Biggie’s Big Change

Some thoughts on an artist’s evolution:

The later parts of Biggie’s career is pretty cool.

The first track off his album “Life After Death,” is the super-famous song “Hypnotize.” It has the chorus “And I just love your flashy ways/ Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid.” He spends lots of money, and then gets more money to spend because he’s a big spender.


This song, like most of his other work, is really smooth. The music video, also, is a lot of fun – helicopters chasing boats, cars, other expensive things and such. That said, it’s a lot different than the start of his career.

Biggie is one of the artists people categorize as being part of “the golden age of hip-hop.” Let’s take a look at the first album our friend the Notorious B.I.G made: Ready to Die. The golden age-y part of his career is a little different.

Genius user diplopotamus describes the album perfectly: “[Biggie] is a monster, a beast, a charismatic killer. He can sound playful or intimidating, thuggish or erudite, fat or fatter.”

We’ll focus on the track “Juicy” because the song’s literally about hip-hop.

This track is also about money, success, and the like. But the difference I see is that he’s comparing that stuff to his old life and, more than anything, trying to be an inspiration.

“I made the change from a common thief/ to up close and personal with Robin Leach,” for example. For those of you who don’t know, I looked it up and Robin Leach hosted a show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Biggie talks about the struggle he came from and where he ended up. He talks about critically important (even 23 years later as I write this) racial issues with the line “stereotypes of a black male misunderstood.”

Following the lyrics of the song, the video features both his old life in a big city and Biggie’s new, luxurious, mansion lifestyle.

What I’m saying is, I think the later music is less inspirational even if it might be more fun.

The message with the old music is work hard and you can get to the top. The new music is about staying at the top. I’m not saying any of it isn’t “real”… Big was just talking about his life – he was a rich guy talking about what it’s like to be rich. I just think it’s more important for kids to know how to get rich than for them to know what it’s like once you are.

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