Review #22: Ready to Die, The Notorious B.I.G.

Karla Clifton
3 min readJan 26, 2021

#22: Ready to Die, The Notorious B.I.G.

I was driving on a long stretch of highway that was under construction while I listened to Ready to Die. The three lane road had been reduced to one lane, with those thin concrete dividers that are always slightly too narrow for comfort. In some ways the Notorious B.I.G. was just what I needed at this stage, as it fueled my inevitable road rage.

That being said, I wasn’t completely in love with Biggie Smalls on my first listen. The super graphic, sexual skits put me off, and I was in no mood for a song called “Me and My Bitch.” (I’ll admit that “Me and My Bitch” has grown on me.)

Here’s the thing, though: I’m sure that if I grew up listening to the Notorious B.I.G., the sexist stuff probably wouldn’t faze me at all, much in the same way that Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” music video simply makes me dance. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it helped me get through “Me and My Bitch.”


“Intro” — What a theatrical way to call out your influences.

“Things Done Changed” — I feel like this album would also make a great stage- or movie-musical.

“Gimme the Loot” — Ooh this is better on a second listen. Gimmetheloot! Gimmetheloot!

“Warning” — Okay, the end of this is really funny. “You got a red dot on your head!” “You got a red dot on your head too!”

“Ready to Die” — Bummer that he did die. Wow, he was only 24!

“F*** Me (Interlude)” — HAHAHA. Okay, this is both the exact thing I was complaining about and my favorite song on the album. It’s so absurd and disgusting.

“Juicy” — Okay, Biggie can be kind of profound, too. And if ya don’t know, now ya know.

“Everyday Struggle” — See above.

“Me and My Bitch” — Like I said — I like it even though I don’t want to.

“Respect”Diana King, the woman singing at the beginning of this, is amazing. Ew, the end of this song is gross though!

“Suicidal Thoughts” — Gosh this one is affecting. I love the “friend” on the opposite end of the “phone call” on.

“Who Shot Ya?” — Woof. This song apparently started a whole thing with Tupac — sad they’re dead and all.


“Machine Gun Funk”All I want is bitches/Big booty bitches. See, that’s funny! You know what isn’t funny? Beatin’ mother******s like Ike beat Tina. Why do so many rappers reference Ike Turner abusing Tina Turner? I swear, I’ve probably heard it at least three times.

“One More Chance” — Ugh, this genre of song — the whole “Women love to hate me” thing — drives me nuts. But the girl who sings the chorus (Faith Evans) is great. Also, Mary J. Blige makes an uncredited appearance! Amazing!

“Big Poppa” — Something about Biggie’s voice getting really low on this one really grinds my gears.


I know you’re not supposed to dis the dead, and there’s no question that in some ways this album rules, BUT. I think the gratuitous sexism makes Ready to Die worse. In order to right this wrong, I humbly submit the Indigo Girls’ masterpiece Rites of Passage as the #22 Greatest Album of All Time.

Review #21: Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen

Review #23: Velvet Underground & Nico, Velvet Underground & Nico