Dada didn’t live too far away from my mum’s house, so I decided on taking my burdens to him, and hoped that he’d welcome them. Headphones on my head, Walkman set to play, I bounced down Lee High Road rocking my head hard, rapping along to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Juicy’.
I’ve referenced Biggie Smalls a few times throughout Once Bad Intentions. For characters like Stephanie, he was adored, his rhyming skills applauded. ‘Juicy’ was the anthem track from Biggie Smalls’ debut album Ready to Die that bulldozed its way through the charts back in 1994. At a time when rap music was heavily represented from the USA’s West Coast, Biggie Smalls single-handedly demanded critics, media platforms and hip-hop fans steer their attention back in the direction of the East Coast.
For Stephanie and her crew, role models that unearthed the sentiment of the struggle they experienced, and made it, had something material to show for it, were seldom in their community. Characters and artists like Biggie Smalls were the ones who took on these roles, whether willingly or not.
What Biggie Smalls did so well was tell the story of the struggle that existed within the community where he lived. And he did so with creative flair and a bad boy attitude. The track ‘Juicy’ was a declaration to the underdogs. A rags to riches outline of a life punctuated with flaws that spoke directly to you. Yeah he was rich, but he’d been as poor as you, committed crime to live better like you. The fact that his rhyming skills were so clearly on point only added to his magnitude.
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