Author Topic: The Notorious B.I.G. - Duets  (Read 510 times)


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The Notorious B.I.G. - Duets
« on: April 29, 2006, 08:40:52 PM »
Ask any rap fan, and a constant favorite among them is "Biggie Smalls" Notorious B.I.G. Even after being dead for eight years, Biggie's debut album 'Ready To Die' is still garnered as a classic all around the world. Murdered in a still unsolved case, many people wondered if they would ever hear a new Biggie album again. 'Life After Death' was released only 2 weeks after his death, and 'Born Again' was released in 1999. Nothing has officially been released from B.I.G. until now. The album basis of 'Duets' is all brand new tracks, produced by the game's finest, and each track with a special appearance by your favorite rappers. Released through Bad Boy Records by one of his close friends, Diddy, there is finally one last album, a final chapter...

The album begins with an introduction of Biggie live in Jamaica at a concert, which leads into a bassline with Eminem starting his verse for 'The Most Shady'. Obie Trice and Diddy lay their verses, as Biggie's adlibs creep over the track, adding to the anticipation of Biggie's first verse on the album. Which comes in the next track, 'Spit Your Game', featuring Twista and Krayzie Bone. An upbeat anthem, the exclamation on this track is Twista and a Bone Thugs member collaborating together, catching both of their fast-rap styles on one track.

'Whatchu Want' features Jay-Z, in a clash of N.Y.'s greatest. Big Pun, Fat Joe, and Freeway join Biggie on 'Get Your Grind On'. an ode to protecting yourself on the block. 'Living The Life' has more of a summer anthem feel. Ludacris delivers a nice verse after Biggie's, with Bobby Valentino ringing in a chorus about being high off living life. Snoop, who already had performed a duet with Biggie at the VMA's this year, appears on this track also.

Interlude time, with Biggie's son telling about how he was the greatest rapper and telling us his legacy will live on. A piano leads off the next song with Biggie rapping about her mother being late on delivering him. Biggie is sampled over the chorus, as Faith Evans reminisces about her husband and friends before everyone died. The Game plays off his verse nice on the beat, back to Biggie rapping about when he was thirteen and his plans in life, and ultimately him being landed in prison.

Nelly and Jagged Edge sound off on 'Nasty Girl', you can guess what the subject of this song is. An eerie beat in 'Living In Pain' features Mary J. Blige hooking us into a verse from Big, rapping about "The House Of Pain". A Tupac verse sounds like it came off a cassette and is barely salvageable quality wise, in today's standards. Nas closes off with his verse.

Lil Wayne brings his vocals and adds a southern vibe to 'I'm Wit Whateva', with Juelz Santana doing a great job on the chorus and a verse of his own. The beat is very gloomy and moving, it is too bad there is no spitting from Big on it. Shout-outs to Biggie are dropping so often it is beginning to feel like a mixtape.

Queensbridge group Mobb Deep join Biggie relating to his topic of "What's Beef?". Mobb Deep so far has done the better job creating the essence of actually recording a song with him. Another interlude, this time Christopher Wallace's daughter, thanking all of Big's fan for him. A piano and Akon chime in, with a snare induced beat featuring Big, Scarface, Big Gee, and even Akon laying down a verse.

T.I. and Slim Thug are in the house from way down South, bringing some "dirty dirty" production with them. 'Breakin' Old Habits', tells about breaking the habit of being G'd up. In between theirs, Biggie's verse doesn't seem too relevant to the song T.I. and Slim Thug were making. Missy Elliot does her part on 'Ultimate Rush' telling "All you wanna do is sniff me, I'm the ultimate rush!". The chorus features Biggie declaring the ultimate rush is drugs. Missy and Biggie's back and forth lines afterwards flow nicely into each other, confusing us with the question "Is Biggie rapping about narcotics, or women?".

Next up, 'Mi Casa', a collaboration featuring R&B elites R. Kelly and Charlie Wilson. Mi Casa, meaning "My House", is all about the guys wanting to get some, whenever and wherever. Interlude #3, another testimony of Biggie's greatest, leads into the hot single 'Hold Ya Head'. "Woman hold her head and cry, because her son has been shot down in the street and died." is sampled on this emotion provoking duet. Big raps about how he wants to commit suicide, feeling her mother is ashamed of him, and he is sick of life.

'Just A Memory' featuring The Clipse, has the hook working "You're a nobody until somebody kills you". Again, the artist fails to capture the idea of the song, spitting about bling bling and and selling drugs. A rare glimpse into the miss-or-hit crossover genre of Rap-Rock is the last cut on the album, a duet with Nu-Metal band Korn. The band delivers a metal instrumental for Biggie, and singer Jon Davis provides a chilling, but seemingly out of place chorus. This final chapter of Notorious B.I.G. albums ends with a poem by Ms. Wallace. "In the end, time is treasured. But love for my son, is everlasting.", the final line of a heart-felt tribute.

After a very long list of features, and a very lengthy album, it is clear to see how hard it is to compare today's artists with that of 10 years ago. Some collaborations work well, while others seem like poorly done blends, on the fact that half of the guests are talking about something totally different than Biggie is. It is also hard to focus on Biggie with the overloaded features. The production is well done, but so unique to each track, it is hard to get into the mood of the album. But I guess you have to take it for what it is, a collaboration of the entire hip-hop world to remember a great emcee. When fans see their favorite artist on the back of the case, it will give people of the next generation an introduction to what Biggie was, without being too outdated.


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Re: The Notorious B.I.G. - Duets
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2006, 08:17:03 AM »
Having had to go through the pain of hearing this album in my friend's car I can safely say that to even give any stars to this release would be hard for me. If you want to listen to Biggie, pick up Ready To Die, because that exemplifies what he was about as an artist, and if you don't like that album I don't think you could consider yourself a fan of his work.

BTW, as stated in the topic stickied at the top of the board, the rating system we decided we would use on this board is out of ten rather than five, so if you could stick to that on future reviews that would be helpful. Also, if you can take the time to give each song a rating out of five that would be appreciated. Thanks for putting in the effort to put a review up though.