Ready to Die

Performers The Notorious B.I.G.

Bad Boy Entertainment | November 21, 2006 | Compact Disc

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The album that reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star, and vaulted Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy label into the spotlight as well. Today it's recognized as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums ever recorded, and that's mostly due to Biggie's skill as a storyteller. His raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking -- he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession. He's blessed with a flair for the dramatic, and slips in and out of different contradictory characters with ease. Yet, no matter how much he heightens things for effect, it's always easy to see elements of Biggie in his narrators and of his own experience in the details; everything is firmly rooted in reality, but plays like scenes from a movie. A sense of doom pervades his most involved stories: fierce bandits ("Gimme the Loot"), a hustler's beloved girlfriend ("Me & My Bitch"), and robbers out for Biggie's newfound riches ("Warning") all die in hails of gunfire. The album is also sprinkled with reflections on the soul-draining bleakness of the streets -- "Things Done Changed," "Ready to Die," and "Everyday Struggle" are powerfully affecting in their confusion and despair. Not everything is so dark, though; Combs' production collaborations result in some upbeat, commercial moments, and typically cop from recognizable hits: the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on the graphic sex rap "One More Chance," Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" on the rags-to-riches chronicle "Juicy," and the Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets" on the overweight-lover anthem "Big Poppa." Producer Easy Mo Bee's deliberate beats do get a little samey, but it hardly matters: this is Biggie's show, and by the time "Suicidal Thoughts" closes the album on a heartbreaking note, it's clear why he was so revered even prior to his death. [In 2004, Bad Boy issued a remastered version of Ready to Die with two bonus tracks: a slightly longer version of "Who Shot Ya" than the one that appeared on Born Again and a rough and funky track, "Just Playing," which was originally found on the bootleg Unreleased & Unleashed. If the bonus tracks are underwhelming, the collection makes up for it with a bonus DVD that includes four Biggie videos and a short but stunning live performance of "Unbelievable."] ~ Steve Huey

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: November 21, 2006

Genre: East Coast Rap

Style: R&B

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1994

Label Name: Bad Boy Entertainment

UPC: 075679456724

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– More About This Product –

Ready to Die

Performers The Notorious B.I.G.
Guest Artist(s) Diana King, Method Man, Total
Producer Carl "Chucky" Thompson, Darnell Scott, Easy Mo Bee, Norman & Digga Bluez Brothers, Sean "Puffy" Combs
Engineer Bob Brockman, Greg Pinto, Rick Travali

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: November 21, 2006

Genre: East Coast Rap

Style: R&B

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1994

Label Name: Bad Boy Entertainment

UPC: 075679456724


Title Track Time
1.Intro --
2.Things Done Changed --
3.Gimme The Loot --
4.Machine Gun Funk --
5.Warning --
6.Ready To Die --
7.One More Chance --
8.#!*@ Me (Interlude) --
9.What, The - (with Method Man) --
10.Juicy --
11.Everyday Struggle --
12.Me & My Bitch --
13.Big Poppa --
14.Respect --
15.Friend Of Mine --
16.Unbelievable --
17.Suicidal Thoughts --
18.Who Shot Ya --
19.Just Playing (Dreams) --

Editorial Notes

The album that reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star, and vaulted Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy label into the spotlight as well. Today it's recognized as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums ever recorded, and that's mostly due to Biggie's skill as a storyteller. His raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking -- he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession. He's blessed with a flair for the dramatic, and slips in and out of different contradictory characters with ease. Yet, no matter how much he heightens things for effect, it's always easy to see elements of Biggie in his narrators and of his own experience in the details; everything is firmly rooted in reality, but plays like scenes from a movie. A sense of doom pervades his most involved stories: fierce bandits ("Gimme the Loot"), a hustler's beloved girlfriend ("Me & My Bitch"), and robbers out for Biggie's newfound riches ("Warning") all die in hails of gunfire. The album is also sprinkled with reflections on the soul-draining bleakness of the streets -- "Things Done Changed," "Ready to Die," and "Everyday Struggle" are powerfully affecting in their confusion and despair. Not everything is so dark, though; Combs' production collaborations result in some upbeat, commercial moments, and typically cop from recognizable hits: the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on the graphic sex rap "One More Chance," Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" on the rags-to-riches chronicle "Juicy," and the Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets" on the overweight-lover anthem "Big Poppa." Producer Easy Mo Bee's deliberate beats do get a little samey, but it hardly matters: this is Biggie's show, and by the time "Suicidal Thoughts" closes the album on a heartbreaking note, it's clear why he was so revered even prior to his death. [In 2004, Bad Boy issued a remastered version of Ready to Die with two bonus tracks: a slightly longer version of "Who Shot Ya" than the one that appeared on Born Again and a rough and funky track, "Just Playing," which was originally found on the bootleg Unreleased & Unleashed. If the bonus tracks are underwhelming, the collection makes up for it with a bonus DVD that includes four Biggie videos and a short but stunning live performance of "Unbelievable."] ~ Steve Huey
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