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Books Hip-Hop Rap Reviews

Biggie Smalls Was the Illest – “It Was All a Dream” Book Review

There are different kinds of biographies.

Some attempt to tell the subject’s story objectively, recounting what happened and placing it in context, but without editorializing or offering opinion. Others are planned as hit pieces, hatchet jobs with a clear intent to damage the person. Still others come from a place of admiration, presenting the individual in a glowing light at every turn.

It’s difficult to tell what It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World that Made Him by Justin Tinsley was originally aiming to be, but the final product certainly falls into that last category.

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Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Money, Power & Respect”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: The LOX’s Money, Power & Respect (1998)

Puff Daddy and Bad Boy dominated the music industry in 1997, releasing three albums that year – The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death, Puffy’s own No Way Out, and Mase’s Harlem World – that combined to sell twenty-one million copies and gave birth to the Shiny Suit Era.

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Hip-Hop Rankings

Ranking All 21 “Best Rap Album” Grammy Winners

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Much like the NBA, the Grammys have a complicated relationship with hip-hop. Decisions like Young MC’s “Bust a Move” winning over Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” have led many to believe that those who vote on the Grammys have no clue about real hip-hop.

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Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Double Up”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Mase’s Double Up (1999)

In hindsight, it’s fascinating to look back and see how quickly hip-hop changed from 1997 to 1999. Yes, the culture shifted when 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. were murdered within about a half-year of one another, but I’m talking about what happened after that.

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Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Forever”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Puff Daddy’s Forever (1999)

In 1997, Puff Daddy ran hip-hop and, to an extent, all of popular music. That year, his label, Bad Boy Records, released three albums – The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death (10 million sold), Mase’s Harlem World (4 million), and No Way Out (7 million), courtesy of Puff Daddy and the Family – that combined to sell twenty-one million copies and birthed the Shiny Suit Era. As Suge Knight had predicted, the CEO became the star.

But his reign on the top was short like leprechauns.