Every March 9th, the hip-hop community feels a pinch of pain in their heart when they’re reminded of one of their fallen saviors. This year would have been Christopher Wallace, The Notorious B.I.G.’s 39th birthday. It makes you think: What would the poet laureate of Brooklyn think if he turned on hot 97 today?
One of my biggest regrets in life is not having been born ten years earlier so I could have been alive and conscious during 1994 when the landmark album Ready to Die dropped. Unfortunately, I wasn’t, and I can only imagine my jaw dropping and my brain throbbing as I played the album on repeat. This album bridged the gap between the people who lived on the streets of Brooklyn and the rest of the world. I would have been learning a history seldom seen in textbooks, spoken not by anyone with a degree in sociology or in psychology, but by a petty hustler turned voice of a frustrated generation.
The first song on Ready to Die, “Things Done Changed,” is one of the most emotional, unapologetic, and bitterly realistic depictions of life ever put to a beat.
shit, it’s hard being young from the slums eatin five cent gums not knowin where your meals comin from
And now the shit’s gettin crazier and major Kids younger than me, they got the Sky grand Pagers
Goin outta town, blowin up Six months later all the dead bodies showin up
It make me wanna grab the nine and the shottie But I gotta go identify the body
Damn, what happened to the summertime cookouts? Everytime I turn around a nigga gettin took out
Shit, my momma got cancer in her breast Don’t ask me why I’m motherfuckin stressed, things done changed
Every time I hear a new rap song, I unfortunately cannot help myself from comparing to this epic portrayal of mid 1990’s life in Brooklyn. Nobody told it like he did; nobody could paint a picture of pain and of struggle like Biggie and I miss that. People come close, but nobody lets us into their lives like he did. He didn’t just open the door and let you take a peak; he opened the door, shoved you in, and showed you the darkest skeletons in his closet.
I wonder what Biggie would think if he was driving his car through his hometown this March 9th while he celebrated his 39th birthday. I imagine he’d say something like, “shit my ringtone is worth the same amount as Soulja Boys ringtone?” Maybe he’d be disappointed, maybe he’d be happy, or maybe he wouldn’t care. All I know that is when I turn on the radio on March 9th, whatever I hear I’m going to instantly compare to “Things Done Changed.” Rest easy Biggie, we miss you down here. – Corey Teich
Things Done Changed- Notorious B.I.G.
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AMAZING. Biggie changed the world and will never be forgotten