip Hop Quotable. He was mad that Nas and Prodigy had gotten it three times each even though Biggie won Lyricist of the Year at The Source Awards. Although they were a little late, The Source finally rewarded him. At the time Nas was coming hard for the crown, and many (including Nas) believe that the song was a subliminal dis toward Nas, specifically the lines “MCs used to be on some buddy shit / Now they on some money shit / Successful out the blue”. It could also be directed at De La Soul and Trugoy who seemingly took a shot at him on “Stakes Is High”. Either way Big flexed his muscle over a signature Premier beat.
6. 1st Verse “Who Shot Ya”
Memorable Lines Who shot ya? / Seperate the weak from the ob solete /Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets / It’s on nigga, fuck all that bickering beef / I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek / Your heartbeat sound like Sasquatch feet / Thundering, shaking the concrete
I burn baby burn like Disco Inferno / Burn slow like blunts with ya yo / Peel more skins than Idaho potato / Niggaz know, the lyrical molestin’ is takin’ place / Fuckin’ with B.I.G. it ain’t safe
Comments Tupac dis? Biggie always denied it, but there are plenty of lines to believe otherwise (and Tupac certainly did). Regardless, “the lyrical molestin” was in full effect as the Notorious crushed every other rapper in his path.
5. 3rd Verse “Juicy”
Memorable Lines Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis / When I was dead broke I couldn’t picture this
Birthdays was the worst days / Now we sip champagne when we thirsty
Comments The 1st verse arguably deserves to make the list as well, but I did not want to include more than one verse from the same song, so it can only earn an honorable mention. The first line is obviously dated but in 1994 if you had both Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis you were on top of the world. Not to mention being able to play Street Fighter II on an 80 inch screen like they do in the “Juicy” video. In the second line Biggie rhymes “days” and “thirsty” to put a cap on the rags to riches story. Who else could rhyme those two words? Just plain sick.
4. 1st Verse “Unbelievable”
Memorable Lines Live from Bedford Stuyvesant The Livest one / Representing BK to the fullest / Gats I pull it bastards ducking when Big be bucking / Chickenheads be cluckin’ in my bathroom fuckin’
And those that rushes my clutches get put on crutches / Get smoked like Dutches from the master
Comments Premier says that it was actually Biggie’s idea to sample an R. Kelly song to create the beat just like Jay-Z suggested to 9th Wonder when he produced “Threat” for The Black Album. It was also the first song played from The Ready to Die album on NY radio stations. After doing “Party and Bullshit” and plenty of guest appearances Biggie announced his arrival with lyrical prowess and intimidation not heard since Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap.
3. “Notorious Thugs”
Memorable Lines Armed and dangerous, ain’t too many can bang with us / Straight up weed, no angel dust, label us Notorious / Thug ass niggaz that love to bust, it’s strange to us / Y’all niggaz be scramblin, gamblin / Up in restaurants with mandolins, and violins / We just sittin here tryin to win, tryin not to sin / High off weed and lots of gin / So much smoke need oxygen, steadily countin them Benjamins
Comments When I was asking my friends their favorite verses from Biggie this was always the first or second one mentioned. Usually I have hard time understanding the words in a Bone Thugs and Harmony song but Big completely adapted to their style and delivered, arguably, his most memorable verse. No one could switch their style as effortlessly as the Notorious B.I.G. 2. 1st Verse “Victory”
Memorable Lines Rhyme a few bars so I can buy a few cars / Then I kick a few flows so I can pimp a few hoes / Excellence is my presence never tense / Never hesitant leave a nigga bent real quick / Real sick, brawl nights, I perform like Mike / Anyone – Tyson, Jordan, Jackson / Action, pack guns, ridiculous / And I am quick to bust if my ends you touch
Comments The Rocky sample probably helps, but the verse has an epic feeling to it like a Jerry Bruckheimer action scene. Not only did Biggie write Puffy’s lyrics for the song, but he also went into the booth and recorded the vocals. All Diddy had to do was repeat what Biggie was saying in the same he was saying. This should have been on Life After Death as a solo song.
