Christopher Wallace is the greatest rapper of all time.
Some purists might say Rakim or whoever but what Big did with a microphone will always be inspirational. I think the best part about all of it is that he made it look so easy. Big took to rapping the way a Republican takes to a tax cut. Dude was an amazing talent. So much so that on March 9th 2018, the 21st anniversary of his death, I have to give Ready to Die another spin.
The first time I listened to Ready to Die I was 14 standing outside of a mall in Canada, I was alone, with no cell phone and a 3 day Canadian visa. All I had to my name was a creased up pair of Air Forces, a brand new copy of Ready to Die and a CD Player. When I pressed play that first time everything changed. This was the first album I ever FELT. Today I found Ready to Die on Tidal and pressed play, the minute the intro hit I got that same feeling.
Ready to Die is the grimiest yet cleanest album I've ever heard. It's like a rest stop bathroom with a brand new Dyson Hand Dryer. BIG makes Brooklyn seem terrifying, poverty sound horrific and robbery sound like a very feasible career. I think my favorite part of the album is how memorable it is. Play it through one time and you will remember every single line. It's like magic.
Ready to Die is so good that you don't mind hearing Diddy say the most absurdly gangsta shit in his Sean Diddy Combs ass voice. Diddy literally says "nah we gon' make you suffer" and my first thought was "oh shit he's gonna make us listen to Da Band's album". However Big is so believable that you immediately trust him to sign all the checks Diddy's ass can't cash.
This album is what Hip Hop is all about. Grandiose death threats over menacing beats, made accessible with the Biggie's natural charisma. I remember one night I heard 4 white college students walk down the street and loudly rap Gimmie the Loot with so much enthusiasm they failed to see the irony that they would probably be the robbery victims. Christopher Wallace was for the people.
If I gotta think of one flaw it would have to be the skits. I love Biggie, if I was a little more reckless I'd have a Biggie tattoo, but I do not need to hear him have sex. I repeat, I do not need to hear him have sex. The sex skits are so real that I can smell the room. I do not need to smell Badussy when I listen to music word to Bernie Mac.
Ready to Die changed my life, it changed hip-hop, shit it changed the WORLD. Play Juicy at any party and I guarantee a "woke" white person will slip up and say "Nigga" because thats the power of Big. I don't need to give this album a rating but for the sake of my brand I will. I give Ready to Die 10 Coogi Sweaters out of 10.