By the summer of 1995, The Notorious B.I.G. was on top of the world. His platinum-selling remix to "One More Chance" knocked Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" out of the top spot of the Billboard charts. Music videos for "Juicy" and "Big Poppa" stayed in constant rotation on music television networks. He graced the cover of The Source and was hailed "King of New York" in the same issue. Plus, on top of all that, his debut album, Ready to Die, cracked double platinum for sales over two million. Not bad for an album that dropped on Friday the 13th.
Packed with enough cinematic and autobiographical details to fit into a feature length film, Ready to Die was the conception of the stress-filled days that followed young Christopher Wallace’s rearview upon inking his deal with Sean "Puffy" Combs' then-fledging record label, Bad Boy Records. While the album went on to supersede expectations and garner scores of acclaim, the significance behind how it came together grows larger by the year.
As we continue to celebrate Black Music Month, revisit how a couple black visionaries got together to mark a moment in time with a classic, and an empire to go along with it. This is history. This is black excellence. This is, the story of Ready to Die.