Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die debuted in 1994 on this day. Hip-hop just started moving to the forefront of pop-culture after the success of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, and Nas’ Illmatic.

It was the perfect time for Biggie to release his cleverly worded story of life as a dope dealer in Bed Stuy. He had many radio-hit singles like, “Big Poppa”, “Warning”, and “Suicidal Thoughts,” to counterbalance the realness of what he was going to deliver next.

Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G. was 22 years old and about to become one of the nation’s largest icons.

But really… How much do you millenials know about Biggie’s lyrics. Do all the cultural references go over your head or are you still only rapping every lyric to “Juicy” so you sound like a hardcore fan.

Well Fuse TV dug deeper to find out how much millenials really know about some of Biggie’s classic lyrics:

1. “And now the sh-t’s getting crazier and major / Kids younger than me, they got the Sky Grand pagers” – in “Things Done Changed”

Before the iPhone and the Samsung and even the flip-phone that we have all come to know and love… There was something called a pager, a handheld device that allowed folks to hit up their busy friends once you dial that beeper number. The only problem, it took FOREVER to return anyone’s call – compared to the standards of 2014 telecommunication. But in the 90s, that was the wave!

2. “Quick to leave you in a coffin, for slick talkin / You better act like CeCe, and keep on walkin” – in “Ready to Die”

CeCe’s hit “Finally” still gets plenty of play at ’90s-themed dance parties, but Biggie is referring to her song “Keep On Walkin” off her 1992 debut album. But what do y’all really know about the Was early ’90s house divas?

3. “So recognize the d-ck size in these Karl Kani jeans / I wear thirteens, know what I mean?” – in “One More Chance”

You’ve heard Montell Jordan sing about the “guys in Kani,” but the streetwear line was made famous by the titans of ’90s rap – Biggie, Nas and Tupac. Although 20 years have gone by and they aren’t hot any longer, it may change soon since the designer launched a 2015 vintage collection. 90s trends are re-emerging in fashion; who knows?!

4. “Rolex watches and colorful Swatches I’m digging in pockets, motherf-ckers can’t stop it” – in “Gimme The Loot”

Fact: Swatches were once so cool to have, people would wear several Swatches at once! Too bad Swatch is basically the most irrelevant store in the mall. Oh well!

5. “Biggie Smalls is the illest, your style is played out / Like Arnold and that, what you talkin’ bout Willis” – in “The What”

What do y’all know about Diff’rent Strokes, the late ’70s/early ’80s sitcom best known for the late Gary Coleman and his signature catch phrase, “Whatchu talkin’ bout Willis?” It’s sad to think this may slip entirely out of memory and syndication one day… NO! Go google some episodes so you guys can feel knowledgeable and wit not.

6. “Hangin’ pictures on my wall / Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl” – in “Juicy”

Okay guys, make sure if you claim to be a “hip-hop head,” you got to get hip to this. Rap Attack was a hip hop radio show on New York’s WBLS-FM. The launched in 1983 featured hosts Mr. Magic and DJ-producer Marley Marl – one of the few places fans could hear hip hop as it was still defining itself as a genre. YAY! NOW YOU KNOW.

Biggie shouts out more of his DJ heroes later in the song: “Peace to Ron G, Brucie B, Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex, Love Bug Starski.” RIP to another tradition for music lovers: Taping shows off the radio. We remember those days!

7. “Remember Rappin’ Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha / You never thought that hip hop would take it this far” – in “Juicy”

We’re almost positive that you have no idea who “Rappin’ Duke” was. But, we got you! “Rappin’ Duke” references a 1983 novelty song by a man named Shawn Brown, rapping in the style of actor John Wayne. Brown parlayed the success of this “funny” video into a brief career, even opening for Stevie Wonder and Bobby Brown. This also led to future joke raps, from “Do The Bartman” to the “Epic Rap Battles of History” series.

8. “Then I got the phone call, it couldn’t hit me harder / We got infiltrated, like Nino at the Carter” – in “Everyday Struggle”

Nino Brown was Wesley Snipes’ character in New Jack City and head of the Cash Money Brothers gang, Brown turns an apartment complex called The Carter into a giant crack factory that’s eventually infiltrated by undercover cops. We miss you Pookie!

If you haven’t seen New Jack City -_- GET TO NETFLIX! ASAP! And be blown away by all the rap lyrics that will start to make sense to you.

Another New Jack City reference is on “Suicidal Thoughts: “You see it’s kinda like the crack did to Pookie in New Jack / Except when I cross over, there ain’t no coming back.”

9. “Hate to blast you but I have to, you see I smoke a lot / Your life is played out like Kwamé and them f-ckin’ polka dots” – in “Unbelievable”

Kwamé was a teenaged rapper known for his fresh polka dotted fashions. He later went on to produce for LL Cool J, Christina Aguilera and Will Smith, so he probably doesn’t really care the hip-hop icon dissed him.

10. “Should I die on the train track, like Ramo in Beat Street / People at the funeral fronting like they miss me” – in “Suicidal Thoughts”

RAMOOO! The graffiti artist gets electrocuted by the third rail in Beat Street, a 1984 drama based around New York City hip-hop and graffiti culture. Get hip!

Well that’s all for Hip-Hop lessons with Biggie.

Candice Nicole
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Source Fuse TV