One thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain

I left my house just after six this morn to go and cop a little of my drug of choice—the java bean, baby. (Did I mention I have a full time media job now? It’s keeping me more than a little busy. But good busy.) Anyway, it’s a beautiful morning in the T-Dot and as I was walking to the coffee shop, I passed a lounge in my neighborhood and through the window I could see this dude sweeping the floors, cleaning up the bar from last night. He was blasting Biggie, and he was smiling and nodding his head as he swept. As I was walked away (slowly, cause I wanted to hear the whole song, dammit), I realized that today is the ten year anniversary of Big’s death. Don’t you love synchronicity?

I wonder sometimes if Big—if any artist, for that matter—could ever fully comprehend the extent of his influence. How can any artist really wrap their minds around all the lives they’ve touched? All the individual people in so many different situations that have taken pleasure from their music: on the job, working out, getting their flirt on, celebrating, sharing a meal, sitting on the train thinking, driving around lost in thought.

One time I was in Laos, the country next to Thailand, in a café and out of nowhere Guru’s Jazzmatazz Volume 1 came wafting out the patio speakers. There was a wave of recognition that passed through the crowd, and it hit me that the disc had somehow made its way to this off-the-beaten-path country in Asia—a communist country that had only been open to tourists for five years—and become a favorite for locals there. It’s hard to fully comprehend the fact that hip-hop has the ability to touch the hearts of so many strangers in so many different countries. That something that was born in a grimy studio on some block in America has the ability to be the soundtrack to so many lives around the planet.

When I think about Big’s death, I think about this enormous reach. I think about dancing to his tracks in Tokyo, in Joburg, in Bangkok. I think about footage I’ve seen of his casket being driven through Brooklyn, the crowds breaking into a spontaneous cheer as “Hypnotize” boomed through enormous speakers. I think about that wave of emotion reverberating all across the globe, a million souls feeling the loss.

And I think about my own personal connection to that track. Some music is so much more than just music—the songs wind up woven into the fabric of your life. Around the time that Life After Death dropped, I was in love for the first time in my life. We were young and super duper broke, but someone loaned us a Range Rover for the day, and so we took it and drove all the way to Seattle, blasting Big the entire way. We were both dealing with some heavy stuff at the time. But something about the stretch of open road and the insane beats and Big’s precise, mathematical flow made all the stress and pressure disappear, if only for the day.

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  • Were Read 2 Def


  • RockCity

    Yeah thats how real hip hop use to make u feel there was nothin like a BIG song and thats what a lot of these young mofo’s dont understand cause they never had that feeling.

    RIP BIG!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gumer

    i feel exactly what you sayin tara

  • OZ

    word tara, thats real talk. not much music nowadays makes you feel that way anymore…

  • John Brown

    “hip-hop has the ability to touch the hearts of so many strangers in so many different countries.”

    I couldn’t agree and disagree more. First I do agree that “REAL” hip-hop 90′s hip-hop to be exact could do that. Where I disagree is that todays so-called “hip-hop” music can’t do that now-a-days. For once a post by someone really touched me, I know that after I get outta work Im pay tribute to BIG’s life not his death. Bumping R2D and L.A.D untill 5 in morning. And Im from the South but I do know what real good music is all bout. The Lox said it best “Well always love BIG POPPA”


  • John Brown

    my fav. BIGGIE song…

    Artist: Notorious BIG
    Album: Ready to Die
    Song: Suicidal Thoughts

    (RING, RING)

    (Hello? Aw shit, nigga. What the fuck time is it, man?
    Oh god damn. Nigga do you know what time it is?
    Aw shit, what the fuck’s goin’ on? You alright?
    Aw, nigga what the fuck is wrong wit you?)

    When I die, fuck it I wanna go to hell
    Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell
    It don’t make sense, goin’ to heaven wit the goodie-goodies
    Dressed in white, I like black Tims and black hoodies
    God will probably have me on some real strict shit
    No sleepin’ all day, no gettin my dick licked
    Hangin’ with the goodie-goodies loungin’ in paradise
    Fuck that shit, I wanna tote guns and shoot dice
    All my life I been considered as the worst
    Lyin’ to my mother, even stealin’ out her purse
    Crime after crime, from drugs to extortion
    I know my mother wished she got a fuckin’ abortion
    She don’t even love me like she did when I was younger
    Suckin’ on her chest just to stop my fuckin’ hunger
    I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes?
    Forgive me for my disrespect, forgive me for my lies
    My babies’ mothers 8 months, her little sister’s 2
    Who’s to blame for both of them (naw nigga, not you)
    I swear to God I just want to slit my wrists and end this bullshit
    Throw the Magnum to my head, threaten to pull shit
    And squeeze, until the bed’s, completely red
    I’m glad I’m dead, a worthless fuckin’ buddah head
    The stress is buildin’ up, I can’t,
    I can’t believe suicide’s on my fuckin’ mind
    I want to leave, I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin’ callin’ me
    Naw you wouldn’t understand (nigga, talk to me please)
    You see its kinda like the crack did to Pookie, in New Jack
    Except when I cross over, there ain’t no comin’ back
    Should I die on the train track, like Remo in Beatstreet
    People at the funeral frontin’ like they miss me
    My baby momma kissed me but she glad I’m gone
    She knew me and her sista had somethin’ goin’ on
    I reach my peak, I can’t speak,
    call my nigga Chic, tell him that my will is weak.
    I’m sick of niggas lyin’, I’m sick of bitches hawkin’,
    matter of fact, I’m sick of talkin’.
    (hey yo big…hey yo big)

  • derfla the hus’la

    R.i.p black Frank white….bumbing that warning right now cant believe it’s been 10 years yo.

