The eeriest thing about listening to Born Again, Biggie's first posthumous release, is not hearing the voice of the slain Christopher Wallace banging and full of life, but it is the unshakable feeling that he's being exploited. On the real, B.I.G. never needed this many guest stars to make a record, and on this new joint there are actually more featured artists than there are tracks. Yo, but no complaints on "Dead Wrong" on which Eminem, hip-hop's new, deranged boy wonder, hits you with some dope and equally twisted battle raps.
But otherwise, you get the feeling that maybe all those other rap cats just got put on this record to help Puffy in his almighty paper chase. Stranger things have happened.
All the bullshit aside, Biggie Smalls is still the illest and, if it weren't for the glaring lack of consistent production, this might be a suitable follow-up to his first two classics, Ready to Die (the inaugural hustler's tale of going "from ashy to classy") and Life After Death (the platinum-coated sequel). Almost any track with the ominous P-diddy on production or, worse yet, on the mic, is a waste. But when Primo (better known as DJ Premier) takes the helm on "Rap Phenomenon," with Red and Meth adding a little something, Biggie fans can breathe a sigh of relief. This is what hip hop is supposed to sound like — heavy beats, scratch-heavy production and clever, rugged lyricism.
With a few other highlights, Born Again is still something of a disappointment. But for the real Biggie fans, getting "one more chance" to hear The Notorious is reason enough.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.