Hip Hop: No Life After Death

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“You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)” is the final track on the epic dual CD, Life After Death, that was articulated by what many deem as the greatest lyricist of all time, Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace. It would prove to be eerily prophetic, as this masterful dual CD would in fact be the last studio album from Christopher Wallace, as he would be gunned down by unknown assailants a few weeks prior to the album’s formal release. Needless to say, Christopher Wallace had cemented his legacy prior to his second album with his flawless debut album “Ready To Die”, which became an instant classic that would thrust him instantly into full-fledged stardom. As I, as well as many others, reflect on March 9th to honor the fallen legend, I must state that I refute his last track on his last album and proclaim that Christopher Wallace was “somebody” before someone killed him. Not only did he singlehandedly make a rhetorical question (Where Brooklyn At?) become a spiritualistic awakening for a borough, he also managed to communicate a visual depiction of the young black male’s struggle inside the urban jungle. Lines like “to all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of that called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter” and “because the streets it is a short stop, either you’re slingin crack rock or you got a wicked jump-shot”, both delivered poignant, yet provocative messages about the desolate options and paralyzed dreamscapes of those who dwell within these types of environments. We can only dream about what Christopher Wallace could have become, as the once straight “A” student who wanted to become either a dentist or a graphic designer, gave us a glimpse into potential greatness leaving us wanting and yearning for more. So as 18 years has passed us by since his early demise, I pose the question in my Biggie Smalls voice: “Where is Hip Hop at?”. Did it die with the Bed-Stuy icon on that faithful night? Can artists like Nas, The Loxs and Action Bronson, ever truly revitalize and galvanize an audience and an entire state the way the Notorious one did when he let those who came for his crown know that he would kick in the door and them all that “Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns”. Perhaps we are just victims of an era much like those of us who watched Michael Jordan in his prime. It’s not that others are not great, as much as it is the fact that we may have just witnessed the greatest of all time. And much like track 16 on the Ready To Die album, Christopher Wallace was truly “Unbelievable”. #it was all a dream….

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