Mister Cee introduced a young Christopher Wallace to the world through the Source’s Unsigned Hype column. Soon after, producer Puff Daddy signed him to his start up label, Bad Boy Records. This was Biggie’s debut album.
1. Intro – Production: Puff Daddy
Intro track starts with a childbirth that rolls into Curtis Mayfield’s Supafly beat and other samples throughout the eras of Biggie’s existance. They are there to demonstrate times in his life from birth to childhood, hustling and jail.
2. Things Done Changed – Production: Darnell Scott
The song is about how the streets have changed. The beat is laid back and BIG flows nicely with it. The chorus is sampled from Dre’s “Lil Ghetto Boy”. A good track about the everyday struggle and one of the albums shining moments.
3. Gimme the Loot – Production: Easy Mo Bee
A good hard and funked out beat, Biggie flows split-personality talking back and forth about pulling off a heist. Hard lyrics and a tight flow. Simple chorus works for the concept of the track.
4. Machine Gun Funk – Production: Easy Mo Bee
Song has a good beat sampled from the Lords of the Underground. Biggie comes out spitting right from the start. Crazy flow and lyrics that make your head nod. One of the top tracks of Big’s career.
5. Warning – Production: Easy Mo Bee
An Issac Hayes sample so you know it’s straight funk. One of BIG’s first storytelling tracks. Highlight is the phone call where he spits back and forth with himself. Nice lyrics and flow that make you totally ignore any production.
6. Ready to Die – Production: Easy Mo Bee
The album’s title track, BIG comes spitting right off the get-go. Production is average for Easy Mo Bee but still hard, the scratches take you back. The flow is unbelievable.
7. One More Chance – Production: Bluez Brothers/ Chucky Thompson
A very simple beat but it plays well with Biggie’s flow on the track. A relationship song that takes a while to get started but once it does BIG makes you forget about the beat with his style on the track.
8. #!*@ Me (Interlude) – Production: Puff Daddy
An interlude to the sounds of sex that follows the previous track.
9. The What ft. Method Man – Production: Easy Mo Bee
A slow funky beat along with slow verses laid down by Meth and BIG. Neither are too exceptional considering the combo, but it’s still better than most today. The two work well together and the chorus is mad catchy.
10. Juicy ft. Total – Production: Puff Daddy/Poke
Best track on the album. The production is off the chains. BIG’s flow and lyrics are hard to match in any track. All around an incredible song. He shows his versitile flow. “blow up like the World Traaade Center”. A song anyone can dig.
11. Everyday Struggle – Production: Norman & Digga/Bluez Brothers
A nicely produced track. BIG kicks in with one of the best choruses on the album, they almost remind you of something 2Pac would do. Lyrics and flow are incredible. Delievery on this track is unmatched.
12. Me and My ***** – Production: Norman & Digga/Chucky Thompson/ Puff Daddy
A good relationship track with a nice flow by BIG. The chorus is a little too simple, it isn’t very catchy and makes you want Biggie to keep rhyming. Production is tight but it should be with 4 producers working on it.
13. Big Poppa – Production: Chucky Thompson/ Puff Daddy
Production for this track is just insane and the flow Big delievers shows his ability to do it better than anyone else. Lyrics are on point. Chorus is tight. It’s one of the albums singles.
14. Respect – Production: Poke/Puff Daddy
A funky beat that’s off the hook. BIG lays down some nice lyrics and flows over the beat incredibly. Just check out when he says his birthdate. Who do you know can do it like that? Decent track.
15. Friend of Mine – Production: Easy Mo Bee
A faster track for the album but that doesn’t keep Biggie from faltering. He lays it down perfectly, lyrics and production are on point. Chorus sould be better but it’s outshined by the verses and beat so you forget about it.
16. Unbelievable – Production: DJ Premier
A storytelling song about what makes BIG so good. But he proves it not with the words but his delivery of them. Good production.
17. Suicidal Thoughts – Production: Lord Finesse
A song about killing yourself. It finishes off the concept of the album. The lyrics and sound Big has in his voice give the feeling of depression and the concept is delivered perfectly. The production is average. A deep track that ends the album leaving you hanging.
Biggie’s debut album will go down in history. The concept of the album about being in the everyday struggle to the point of not caring whether you live or die is delievered nicely. the Notorious BIG stepped into the game and set new standards lyrically while debuting his flow that can’t be matched. His ability to storytell is showcased nicely. I can’t think of many rappers that make you forget about the production because they almost make their own with their style of flowing over a beat.
The album is definetely a strong album. While it’s highly considered a classic, there are areas that could be improved. Choruses sometimes took down a strong track. The production failed at moments. BIG came through strong and it’s an album everyone should own, but as a classic, it could be better.