Ready To Die.
Ready to die is one of my favorite albums.
Not just from hip-hop but of music period. It's a classic to me because there are no "skipables" and every song provokes many legitimate emotions. Biggie put the raw feelings that we all feel into true lyrics. Many artists today just get on the mic and spit some lyrics that will either a) get the club jumping, b) sound like a phenomenal simile/metaphor, or c) glamorize the amount of money they make. Where's the story? Where's the content? What happened to the truth? Nobody is making "Juicy" or "Brenda Had A Baby" these days.
And there was a huge shift from Big's "Ready To Die" to "Life After Death". He wasn't on the same shit like Jay-Z has been for 10 albums. "Ready To Die" explains why it was rough, what he did to survive, his state of mind and the stress. "Life After Death" explains how he finally made it out alive, his new perspective on life and how he treasures it.
The first track is an intro that visualizes Big's life starting from when his mother struggled to raise him by herself to big robbing a train and eventually leaving prison. "I'm trying to get paid"
I always thought about the meaning behind the title 'Ready To Die'. I've interpreted it a few different ways. One might spend an entire lifetime trying their hardest to get to a certain point, to "make it" or to "get on" and when they finally do reach that point, they're ready to die because there is no higher point. This is the climax. This album also includes Homicidal narratives so another interpretation maybe for a victim to be ready to die. In a diffferent perspective, this album contains Suicidal narratives so Big might be talking about killing himself perhaps in more ways than one. There's a point in a artists life where they exert soo much energy into a masterpiece that it literally drains and exhausts them.
Or this is real suicide note, where Big really feels the raw emotion to be dead. Perhaps he felt he did not fit into this world, or the world did not fit with him. It's impossible to restart on life, Biggie fucked everything up early on and saw no way out but death. "All my life I been considered as the worst. Lyin' to my mother, even stealin' out her purse" "My life is played out like a jheri curl, I'm ready to die"
And the last way I can interpret Ready To Die- Big lived one life and had one personality up until he finally started getting in the booth with Diddy and started forming a new life. Everything was changing. Life was changing. "Now I'm in the limelight 'cause I rhyme tight. Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade" The Christopher Wallace that once was, was forming into a newer character, shed from his very own history.
Big was only 21 when he recorded Ready To Die. What does it take to contemplate death at such a young age? But this is what you get when you are hungry and you actually live this. To many listeners such as myself, these words appeal to me as...something hardcore with dark context. But to the artist, it was real life. And it was daily. As a young writer, I find it difficult to please the reader and incorporate a true deeper meaning so I'll often leave one or the other out. Biggie made it possible to create a masterpiece suitable for kickin' back and bumpin' or to find a poetical truth in the context.