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The Biggie Cure

Writer’s block is a bitch. She comes and goes as she pleases. Distracts. Bothers. Nags. And you can’t hit her either. She’s invisible. The only way to get her out is through slow, methodical, and calming appeasement. Then she will relent. She will even stop being a bitch. She will go from writer’s block to writer’s inspiration.

As y’all could probably guess, I have writer’s block. Not the typical and boring writer’s block. I mean, sure I could write about Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, or that Detox is finally coming, or I could review Dark Twisted Fantasy or Hunger For More 2. But what am I going to tell you guys that you don’t already know? I have writer’s block on some high level, transformative shit. Wait, why is there a red line under the word “transformative”? That’s not even a word? Are you kidding me? I’ve used that word in conversations. I’ve got the block so bad I’m losing my English.

How do I shake this bitch of a writer’s block. Do I leave her the tab at Applebees? Nooooo. Do I delete my number from her phone and slip out of her apartment in the middle of the night? Well, actually, still no. I will tell you what I do. I turn on Ready to Die. “Things Done Changed,” “Warning,” “Juicy,” “Who Shot Ya” (which appeared on the re-issue). Let the immortal Biggie lyrics seep into the brain. Then I move on. I look for something new. I search for music from Jay Electronica’s Style Wars EP (Something To Hold Onto). I watch Soulja Boy’s “Speakers Going Hammer” video. A 50 Cent ABC interview. A Jay-Z interview on BBC. Jaz-O’s “The Originators” featuring Jigga’s first ever recorded verse. I search for some Death Row era Crooked I material. I finally look at all the Kanye album covers. And after all that, I feel good. I mean, I do like hip-hop, so that makes sense.

I think writer’s block is a good thing. For rapping, in some sense, if someone can freestyle, then maybe there’s no excuse for someone not being able to write. Think about that though. If a rapper has writer’s block, it means that he doesn’t want to write about just guns, drugs, and hoes. He’s on a higher level. It’s deeper than rap. It’s beyond the generic. It’s someone attempting to reach an area that he hasn’t yet, and is struggling. Struggling is good, because it means that one is trying to make progress. Would you rather struggle or sit on a couch with zero prospects? A person with problems has an opportunity to defeat them. He has a chance to become victorious and creative a positive out of a negative. That’s the root of hip-hop. It is an art form in which its artists all come from the same birthplace: struggle.

Struggle is what makes hip-hop so resilient. I don’t think hip hop will ever die. It might get sick here and there, maybe get the flu, but never die. It’s too strong. Its genes have such a stable foundation in jazz, and it would be impossible to remove that. When someone creates a success in a situation where the odds are so stacked against him, it becomes not only so much sweeter, but stronger as well. Although it seems that he got killed because of the success that came to him, Biggie’s lyrics will never go away. They are implanted in millions of people’s brains, forever playing.

“If I wasn’t in the rap game
I’d probably have a key knee deep in the crack game
Because the streets is a short stop
Either you’re slingin crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot
Shiiiit, it’s hard being young from the slums
Eatin five cent gums not knowin where your meals comin from”
— The Notorious B.I.G. “Things Done Changed”

The reason these lyrics will never die is because they are real. You the listener see his struggle in black, white, red, and every color imaginable. While Biggie the person is lying in a grave, his words are immortal. They provide not only an example of exemplary and graphic lyricism, but of an immortal witness to his struggle, which in turn becomes our struggle. I don’t think that Biggie ever had writer’s block, because his lyrics were simply a description of his everyday life. That’s why we take the picture that he painted and feel it, breathe it, and live it, as long as it is playing in the stereo deck.

The question for y’all is, when the tape runs out, and as Biggie’s voice fades away and the silence of our thoughts and feelings fill the air, what are we left with?— Shlomo

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