The Making of ‘Ready To Die’: Family Business

Originally appears in XXL's April 2004 issue The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 debut Ready To Die is a double threat: a serious, artistic album equipped with catchy, radio-friendly singles. Rap Svengali Sean “Puffy” Combs encouraged his hardcore young MC to put his mack down on records like “Big Poppa” and “One More Chance”; Biggie played along, and it worked. Becoming hip-hop’s answer to the hedgehog-looking porn star Ron Jeremy (if he could get laid, anyone could), the plus-size charmer conquered the pop charts and watched his sales pass the two-million mark. Mainly, though, Ready To Die offers uncompromising street material—a grim depiction ...

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