Acclaimed Albums – Ready To Die by The Notorious B.I.G.

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 235/250Title: Ready To Die
Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.
Year: 1994
Position: #227

It is such a low bar, but to have a second rap album from this era that does not engage in homophobia is so refreshing. Similarly, this is light on the misogyny too outside of some general posturing – instead the focus is just on the storytelling and the sampling, which just made me so stupidly happy. Like I said, both the lack of overt misogyny and homophobia is such a low bar to clear and it’s nice to have another album that jumps over it so I can actually enjoy the music.

One thing to quickly get over is that title:  Ready To Die. Wow. Given how he would be dead before the release of his next album, with a name as weirdly prescient as Life After Death, it isn’t a leap to feel a little bit weird when playing it for the first time. I can only imagine how I will feel listening to their second, posthumously released album when I end up with the Top 1000 list.

Not only was the concept of the album engaging, weaving in his own life as a drug dealer with some bombast, but I think this might be some of the better sounding rapping that I have heard as part of this list. Like he is super clear and controlled and yet you can really appreciate the technique and his flow. At no point did I feel I was getting lost and he always had something interesting to say. Like, again, this isn’t really my genre but I can appreciate it wen it is being done well.


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