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The Notorious B.I.G. 

Ready to Die: The Remaster

Wednesday, Aug 11 2004
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The hedonistic prince lacing the "lyrical douches" of "Big Poppa"; the baritone-silk street hustler careening through the back-alley boom-bap of "Gimme the Loot"; the sad nihilist muddying the nostalgia of "Things Done Changed," i.e., "Our parents used to take care of us" but now "they even fuckin' scared of us" -- regardless of where you were in the mid-'90s, Biggie Smalls' voice roared out of speakers like Zeus descending from on high; he was a cross-eyed swan encircling an unsuspecting pop music. Ready to Die not only provided the defining moment for one of hip hop's most talented MCs, but also ushered in the era of Puff Daddy, bicoastal beefs, and a million wannabe platinum playas. While providing the perfect pretext to revisit a classic, this reissue is a missed opportunity, as the bonus material bypasses the stellar remixes that accompanied the original singles in favor of dated videos, the already widely circulated track "Who Shot Ya?," and the hilarious if adolescent "Dreams of Fucking an R'n'B Bitch," here renamed "Just Playing (Dreams)."

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Sam Chennault

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