Series – Greatest Hits: Notorious B.I.G.

I’m no expert, when it comes to this artist’s output, but I’ve heard enough to know he was one of the smoothest, most exciting rappers in the game.

This mix is a bit of a misnomer. It is a greatest hits, of sorts, with songs like the monster Juicy and One More Chance/Stay With Me and F@*k You Tonight here and worth every second. However, let’s get through the problems with it first:

1) There are glaring omissions. Even for a single disc Hits set of this guy’s work, where in hell is Mo Money Mo Problems? I’ll Be Missing You? Goin’ Back To Cali? Sky’s The Limit? I could go on. This could have been a 2CD set, easily.

2) Several of the songs here were posthumous, and seem more like a chance to get Eminem and Nelly on the disc – as if they needed help selling the album. I can see the argument that maybe they were trying to represent stuff heard while he was alive and after, but for a 1-CD set with 17 songs, it just feels a bit disjointed, slap-dash, a bit all over the map.

Actually, come to think of it, it’s only 15 songs because of the two new songs here too, Running Your Mouth and Want That Old Thing Back, which only stengthens the argument.

3) This wasn’t put out until ten years after his death. 10 years! Too long. Far too long.

And now, the things I did like about it:

It’s Biggie. So you know what you’re getting. That voice, like no other, big and warm and roomy. That smooth and genius flow, which I always equated with a paraphrasing of Howlin’ Wolf’s classic song, in that it’s “built for comfort, not built for speed.” Even when he raps faster, it still feels like a Cadillac.  Absolutely soulful grooves and stories to tell.

Even the humour, like in Big Poppa where he rhymes “throw your hands in the ay-er / like you a true play-er,” (oh man) and “cause I see some ladies tonight who should be havin’ my baby” cracks me up every time. On the flip side, there’s real violence in songs like Who Shot Ya (among others), which just reflects the life too.

These are big and easy beats, with great rapping over the top. You knew it would be. But may I be about the millionth person who says just go buy Ready To Die and Life After Death. This hits set would only fill in a couple of gaps, after that.

4 thoughts on “Series – Greatest Hits: Notorious B.I.G.

  1. keepsmealive says:

    Also, if y’all saw another post appear briefly in your reader this morning, and then disappear, that was me clicking Publish when I meant to schedule it. It’s all fixed now. On the bright side, you know there’s more KMA goodness headed your way!


  2. Sarca says:

    This was a great, review Aaron!! Couldn’t have encompassed Biggie any better than how you did right here. I love me some Biggie. And a greatest hits without Mo Money Mo Problems? FOR SHAME!!
    And let me just say: no need to have Eminem and “It’s getting hot in herre” Nelly. Biggie is good in his own right. (Sounds like they are trying to piggie-back Nelly on Biggie’s success…Get your own career Nelly!)


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks Sarca! It was a bit hard to write up this disc. I mean, I enjoyed it, but I kept missing things and thinking I would have done it differently… According to the internets, we can thank Diddy for this disc.

      If it had been up to me, I’d have done a 2CD set: disc 1 would be the hits from the two albums, and disc 2 would have been extra stuff, posthumous tracks, live stuff, whatever. But keep the album hits intact, ya know?

      Nelly. Haha. Oh man.

      Liked by 1 person

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