Tag Archives: The Notorious B.I.G.


Today I was sitting listening to my $1 copy of Going Steady reading Steady B’s Wikipedia wondering how he’s serving life without parole for a murder he was only the getaway driver for when I heard a groovy little guitar lick that I recognized from my distant past.

Steady B – Anyway U Want It

It took me way too long to put it together, but eventually it came to me.  How could I forget!

The Notorious B.I.G. – Just Playin’ (Dreams)

I think it didn’t come immediately to mind because “Dreams” wasn’t an album cut and back in the day when I was listening to a lot of Biggie I wasn’t venturing too far outside of official album material, even from artists I really loved.  Despite this misguided tendency, I still acquired this single on wax at some point, probably as an add-on to save money on shipping for some other eBay record purchase, so it was a song I only heard when I played it out someplace, unlike the hours spent on Ready to Die and Life After Death.

Now you don’t have to be a prodigy-level sample spotter to guess that the original is probably some “Hot Pants“-era James Brown track, and you’d be right, but don’t stop the search there!  Dig a little deeper into those memory banks and and recall the man who beat both of these dudes to the “Blues and Pants” flip, and arguably out-raps them as well.

Geto Boys – Scarface

For a bonus, in case you’ve become hypnotized by 12 minutes of the same one-bar loop and are now having withdrawals, check out “Announcement“.  The video had me flashing back to the now thoroughly creepy Picture Pages in a big way, and with all the recent discussion of rap ghostwriting I can’t help but wonder if a certain Shawn Carter might have played a role in Pharrell’s verse… and if so, why didn’t Common do us all a favor and follow suit?

Common – Announcement (feat. Pharrell)

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Here’s a much earlier example of some seriously stripped-down composition by what many consider to be “the first gangsta rapper“.

Schooly D – P.S.K. What Does It Mean?

PSK actually stands for “Park Side Killers”, the gang that Schooly D repped at the time of the creation of his first album.  Ice T credits “PSK” as his inspiration for making this seminal hit that came out the following year.

Ice T – 6 in the Mornin’

The influence is pretty obvious, but not quite as obvious as this one, which came about a decade later.

The Notorious B.I.G. – B.I.G. Interlude

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Matt hit me with a couple pretty hard-hitting rap questions the other day via email, and I attempted to tackle one of them in this post.  In another one, he mentioned the Big L song “Ebonics“, one of his (and my) favorites, which reminded him of this Vado song that samples a different Big L song that features two other artists tragically taken from this world before their time, 2Pac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Vado – Large On The Streets

Big L – Deadly Combination (feat. 2Pac & The Notorious B.I.G.)

I’d never heard that Vado track before, and I hadn’t heard “Deadly Combination” in forever, so I was very thankful to get the introduction and re-introduction to each of those songs separately, as well as in connection to each other.  The other thing that caught my ear, however, was the instrumental sample in that Vado track, that shit sounded super familiar to me.  I knew I’d heard it here most recently.

Lil’ Wayne – President Carter

But that wasn’t the first time that those pensive harp plucks had inspired some more serious reflections from ol’ Weezy, there’s also this mixtape track from around the time Tha Carter III was getting recorded.

Lil’ Wayne – Outstanding

So where did these ethereal tones come from originally?  Oh, of course!  An obscure French soundtrack composer from the early 70s, duh.

François de Roubaix – Les Dunes D’Ostende

So I guess this is a song from a French vampire movie from 1971 called Les Levres Rouges, which directly translated is The Red Lips, but when released in the U.S., it got the title Daughters of Darkness.  Yes, it’s on Netflix.  Yes, I’m definitely going to watch it, even though I don’t do very well with movies that involve peoples blood being taken from them.  Let me know if you wanna get together and check it out with me, I could probably use a hand to hold during some parts.

Bonus track: there’s a Roc Marciano song that uses some of the more dissonant sections of that original Roubaix piece, if you’re interested.  Thanks for getting the ball rolling on this one, Matt!  Very juicy.

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