The Notorious B.I.G. - “Gimme the Loot”
I’m slammin’ niggas like Shaquille, shit is real
When it’s time to eat a meal, I rob and steal
‘Cause Mom Duke ain’t givin’ me shit
So for the bread and butter, I leave niggas in the gutter
Word to mother, I’m dangerous
Crazier than a bag of fuckin’ angel dust
When I bust my gat, motherfuckers take dirt naps
I’m all that and a dime sack, where the paper at?
Rap is something that I fell in love with when I was young. The swagger, the wordplay, the beats. While I might not know a whole lot about robbing people at gunpoint or selling crack in the projects, there’s still something powerful about rap - and Biggie Smalls in particular - that speaks to me. There’s something exhilarating about when Biggie or Ghost or Scarface paints you this vivid picture of something that you’ve never experienced firsthand. Multitudes of rappers have tried (and continue to try) to make street life sound truly scary, but I’d say that less than a half of a percent succeed the way that Biggie did.
I’ve often wondered what someone who bought Ready to Die based on the appeal of “Juicy” or “Big Poppa” thought when they got three tracks into the album and heard “Gimme the Loot”. Think about it, going from “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine” to “I wouldn’t give a fuck if you’re pregnant, gimme the baby rings and the #1 MOM pendant”. Hearing Biggie’s spot on Total’s “Can’t You See” on the radio, and comparing it to probably the most intense robbery tracks of all time is stark at the very least.
And the thing is, this song is fucking hysterical.
The really terrifying thing about “Gimme the Loot” isn’t the description of multiple armed robberies, it’s the fact that it’s delivered in such a playful manner. Biggie isn’t barking at you, his voice is as syrupy as it is on “One More Chance”, but now he’s delivering lines like, “You’re talking to the robbery expert, steppin’ to your wake with your blood on my shirt.” It’s like he’s as nonchalant about “puttin’ bullet holes in your sweater” as he is about “a T-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and Welch’s grape.”
I guess not every song I post is going to have some greater sentimental value, but that’s kind of the point. Since I started living in Queens, I’ve been listening to Ready to Die pretty much every day. It’s hard not to feel like a Don while you’re walking around the city with this in your ears. Biggie just hits a little harder in the city. It’s the self-loathing, the gallows humor, the thought that Big would shoot you just as soon as smoke you down on a blunt, it’s that while he sounds cool and composed on every track, he’s really out of his fucking mind. But in the end, aren’t we all?