Rest in peace, Biggie. Twenty-three years ago, the legendary hip-hop icon blessed the world with his second studio album Life After Death. Technically released posthumously, the massive double-disc endeavor was recorded in its entirety prior to his murder on March 9th. And while many of the classics have been highlighted here over the years, including the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-assisted "Notorious Thugs," it feels right to celebrate the milestone with a reunion from Brookyln's Finest.
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Back when songs were given ample breathing room, Big Poppa and Hov made sure to split the pie evenly with two verses apiece. Their first collaboration since Reasonable Doubt, the student and teacher proved well-matched once again, unified by a shared appreciation for the finer things. Jay-Z takes to the lavish bounce with an easygoing swag; we have to wonder whether he always knew he was destined to be rap's first billionaire. "People place yourselves in the shoes of two felons, and tell me you won't ball every chance you get," raps Jay. "And any chance you hit, we live for the moment, makes sense, don't it? Now make dollars."
"I'm popping Magnum while Jigga bag somethin, watch is platinum, got jet lag from flights back and forth, pop corks of the best grapes," spits Biggie. "Make the best CDs and the best tapes." Off the bat, the deliberate nature of his flow is evident; thoughts carry over from one bar to the next, his compound syllable mastery impeccable. There's a reason many still trace the lineage of the modern-day flow back to the Notorious B.I.G, who seemed to boast a command over language rappers could only dream of achieving. Check out "I Love The Dough" right now, and sound off -- is this a classic hip-hop anthem?
I'm poppin' Magnums while Jigga bag somethin'
Watch is platinum, got jet lag from
Flights back and forth, pop corks of the best grapes
Make the best CDs and the best tapes
Don't forget the vinyl, take girls break spinals
Biggie be Richie like Lionel, shiiiiit
You seen the Jesús dipped to H classes
Ice project off lights, chick flashes
Blind your broke asses, even got rocks in the beards and mustaches