  • cas

    thats a real cool thing because hiphop is what you make of it and take from it whether it be the positive or negative


    R.I.P Big Poppa

    I grew up listining to Biggie, Ready To Die is the soundtrack to my life I listen to that record at least once a week since I was a little kid.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Props T ..

    Where Brooklyn at?! Where Brooklyn at?!


    (Hannah don’t fuck this one up)

  • moose9t9

    Rockcity’s right. what a privelage to have that feeling

  • these posts are racist

    Rest in peace, Biggie Smalls. I feel you. And for those who really love hip hop, they feel you as well. But please, do not discount the power of globalization. In other words, people wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, etc. simply because it’s in their face. “Choice” is a complicated thing. If you’re given an apple and an orange, do you really have a “choice” of fruit? So yes, a lot of non-english speaking people listen to rap. But do they understand it? No. Does the beat sound cool? Yes. So becareful. A lot of what globalization does is very harmful and so don’t confuse the impact it has with people just “choosing” to do something.

    Rest in peace Biggie, the best delivery of flows the culture of hip hop has ever seen.

  • SukedowN

    Might just have to bust out my Ready to Die cassete tape in memorium.

  • EReal

    I wore RTD OUT! Man I think I know every single word of every track on that CD. That album was a masterpiece. The track with Method Man we used to ride to when I was 15 and my homie was 16 and we would ride around in the whip trading verses and laughin and just kickin it. Big was taken far too soon. Its insane to see people still biting off him 10 years later. (See the Wouldnt Get far Remix with Jay-Z ‘Isn’t this great your flight lands at 8, my flight leaves at 9, my game just rewind’) When you’ve been dead 10 years and cats are still biting your rhymes, thats when you know you’re the GOAT. Str8^

    R.I.P. the Notorious One, you’ll never be dead to me because your music still lives in my speakers, in my mind, in my heart, every day.

    1 hunned.

  • EReal

    Oh yeah, and fuck Hannah Smith in advance for any stupid shite her fat ass might come in here and try to hate with.

    Bask in it Tara-Squad, I know you love the hate. LOL.

  • Atl’s own

    R.I.P. Biggie!

  • rec

    “all we wanna do is bullshit…and party and bull…”

    RIP B.I.G.
    truly one of the most complete MC’s of all time…you covered all the bases

  • thoreauly77

    i remember that feeling. i think i got it the other day when the new devin joint with 3000 was released. nice post tara. your sincerity is always a breath of fresh air.

  • Hannah Smith

    “As I was walked away (slowly, cause I wanted to hear the whole song, dammit), I realized that today is the ten year anniversary of Big’s death. Don’t you love synchronicity?”

    You were surprised that, on the ten year anniversary of Big’s death, someone was playing a Biggie song? Honestly…

  • Meka Soul

    i still get all warm & tingly [pause] whenever my ipod makes its way back to “ready to die.”

    not to shit on anybody’s blog on here, or to sound like the atypical aspiring myspace “rapper,” but…

  • Enigmatik


  • WhiteChoco


  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Hannah Smith Says:

    March 9th, 2007 at 2:26 pm
    “As I was walked away (slowly, cause I wanted to hear the whole song, dammit), I realized that today is the ten year anniversary of Big’s death. Don’t you love synchronicity?”

    You were surprised that, on the ten year anniversary of Big’s death, someone was playing a Biggie song? Honestly…


    Awwww Daaam! *smh* (Martin Lawrence voice)

  • Heat_Seeker

    Lately Tara, your post have been coming off very bland and…boring.

    R.I.P BIG!!!!

  • KR

    I usually diss your blogs, but this was damn good. Music is powerful, that’s what’s real…

  • Tha Flow of Time

    On the real, i think this girl Tara is a really talented writer. That post was amazing.


    good shit Tara…

  • crimson

    I gotta say, these posts are way too melodramatic for me.

  • Tec

    Good post..well written..

    All the way in Africa, we bumped biggie as kids..not cos of globalization or any shit like that..Because it was hot..and the music resonated to us. If i were to pick an artist that reminds me of all the house parties, get-togethers and bbq’s in my teenage years…it would have to be bigge smalls. Every time “first things first, i poppa, freaks all the honies” came thru the was pandemonium. RIP BIG

  • da_realting

    one love b.i.g there is no more real hip hop

  • Jerz!

    Damn, I feel this post so hard.

  • J S-O-T

    as great as Big was, he can’t be considered the GOAT, he only made 2 albums an yeah they were classics but imagine if DMX had died after the “Flesh of my flesh” album, you’d probably consider him a contender but obviously he’s fell off, who’s to say Big wouldn’t have done.

    Nas is GOAT, he’s had slip ups but he always ends up back on top


    BIG was a cool cat. I was at the house of blues when he performed and the engery he gave out to the crowd was crazy….

    Only thing BIG started which was stupid was the King of New York shit.

    It’s the N-O-T-O-R-I-O US you just lay down slow…rest in peace.



  • MRuler

    big up! great blog!

    i remember sitting @ home under a f’ big amout of pressure. and then i listend to sky’s the limit, thx big! you helped me out a lot!

  • J.R.O.

    I was just a youngin when that shit dropped… Stole it from Wal-Mart, but forgot that Wal-Mart only fucked with the edited tapes. Good one, Tara.

  • jacquez
  • lukee lefty

    BIG is the greatest nobody has come close to what he achieved in 2 albums over the course 4 years RIP

  • Diggy

    That’s the realest blog I’ve ever read on XXL..Sheeeeit, on ANY of these hiphop sites.


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