It’s 20 years to the day since the Notorious BIG drop kicked the world with one of the greatest LPs ever. To cleebrate a man who may very well be the greatest of all time, I wrote a lengthy love in on Getintothis about the album and what it’s meant. Hit the quote above to see it. RIP Chris Wallace
Today marks the sixteen year anniversary of the death of one of the most topical figures music, let alone hip-hop, has ever seen – Tupac Shakur. Loved by many and castigated by others, I’ve recently been revisiting his back catalogue and although he never made an absolute stone cold classic, none of the albums he released before his death either (including the Thug Life group he formed) are bad, and the one that immediately followed his passing, under the Makaveli pseudonym, is also solid. Posthumously of course he was nigh on horrendous but you can’t hate on him for that. Here’s the post I did on his Birthday where I tried to defend his legacy. He made great feel-good RnB inspired music, aggressive political full speed records with the Bomb Squad behind him and street focused wistfulness, all long before he met up with Suge Knight and Death Row Records or did a debut with Elton John from beyond the grave. If only more people knew about that side of his career.
What people also forget that on the exact same date, two years earlier, his rival and the man who he is always compared to, the Notorious B.I.G, released his debut album Ready to Die. Although at times flawed this was what Shakur never achieved, an absolute milestone in hip-hop and an album that still makes the hair stand on the back of my neck with some of the lyrics. Biggie was an absolute poet, no question, the opening salvo to ‘Warning’ is beyond brilliant and perfectly endemic of just how awesome he was an emcee. “Who the fuck is this, paging me at 5:46, in the morning crack of dawning, now I’m yawning, wipe the cold out my eye. See who’s this paging me, and why”. Seriously that is up there with William Blake.
Anyway, pay your respects to two of the most important figures in the music who are always inextricably linked even down to the finer details. And check Nick Broomfield’s documentary on their death if you haven’t already.
Michael K Williams let slip in an interview with Vulture Mag he creates playlists as a means of getting in the zone character wise, and that he listened constantly crafted for the role of Omar during The Wire.
On the playlist is some 2Pac (including the classic ‘So Many tears’), no surprise considering the hypocritical nature of both Shakur and Omar’s sensitive thug attitude. Eslewhere there is Biggie, Jigga, Lauryn Hill, Mary J Blige and oodles more. Best part though is the revealtion he let slip that 90% of the time a playlist will include a Nas song – no wonder his portrayals are so vivid.
Regular readers (are there any?) of this blog will know I like Slick Rick. In fact, they’ll know I love Slick Rick, adoring every honey-voiced bone in his body. So tip to get me excited is to start with Ricky D. If the end result is then 50 minutes of hip-hop mixed aurally AND visually, I’m practically turtle heading with excitement. Alongside Mr Walters, there’s Black Moon, Raekwon, Nas Big L and Redman, all before the twenty-minute mark. Stay on past that and you get Pete Rock & Cl Smooth, Jeru the Damaja, Showbiz & AG, Gang Starr Common, Mobb Deep and Biggie Smalls.