Notorious B.I.G.: 15 Years Later

The debate for all-time greatest emcee often comes down to an argument pitting the late greats 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. 15 years ago today, the latter of this pair was murdered. Throughout his all-too-short lifetime, Biggie only released two albums (“Ready to Die” and “Life After Death”), but both were classics. No questions asked. Biggie’s story-telling, flow, and iconic voice catapulted him to the top of the East Coast rap game. If Biggie had lived and continued to consistently put out music as great as his first two albums, he may be considered the inarguable G.O.A.T.

Regardless, the rap industry today still feels the influence of Notorious. Personally, I listened to nothing but Biggie today to commemorate his death. Biggie Smalls, we salute you.

Check out the lyrics Biggie Small’s entire catalogue of music over on RapGenius.

Big KRIT’s “King Pt. 2”

Unfortunately, conscious rapping is very near to it’s death. Back in the 90’s, it strived through Pac, Nas, KRS-One, and, quite frankly, most of the popular rappers. Now, the conscious raps are dwindling down, near to extinction. Sure a few artists are keeping it alive: Nas is still going, Lupe Fiasco is always good for a worldly rap, and Phonte is one of the best at this stuff. But most rappers take the materialistic route these days (i.e. Young Money). However, Big K.R.I.T.’s latest song is a great example of modern conscious rap.

The only King Remembered in Time drops bars about the injustices of the hood, the “trash” on T.V., religion, and more, over the Just Blaze-produced Drake track “Lord Knows” beat. It’s ironic that he gives us this conscious rap over one of the best mainstream beats. The second lines of the song says it best:

“The same game they claim they killing, I’m breathing life in that”

Listen & download the song here.

Check out RapGenius’s lyrical breakdown of the song here.

2Pac Back?

Rick Ross has often likened himself to 2Pac. We heard this in his incessant chant of “2Pac Back, 2Pac Back!”,  and in his feature on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. A lot of times, when people hear Tha Boss make comparisons like this to a legend, they just snicker. I mean, of all the people in the rap game right now, I don’t think that many people would pick Ross to be the most like 2Pac; people like Kendrick Lamar would be much more legitimate candidates. Right?

It seems like Rozay and Pac couldn’t be any more different:

  • 2Pac is certainly a “socially aware” rapper, while that would be one of the last things I would call Rick Ross.
  • 2Pac takes his nickname (Makaveli) from an Italian philosopher, while Ross took his stage name from a drug dealer (Ricky Ross)
  • 2Pac was born in California, while Ross was born on the East Coast in Florida
  • Ross is huge, Pac is skinny…..

So it seems like we’re done. Ross’s claims of being 2Pac are completely absurd.

But really, they aren’t. You can obviously hear the influence of Pac in Ross’s flow. The way he lets the beat speak just as much as he does, and the fact that he uses the right beats on the right songs. They both often speak for the hood often in their music. The success of their music is also very similar, with both artist having dropped three number one albums in their lifetimes (Ross with Port of Miami, Trilla, and Deeper Than Rap; Pac with Me Against the World, All Eyez on Me, and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory).

However, that’s not to say that Rozay is, in fact, Pac reincarnated. Because I don’t believe he is. Pac had 10 Platinum Albums, while Ross has none. Pac was the most popular artist of his generation, while Ross is a little down the list right now. And, I just like Pac’s music better.

But, there is a little validity in the comparison Ross makes between himself and Pac, despite what most people think.

Earl is Home

These days, it seems like I’m the only person who hasn’t hopped on the Odd Future banwagon. Personally, I’ve been against the “OFWGKTA” movement from the start. Well, I guess that’s not fair to say; I’ve honestly only been against Tyler the Creator from the start.

Sure, Tyler is a great producer, and I guess you could call him a decent lyricist, but I’m just not feeling it. I guess it’s just that his lyrics are too nasty for me, it seems more like a horror story than a rap song to me. Rap is supposed to be poetry, and I just can’t see some of the things that Tyler says in any poem.

But, some of the members of Odd Future are alright. I really love Frank Ocean’s music, and I guess I can stomach some of the lesser-known rappers from the group, like MelloHype and Domo Genesis, but what everybody has been telling me is that I should get into Earl Sweatshirt.

Now, I couldn’t really do that with any new music from him, considering that he just now got back from a boarding school or something or Somoa, but I checked out some of his old songs, like “Earl”. Honestly, all I saw was a less-radical, more-lyrical Tyler, but still nothing all too impressive. And when he came home, and dropped his song, “Home”, I still wasn’t that impressed. I read somewhere, though, that he supposedly has matured and is being mentored by the same girl who mentored/managed the late, great 2Pac, Leila Steinberg.

So, if her influence does rub off on him, making him more like Pac, maybe I’ll grow to like Earl. Until then, I am firmly against Odd Future. Sorry, banwagons.