In this section of our site you can read our own independant reviews, see our ratings out of 5, and read our opinions on the official albums released by Biggie Smalls!
Ready To Die (September 13, 1994):
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. Overall the production, split mostly between Easy Mo Bee and Sean "Puffy" Combs, is heavy bottomed and slick, but B.I.G.'s rhymes are the showstoppers. The tracks only enhance them, whether it's the live bass driving a menacing undercurrent beneath the surface of "Everyday Struggle" or Mo Bee's alluring use of bluesy guitar and wah-wah feedback in "Ready to Die," "Me and My Bitch" and "Machine Gun Funk" to push the rapper to new heights. "Juicy" sets up Biggie's rags-to-riches story, and the Smash Hit Single "Big Poppa" will just blow you away, beat and lyrcis wise, but then the curtain gets pulled back, with unapologetic, hardcore tracks like "Gimme the Loot" and "Machine Gun Funk. Ready to Die is the strongest solo rap debut since Ice Cube's 'Amerikkka's Most Wanted'. From the breathtakingly visual moments of his birth in the albums Intro, to his hard-hitting 'death' in "Suicidal Thoughts," B.I.G. proves a captivating listen. It's difficult to get him out of your head once you sample what he has to offer.
Life After Death (March 25, 1997):
After his debut album of Ready To Die, Biggie was now he proclaimed king of East-Coast rap, but he outdid even his standard on his 2 CD, 24 track, Life After Death album. The 2 CD set revels in death, especially on "Niggaz Bleed," "Somebody's Gotta Die," and "You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You)," but it's painfully clear that Biggie, a father of two, wanted to see his kids grow up on "Sky Is the Limit" and "Miss U," both of which point to the future and are excellent smooth cuts. Unfortuantely Biggie never got to see his next masterpiece unfold and achieve such high heights as he was murdered drive-by style just weeks before the release of the album. Determined to show support for his best friend, his producer, P.Diddy, released the album just weeks later and it was sure enough a massive success, aswell as a tribute to the late, great, Biggie Smalls! Many of the songs revel in death, such as 'Somebody's Gotta Die', 'Niggaz Bleed', and 'You're Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You)', and it seems as if Biggie saw the end coming. If you've seen any of the final interviews with him, especially the ones done after 2Pac's death, he seems consumed by fear and paranoia, and listening to this album it's very obvious. But it will still bring a smile to your face hearing him bounce postively on uptempo tracks like the G-Funk flavor of 'Going Back to Cali' and perrenial anthems like 'Hypnotize' and 'Mo Money Mo Problems'. While the entire album does contain occasional clunkers, courtesy of some mediocre production, Biggie's booming voice commands your attention and respect, and makes the daunting listen pay off in the end. The album also serves as a testament to Biggie's flexibility: he adopts Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's rapid rhyme flow and Midwestern beats when they guest on "Notorious Thugs," and he then kicks it Wu-tang style as 'RZA' jacks an old Al Green beat with 'Long Kiss Goodnight'. The album has now gone on to sell 10 million copies, and 10 million people cant be wrong in thinking, and knowing, this is a superb album, in almost every way!
Born Again (December 7, 1999):
Considering it was released almost three years after his death, it'd be easy to dismiss the Notorious B.I.G.'s third album as a cash-in, to bring life to puff daddy's dying record label, or merely a tribute album, but the album does have some very decent tracks. The album uses unreleased and unheard rhymes from biggie, including freestyles and half recorded songs, aswell as full songs Big had recorded before his death, so fans can once again here some fresh rhymes from Brooklyns finest product. The album is scarred by too many guest artists clogging up the album roster, desperately wanting to promote themselves, and/or pay trbiute to Biggie. But as we know, Biggie never left us as much material as the the also deceased Tupac did (around 12 posthomus albums worth), so these artists are simply filling in the songs that Biggie never finished, but some things are better off left untouched. The orginal version of 'Come On' featuring Sadat X for example, in my view the original was way better, I don't know where Puffy got the beat from, but at least lyrically the song was untouched. There are good points, such as the hit single 'Notorious', it will just blow you away with its pop style beat, influenced by Puffy, and its hard rhyming, from Biggie and Lil Kim. Im no fan of Eminem but 'Dead Wrong' is one of the best tracks on the album, its sound beat wise, for once, and Eminem rips it up alongside the hard rhymes of BIG, showing the other artists featuring on the album, how it should have been done. Also 'Dangerous MC's', and Hope you niggas sleep' are tight tracks, but once again suffer from poor producing. The album is not as good as his previous two, but its still Biggie, and is still a great album. Many have tried, and failed, to use Biggies formula, which shows that Biggie Smalls will always be remembered, and his work will always be regarded as classics! R.I.P.