1. “Freestyle at MSG” w/ Big Daddy Kane, Scoob, Shyheim, and Tupac
Memorable Lines I got 7 Mac-11’s / About eight 38s / Nine 9s, 10 Mac Tens / The shit never ends / You can’t touch my riches / Even if you had MC Hammer and them 357 bitches
Oh my God I’m dropping shit like a pigeon / I hope your listening / Smacking babies at their christening
Comments The first few lines showcase Biggie’s one of a kid wit. After using four gun references, he quickly jumps to his “riches” and then brings it all together with “MC Hammer and them 357 bitches”. Hammer was the first rap to really become rich. With all of his money he put on ridiculous stage shows including female dancers called 357. At the same time Biggie was talking about guns again because of the 357 Magnum and “hammer” being another term for a gun. Listen to the crowd after he finishes that line because they go absolutely crazy.
As soon as I heard that there was gonna be a new Biggie LP (around late ’97 I think) I was hyped. A lot of people had loved ‘Ready To Die,’ I’m one of those (infact, it featured/features one of my favourite tracks of all time ‘Suicidal Thoughts’), plus, I did actually think ‘Life After Death’ was pretty ill too. It had some ‘filler material,’ but the majority of it was dope. So, of course, I expected Puffy to select the best of Biggies unreleased material and release an LP that would be amazing.
Well, on the one hand, my expectations were met, but on another, they weren’t. I had strong beliefs that I wouldn’t be giving this LP less than 8.5, which from me isn’t particularly easy to obtain. And, as you can see by the score on this page, it didn’t meet the level I expected it to.
For some reason, Puffy seems to have grasped the idea that rap fans, not pop fans, love his rapping. I’m here to tell you that that isn’t true. I can’t recall Puffy dropping many verses on Biggies material, while Biggie was alive. I remember words, hooks etc., but rarely any verses. Now, since he’s gone, he and Biggie ‘collaborate’ all the time. Kind of easy to gain consent when someone isn’t alive, isn’t it?
Almost everyone I know, that has heard the unreleased version of ‘Real Niggas’ by Biggie, thinks that it was ill. Biggie spitting dope freestyled verses over some Death Row beats. It’s understandable that Death Row wouldn’t have allowed clearance to Bad Boy for the usage of this track in a proper release. Well, if they weren’t gonna let it be properly released in its best form, why not just leave it a dope mixtape joint? No, Puffy wasn’t satisfied with that, he not only threw an altered version of it on his own LP, but he altered it for ‘Born Again.’ The track entitled ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ is without a doubt, the worst track dubbed to be ‘by Biggie.’ The beat is feeble, the singing in the background isn’t necessary at all, and Puffy and Kim don’t improve the track with their verses by any means. Unbelievably disappointing.
Is that the only time where a dope Biggie track is re-used and practically ruined completely? No. I loved to death the True Master produced track (it said RZA produced it, but it was later found out that he didn’t), ‘Tonight.’ Well, Puffy grabbed the track, swapped the beats, and because it would sell, added Mobb Deep and Black Rob. Firstly, this wasn’t needed in any manner, secondly, the beat isn’t in any way as good as the original, the muffled Biggie samples scattered amongst the track don’t add to it, Mobb Deep and Black Rob don’t improve the track in any way and finally, adding Joe Hooker to the track is absolutely never a good idea. I wish people would have learned this fact sooner, maybe we wouldn’t have had to suffer listening to him.
I wish that that were the only time that I could say this LP came off as being less than brilliant. ‘Biggie’ is a tribute track gone wrong. The feeble, sung hook and un-impressive rhymes by Junior M.A.F.I.A. really don’t do the memory of Biggie justice, I commend Junior M.A.F.I.A. for wanting to do something as a tribute to Biggie, but making this track (and hearing it before it was released) was a mistake.
There are other instances where I was completely disappointed with the LP, but if I talk too much about them, it will seem as if the 6.5/10 score I gave this LP was undeserving, when I feel it was.
Though Puffy made a fair amount of mistakes with this LP, in an attempt to increase sales, adding Eminem, the Hot Boys and Meth and Redman to some of Biggie’s tracks, was a good idea. The first track which was said to be on ‘Born Again’ was the track ‘Dead Wrong.’ This track had several versions in circulation for months. But, they decided to add the remix to the LP, the remix featured Eminem. And is hot. It’s grown on me immensely over a period of about three weeks. A definitely great addition. ‘Hope You Niggaz Sleep’ is without a doubt a surprise to me. Though I haven’t actively taken an interest in the Hot Boys, I had an idea of them as being, well, shit. But this track with Biggie is damned funky, haha. The beat on the cut is pure brilliance, and along with Biggie’s dope verse, Juvenile, BG, Turk and Lil’ Wayne drop some nice verses making a really impressive cut.
