When Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., was just 21, he began recording one of the most influential rap albums of all time, Ready to Die. The album went on to become a classic and little did he or anyone know at the time, but it is the project that solidified the rapper as a legend.
Most music enthusiasts are fans of the album and in some way, shape or form have been changed or inspired by the project, including mogul Russell Simmons.
“The day he died, I can tell you that what I learned from that experience — that and Tupac’s album. What I’m talking about these young kids is that they’ve got new ideas that come out in real struggle but then you can give them a new idea that comes out of survival,” Simmons told BET.com. “I think that’s really what I want my artists to do is survive. So when I get an artist out of the street who has a real hood mentality, I want to be able to change it just enough so that they survive and they can tell the story of the street but not live it.”
Beyond inspiring behind-the-scenes masterminds, artists like Remy Ma took a lot away from Ready to Die.
“My favorite record, I would have to say is, and it’s hard to pick one favorite, but ‘Gimme the Loot’ was my joint,” she said.
Clearly inspired by the Notorious B.I.G., Remy also noted that his flow, wordplay and delivery was, in her words, “crazy,” and with a certain look of nostalgia showed how inspired she was by Biggie.
The Notorious B.I.G. has often been imitated, but will never ever be duplicated because he revolutionized hip hop in the way that people heard stories being told and because of the retro samples used to enhance the production of the tracks. He was unique and one of his collaborators, Kelly Price, said it best, “[The] Notorious B.I.G. was an incredible talent. The world will never see another one of him.” We couldn’t agree more, Kelly.
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(Photo: Adger Cowans/Getty Images)