Rhyme Report

Published on September 11th, 2019 | by Jerry Doby

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Amazon Music Releases ‘The Birth of Biggie: 25 Years of Ready to Die’ a New Notorious B.I.G. Mini Documentary

Today, Amazon Music released The Birth of Biggie: 25 Years of Ready to Die, an exclusive mini-documentary in celebration of this Friday’s 25th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s landmark debut album,Ready To Die. The minidoc includes rarely heard interview audio with Biggie by biographer Cheo Hodari Coker, as well as conversations with Ready to Die producers Easy Mo Bee and DJ Mister Cee, Coker, and former SVP of Promotions for Arista/Bad Boy, Rob Stone. The mini-doc also features archival photos from Stone, Colin Hawkins and Chi Modu.

Watch The Birth of Biggie: 25 Years of Ready to Die

The Birth of Biggie follows Notorious B.I.G. at the crucial moment when he was transitioning from “unsigned hype” to the rap superstar he’d become. Friends and collaborators alike recount what it was like to work with the famed rapper during this time period, exploring the meaning behind some of the iconic lines from the album and explaining what Biggie really meant when he said he was “ready to die.”

Highlights from The Birth of Biggie video documentary include: 

  • Biggie Smalls on making Ready to Die: “I made the record for New York, but I want the world to hear it. I want to be that one n—a that come in, present, and bow down like, ‘Thank you all,’ you know what I’m saying? Thank the crowd for having me for this long. I love y’all for that.”
  • Biggie Smalls on getting signed by Puff Daddy: “So, the kid that organized it, Matty C, he let Puff hear [my tape]. Puff wanted to do some hardcore shit for Uptown while he was on Uptown. He had told my man Matty that he got the [Mary J. Blige] s–t, he got the Jodeci s–t locked, he wanted to do some hardcore s–t, which had never been done for Uptown. When Puff heard me, he got me to the office. He was like, ‘Yo Money, this is a serious thing. You need to come up here. I’m really read to sign you for some big money.’ Came down, let’s sign me, let’s put me to work.”
  • Cheo Coker on Puff Daddy’s influence on Ready to Die:Ready to Die was more like Biggie wanting to make the hardest possible record ever, and Puffy saying, ‘All right, let’s just make an 85% hardest record because we’re going to need 15% to sell this thing.’ … Then [Biggie] was like, ‘Fine. I’ll give you a single but if we got to do some crossover s–t. If we got to do ‘Juicy,’ if we got to do ‘Big Poppa’ then I get to do ‘Who Shot Ya.’
  • Easy Mo Bee on the iconic line from “Ready to Die:” “It’s that line, he said. He was like ‘”f–k the world, f–k my moms and my girl’ So, I went to Big, I said, “You realize you just said that about your moms?” I’ll never forget this. He said, ‘Yo Mo, I got a lot I’m going through right now, man. My moms got cancer on her breast. I got a baby on the way. I don’t want to keep being out there on that avenue doing what I’m doing. So, when you hear me say that, ‘ready to die,’ it’s not like I really want to die. That’s a figure of speech. I’m really feeling that right now.’”
  • Biggie Smalls on the meaning behind the title Ready to Die: “Waking up every morning, you know what I’m saying, putting drugs in my pocket, not thinking about police, not thinking about stick up man, not thinking about competition. You know what I’m saying? Just doing it, every day, risking my life. So that meant that I was ready to die anyway.”

Accompanying the video is a companion long form audio documentary of the same name that can only be heard on Amazon Music. The audio documentary is a deep dive featuring longer interviews with Easy Mo Bee, DJ Mister Cee, Coker, and Stone. Any Prime member in the US can hear the audio documentary on Amazon Music here; Amazon Music customers can also hear the audio doc by asking, “Alexa, playThe Birth of Biggie on Amazon Music,” on all enabled devices and in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android.


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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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