If there was ever a song to typify the suave, dominant and deftly delivered style of The Notorious BI.G. then ‘Juicy’ is that song. Taken from his debut album Ready to Die the track has gone on to act as the distilled essence of everything that made Biggie Smalls an icon. Below, we’re listening to the acapella version of the song to try and truly grasp its power.
Christopher Wallace – AKA The Notorious B.I.G. – is widely regarded as the greatest rapper who has ever lived. An expert at determining flow and delivering killer punchlines, Big always operated on an upper echelon that few could match. His debut album Ready to Die was a proclamation of the future.
Wallace had spent much of his life “waking up every morning, hustling, cutting school, looking out for my moms, the police, stickup kids; just risking my life every day on the street selling drugs,” something he confirmed to Rolling Stone. Throughout the record, he showcases that life and provides every proof of why it will soon be a matter of history to him as hip-hop legend status awaited him. His classic vocals are accurately mixed with dry humour, searing wit and the kind of flow that makes rivers blush. All of this comes t the fore on ‘Juicy’.
A song dedicated to all those people who thought Big would “never amount to nothin'” has always been a perfect party-starter. But when you remove the beats, the song takes on a whole new meaning.
‘Juicy’ is Biggie’s most honest song and also his best. It’s his life story and a mini-memoir that tells his rags to riches tale from the hood to one of the biggest stars on the planet as he sticks two fingers defiantly up to those who dared to doubt Biggie’s greatness. There are no real other choices for number one. This song isn’t just Biggie’s finest moment but arguably the most pivotal moment in hip-hop history.
In the first verse, Biggie leaves his own eulogy as he calmly raps: “Yeah, this album is dedicated, To all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’, To all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of, Called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter (it’s all good).”
Stripping back the track to its barebones leaves the audience in no uncertain terms that Notorious B.I.G. is one of the finest rappers of his generation. But while many people will point to Big’s flow or style as the key factors in his rise to the top, the truth is, it’s all about his honesty.
Listen below to The Notorious B.I.G.’s iconic isolated vocal for ‘Juicy’.