Sunday, March 11, 2012


"Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant the livest one, representing BK to the fullest..." pretty much set the tone for the one and only Christopher Wallace to wax poetic over the dope DJ Premier production "Unbelievable".  This gem on the debut album Ready To Die was, in my opinion, the highlight of the album, because it put B.I.G., Biggie, Notorious B.I.G., whatever you wanted to call him, in a lyrical zone.  Premo has a way of bringing out the best in an MC (see Nas, Jay-Z, Guru, Jeru, etc.).  That way is evident with "Unbelievable". 

"Unbelievable" Link:

The body of the song was crafted from the Quincy Jones joint entitled "Kitty With A Bent Frame", a 1971 creation from the album New Orleans:  A Quincy Jones HeistThis song provided the rhythmic bounce that Premo needed to craft the soundbed for Biggie to spit fiery lyrics
Most hip hop heads (and music fans in general) remembered Biggie on this past March 9th, the fifteenth anniversary of his untimely death. 

"Kitty With A Bent Frame" Sample Link:

Reflect and respect the lyrical architect that was Notorious B.I.G.  He was able to show on this Premo track that he was a battle-ready MC of the highest degree, and his influence is still evident in a plethora of hip hop artists today.  Even with a recent WEAA 88.9 Strictly Hip Hop panel that I participated in, Biggie was voted as the #3 of All Time Best MCs.  That is a huge accomplishment for said artist that only had the opportunity to record two full-length albums.  His discography is not as deep as his forever attached-at-the-hip counterpart Tupac Shakur, but the depth of his material spoke loud and clear.  Of course this isn't a diatribe against 'Pac, because I deeply appreciated his poetic and revolutionary lyricism (when not being misogynistic).  What I am saying is that Biggie Smalls, even with the bravado, crassness, and sometimes violent imagery, was able to paint urban despair in such a manner as to give hope.  You may not be able to recognize that at first, second, or third glimpse, but the unique artistry is there.  Even the bleakness of the album title, Ready To Die, was probably a misnomer.  I don't believe he was ready to die, even in that crack era of '94.  With a daughter to support, a mother to ultimately make proud, a rising "all up in the video" young executive to prove himself to, B.I.G. wasn't ready to have his death certificate signed.  By his second stellar album, Life After Death, he was ready to LIVE.  Unfortunately, that will to live beyond his urban, Brooklynite circumstances was extinguished.  What we have from him is a legacy that will carry on for years and generations to come.  Christopher George Latore Wallace was indeed "Unbelievable"!

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