21 years ago on this day, September 13, The Notorious B.I.G gave Hip Hop his classic debut album "Ready to Die". Along with rappers such as Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie helped give the east coast hip hop scene life again. This was a time where the hip hop scene was being dominated by west coast rappers, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, etc. This album helped snatch the mic back and put the focus back on where it all started, New York.
The album's lead single "Juicy" released on August 8, 1994. It took the rap game by storm, it left fans dazed. Only 4 years after he started rapping, he released a track that put everyone's focus on him. He would come to release two more singles "Big Poppa" and "One More Chance" both going on to become certified platinum. Biggie went from a your neighborhood drug dealer to a household name.
Upon the albums release, there was enormous buzz surrounding the artist. He had already cemented a bright future for himself. The album dropped and it was a hit. Certified gold within two months, certified platinum a year and a month after its release, and certified 4x platinum in 1999. Sadly, he was not able to see the last. While many of my peers don't have this album in their iPod rotation, I still find myself playing it at high volumes whether I'm in my car, room, or walking down the street.
My favorite track of this album is "The What". There is a little bias here since it features my all time favorite rapper Method Man a.k.a Tical, a.k.a Johny Blaze, a.k.a The Iron Lung, a.k.a Mr. Tibbs, a.k.a Grandma dynamite...hopefully I don't end up how Pookie did after that. However, bias aside this track is phenomenal. The chemistry and energy these two have makes this track notable. Method Man steals the show with his sick rhymes, and though Biggie comes hard too, it's Method that takes this track home. Biggie clearly knew what he was doing when he made him the only feature on this album, ignoring his issues with Meth's fellow Wu Tang affiliates Ghostface Killah and Raekwon.
Biggie would go on to complete one more album title "Life After Death" before his tragic murder in 1997, that was released after his death. He only saw one of his albums drop and is viewed as one of the best rappers of all time. That alone displays the greatness of his work. He inspired many rappers during his time and even today, we still hear the inspiration in hip hop through the lyrics, flow, and sound of rappers. If you haven't heard this album yet...well you might want to reevaluate your love for hip hop.