The Flow of The Notorious B.I.G


Today is the anniversary of Biggie Smalls’ death. I know that,not because I am a fan, but because my FB newsfeed told me so.

You see, when Biggie hit the scene, I was completely turned off by him. I couldn’t relate to what he was talking about and really couldn’t respect him for it. (Yep, I said it.). It wasn’t until my friend and fellow English major, Deb of All That Cheeky Music, convinced me to put aside my feelings and listen to his flow, that I learned to appreciate The Notorious B.I.G.

What is flow, you ask?  You only need listen to any Biggie song for the answer.

It is his tight vocabulary and his phrasing that runs like a stream.

It’s his ability to create such clever and sharp imagery. Check out these lyrics to “Warning” and tell me you can’t see a short film by John Singleton.

Who the fuck is this?

pagin me at 5:46 in the mornin crack a dawnin

now I’m yawnin, wipe the cold out my eye

see who’s this pagin me and why..

It’s my nigga Pop from the barbershop

told me he was in the gamblin spot and heard the intricate plot

some niggas wanna stick you like fly paper neighbour

slow down love please chill drop the caper

remember them niggas from the hill up in Brownsville

that you rolled dice wit

smoked the blunts and got nice wit

yeah my nigga Fame up in Prospect

nah dem my niggas nah love wouldn’t disrespect

I didn’t say dem,

they schooled me to some niggas

that you knew from back when,

when you was clockin minor figures

Now they heard you blowin up like nitro

know they wanna stick the knife

through your windpipe slow..

so thank Fame for warnin me now I’m warnin you

you got the mac nigga

tell me what you wanna do…

[CHORUS]

Damn niggas wanna stick me for my papers

[VERSE 2]

They heard about the Rolex’s and the Lexus

wit the Texas license plate outta state

they heard about the pounds

you got down in Georgetown

now they heard you got half of Virginia locked down

they even heard about the crib

you bought your moms out in Florida

the fifth corridor….

Call the coroner

there’s gonna be alot of slow singin

and flower bringin

if my burglar alarm starts ringin

whatcha think all the guns is for?

all purpose war got the rottweilers by the door

and I feed em gun powder so they can devour

the criminals tryna to drop my decimals

DAMN..niggas wanna stick me for my cream

And it ain’t a dream things aint always what it seems

it’s the ones that smoke blunts witcha

see your picture, now they wanna

grab they guns and come and getcha

Bethca Biggie won’t slip

I got the calico with the black talons loaded in the clip

so I can rip through the ligaments

put the fuckas in a bad prediciment

where all the foul niggas went

Touch my cheddar, feel my Beretta

Buck with what I had you with

you motherfuckers betta duck

I bring pain, blood stains on what remains

Of his jacket, he had a gun he should’ve packed it

Cocked it, extra clips in my pocket

so I can reload and explode down ya rasshole

I fuck around and get hardcore

C4 to ya door no beef no more nigga

feel the rush scandalous

The more weed smoke I puff the more dangerous

I dont give a fuck about you or your weak crew

What you gonna do when Big Poppa comes for you

I’m not runnin, nigga I bust my gun in

Hold on I hear somebody comin……..

[Dogs Barking]

“Shh…”

“Come on mothafucka!”

“I’m comin’ as fast as I can”

“Just bring yo mothafuckin’ ass on come on!”

“Are we gettin’ close? Huh?”

“It’s right over here”

“Man, are you sure it’s biggie smalls crib man?”

“Yeah i’m sure mothafucka come on”

“Oh fuck,it better be his mothafuckin’ house”

“Fuck?”

“It better be this mothafucka’s house”

“Oh shit!”

“What? What’s wrong man?

“What’s that red dot on your head man?”

“What red dot?”

“Oh shit, you got a red dot on your head too!”

“OH SHIT!”

[two gun shots] 

Flow is his use of the natural rhythm of words in combination with a complicated syncopated beat.  His is absolutely impeccable.   Remember this part in “Hypnotize”? 

Poppa been smooth since days of Underroos

Never lose, never choose to, bruise crews who do something to us, talk go through us.

See how that just, well, flows?  No other MC that has ever stepped to the mic has a flow quite like his.  Even though I usually can’t get with what he’s talking about, I gotta applaude his use of language.  It’s impeccable.

My favorite example of him “delivering lyrical lyrics that’s blowing lyrics out [his] larynx” is the song that first turned me off from him.  Now it is my favorite song.

Enjoy lyricism at its best in “Juicy”.

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Clean the damn water!

“Don’t push me, cuz I’m close to the edge.  I’m trying not to lose my head.  It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” – Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five

Detroit Free Press
Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press

I am absolutely dumbfounded by the situation in Flint, Michigan. Not only am I angry that families have been poisoned, I am ready to fight over the fact that the Governor knew about this and did nothing about it. Look at that water!  People are expected to brush their teeth with that mess?!  You have GOT to be kidding me!  I am pissed to the highest pissedivity!  How could anyone turn a blind eye to the poisoning of an entire town?!

Flint is a blue collar town that has a population of about 99,000 people. General Motors was founded there and it is the place where the Flint Sit-Down Strike happened in 1936-1937, which gave birth to the United Auto Workers union. Still wondering why this crisis has been ignored?

The median household income is $24,834. Still wondering?

A majority of its citizens are African American. Still wondering?

Let me spell it out for you. This town is populated by a demographic that rarely has a voice at the table. It is populated by people who are not viewed as a threat to anyone’s political livelihood. It is populated by folks who barely make enough money to take care of themselves and their families.  They most certainly don’t have the money to buy influence over the decision makers of the state.

When you read this timeline of events from NBC news, if you weren’t already angered by this situation, you will be. GM complained about the water rusting car parts and nothing was done?! Oh wait.  GM has a loud voice in Lansing, so Flint thought fast and made arrangements for GM to use a different water supply, but continued to subject its citizens to the dangers of lead in the water. As the old folks say, they oughta be ‘shamed of themselves.  It is apparent the city of Flint put economics first on its list of priorities and the safety of its citizens is at the bottom of the list. “They don’t care cuz the stay paid anyway.”

This is not just Flint’s problem.  To paraphrase Slick Rick, this type of mess happens everyday to the voiceless people in our country.  Substitute healthcare for water, and you’ve got the same situation in the states that decided against the Medicaid expansion.  Same kind of population. Same “we don’t care about your health and safety”-type decision.

A late apology isn’t good enough.  The lawyer in me hopes that the citizens of Flint band together and sue the pants off the State under the provisions outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act.  The political animal in me hopes that the people of Flint get organized, register people to vote, and rally other communities to do the same.  The nurturer in me prays that the children effected by this are getting all of the care and attention they need.

Now let me find a few dollars and figure out how I can help the people of Flint.