In the song “Juicy”, by Notorious BIG, also known as Biggie Smalls, there is a main theme of rising from poverty and entering into wealth. Wealth in this sense not only means material things, but it also makes reference to intangibles such as stability for himself and his mother. He begins by noting material things including: “condos in Queens,” “putting 5 Karats in my baby girls ear,” “lunches, brunches, interviews by the pool,” “50 inch screens, money green leather sofa, two cars a limousine with a chauffeur.” These material things highlight significance in his life because in comparison to his childhood, they are infinitely superior.
His childhood consisted of “eatin sardines for dinner,” being “considered a common thief,” “dropping out of high school,” and living in public housing. Furthermore, Biggie’s life was immensely changed in a different aspect. Along with his economic wealth, he gained stability for himself and his mother and made her proud of him.
He states, “My mother loves to show me off, of course, smiles every time my face is up in The Source.” Biggie also states that he celebrated every day because of his hard work and determination he was able to create a better opportunities for himself and his family. In the song “Juicy” there is a reoccurring theme of rising from the rags to the riches and never giving up on a dream that you set out to accomplish.
Notorious BIG reflects on his life while growing up and always being told, “you’ll never make it.” In the song he says, “Considered a fool because I dropped out of high school, stereotypes of a black male misunderstood, and its all good.” He dropped out of school so that he could continue to make music and pursue a career.
While growing up in poverty, Biggie was often faced with the option to sell drugs or stay in school. When he dropped out of school at the age of 17, he became a drug dealer so he could make some money with the ultimate goal of becoming a rapper. In the song he says, “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 daughters, and all the niggaz in the struggle, you know what I’m sayin?” When he was growing up there were things he had to do to get by, there were things that he had to do that weren’t always legal, but he did what he needed to provide for his family. Another important part of the song was when said, “I let my tape rock ‘till my tape popped”.
He didn’t give up on his dream of becoming a rapper. No matter how many people told him he couldn’t do it, or he wouldn’t last, he never gave up and he continued to give out his tapes. Biggie’s “tape popped” when his song was number one on Billboard Magazine. This led him to being signed by Bad Boy Records, which was owned by fellow East Coast Rapper, Sean “Diddy” Combs. After becoming rich and making it in the rap game, Biggie became a different person. He didn’t know what to do with the wealth he had and flaunted it in the wrong ways. In the song he says, “Girls used to diss me, now they writing letters because they miss me.”
When he said that they used to diss him, he was referring to how people that were close to him changed because they wanted to take advantage of him, and people that weren’t close to him wanted to be friends and benefit from the wealth he had. In this part of the song he was referring to how wealth can corrupt people. He remained unfazed, kept his circle small, and still pursued his dream of becoming a famous rapper. An excerpt from the song, after Notorious became popular, “Living life without fear, putting 5 karats in my baby girl’s ear, lunches, brunches, interviews by the pool…” This was an important transformation in his life because he went from a gangster on the streets and slinging drugs, to a rich rap star.
Another quote from the song was, “Phone bill about 2 G’s flat, no need to worry my accountant handles that.” With all the wealth that he accumulated, he was carefree living. He went from struggling to put food on the table for his family to letting businessmen handle all his financial decisions. He had seen the way that wealth could change people. Also in the song he mentioned, “50 inch screen, money green leather sofa, got two rides, a limousine with a chauffer.”
The way that Biggie spent his money was typical to any other person that made it from rags to riches. He went from wondering if he would have a meal to eat, to spending money on lavish things. The end of Biggie’s career came on March 3, 1997 when he was shot several times outside of an album release party in Los Angeles. He came out to a shoot music video for the song “Hypnotize” off his album “Ready To Die”. With the past beef that he had with west coast rappers, the trip out to California wasn’t encouraged. He died six days later in the hospital.
Through out Biggie’s life, there were a couple strong characteristics that he left behind. He left behind a strong work ethic with an attitude that nobody could out work him. When he died, it was a tough loss in the rap world because he had been very influential amongst rappers that had come from tough childhoods and lived in tough areas. He was a perfect example of emerging from a life of poverty and becoming successful and extremely wealthy.
“The Notorious B.I.G. â Juicy Lyrics.” Rap Genius. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. http://rapgenius.com/The-notorious-big-juicy-lyrics “The Notorious B.I.G.” Billboard. Rovi Corporation, 9 Mar. 2010. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. . Duke, Alan. “FBI Reveals Documents in Biggie Smalls Death Probe.” CNN. CNN, 08 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. .