There are also a few cuts, which people may have heard, but which are rare, which are featured on ‘Born Again,’ and, they are well worth peeping. ‘To All My Niggas’ and ‘Come On’ featuring Sadat X are pretty damn dope. ‘Come On’ especially. The hook is chanted, and combined with a dope beat, Biggie and Sadat create a dope track. There’s also the ‘Who Shot Ya (Remix),’ which was released on a 12″, but still remains pretty rare to this day.
The LP is a compilation of tracks chosen by Puff Daddy. It contains some good choices, but also some very bad choices. Basically, if you’re a big Biggie fan, pick it up, but remember, he won’t benefit from it.
MUSIC ICON THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. TO HAVE WAX FIGURE UNVEILED BY HIS MOTHER, MS. VOLETTA WALLACE, AT MADAME TUSSAUDS NEW YORK
Members of the Brooklyn High School of the Arts’ choir will perform songs in honor of Biggie
In a moving tribute to her son, Ms. Voletta Wallace will unveil a wax figure of the legendary Biggie Smalls (born: Christopher Wallace) on Thursday, October 25th at 11:00 a.m. at Madame Tussauds New York, 234 West 42nd St. (b/w 7th & 8th Aves.), Manhattan. After the figure is unveiled, 23 high school students from Brooklyn – where Biggie was born and raised – will honor him by singing “I’ll Be Missing You,” a tribute song released shortly after Biggie’s death, and gospel song, “I’ll Fly Away.” The students are members of the Brooklyn High School of the Arts’ choir.
Biggie’s figure dons a white three-piece suit, white hat and white shoes and is standing with one hand in its pocket and the other hand resting on a gold and wood cane. Madame Tussauds’ studio artists studied hundreds of photos and hours of video footage of Biggie to create the figure and to ensure that they captured Biggie’s spirit and demeanor, as well as his physical likeness.
Biggie is largely recognized by the music community as one of the greatest rap artists of all time. His influence on and absence from the hip hop community can still be felt today – more than 10 years after his tragic death.
Madame Tussauds visitors will be able to take photos with and even hug Biggie’s figure, which will be housed in its own room on the attraction’s ninth floor. As guests approach the figure, they can use parts of their body to break moving multi-colored light beams to trigger clips of Biggie’s songs to play.
WHEN: Thursday, October 25
TIME: 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Madame Tussauds New York 234 West 42nd Street (b/w 7th & 8th Aves.) Manhattan
A former business associate of music mogul Sean (Diddy) Combs has filed a $19-million lawsuit against Combs for music by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.
James Sabatino was a consultant for Combs’s Bad Boy Entertainment Inc.
Rapper Notorious B.I.G. with producer Sean Combs (right) leave a Los Angeles party in March 1997, shortly before the rapper was shot to death. B.I.G.’s music and video footage is at the centre of a lawsuit filed by a former associate of Combs.Rapper Notorious B.I.G. with producer Sean Combs (right) leave a Los Angeles party in March 1997, shortly before the rapper was shot to death. B.I.G.’s music and video footage is at the centre of a lawsuit filed by a former associate of Combs. (Associated Press)
He says he flew B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, to Miami in 1994 to perform a show and record music. The rapper recorded 17 minutes of vocals and the session was also filmed for a video.
The lawsuit claims the music that was made and the 90 minutes of video belong to Sabatino because he paid for Wallace’s travel expenses and studio time. However, a contract was never signed.
Wallace was shot and killed in 1997 in Los Angeles after leaving a party. His homicide remains unsolved and in 2006, the L.A. police department launched an official inquiry into his death.
At the time of his death, Wallace and Bad Boy Entertainment were embroiled in a feud with Death Row Records founder Marion (Suge) Knight and Death Row star, rapper Tupac Shakur. Continue Article
Shakur was shot to death in Las Vegas six months before Wallace’s killing. Knight has denied any involvement in Wallace’s killing.
Later in 1997, Combs agreed to buy the music and footage from Sabatino for $200,000. Combs gave him a cheque for $25,000, promising the rest of the money in 60 days, according to court documents.
Combs has said he did not provide the rest of the payment because police had named Sabatino as a person of interest in the rapper’s slaying.
Sabatino and B.I.G. were scheduled to meet the night of the killing but Sabatino never showed up.
Sabatino filed the suit from prison. He was sent to jail on an unrelated charge.
The $19 million covers both actual and punitive damages.