How I Stopped Hating and Learned to Love Biggie Smalls

January 18, 2011

I’m going to start my blogging life here at That Whiiite with something that might scare some of my boyfriends who read this noise. Alright, deep breath, here it goes:

I didn’t hear “Juicy” by Biggie until I was 20 years old.

It’s one of those things that just happened; an embarrassing moment in an otherwise full musical life. When I heard it in its full baller glory something snapped in me. For the first time in my life, this LA white boy realized that the West Coast could not hold it down when it came to hip-hop.

Yeah we have Snoop, who put out one decent album and hasn’t produced anything of value save for a ridiculous (read: stupid) guest spot on the Gorillaz album and getting to hang out with Katy Perry’s breasts. Yeah “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was cool when I was 16 and Pharell was still relevant, but come on, listen to it, is it really that good? Yeah we have Dre, who made one album that had some pretty dope beats and a couple of great tracks, then drove The Game crazy, somehow, and then started selling headphones and soda like a dick. And yeah we have Pac, whose career reads like Heath Ledger’s: a fine performer with particular strokes of genius who was taken too soon but without any continuous strain of inspired performances.

Biggie, Nas, Big L, Wu-Tang, they were anathema to what I had been conditioned to like, for no other reason than we had heard about beef that Biggie and Pac had. White kids just adopt whatever conflict is easiest to co-opt and tend to gravitate towards fights they can never be a part of; no danger, no risk. Biggie and Pac was indicative of that in the 90’s, and some one with a larger range of hip-howledge will have to tell me what the fight was last decade. Pac was the side I took for the same reason all my east coast boyfriends take Biggie’s.

I guess the moment I realized that East Coast rap read like a canon of urban cultural icons and the West Coast lineup read like so many Tyler Perry guest star credits was yesterday morning. “Juicy” came on while I was riding the bus from work and I turned it up as I heard “Get a grip” and grimaced my way through Puff’s idiotic, but thankfully soft, interjections. I looked down at my player and decided to check what else I had as I usually forget what I put on there until I really need a song and end up being pissed about it. No Pac, no Snoop, no Dre, no Game (haha). Nas, Big L, Biggie, Wu-Tang, they all showed up like the hot, drunk, smart hoes at a party who didn’t really want to dance but wanted to play pong and probably beat you but then ended up smoking an L with you outside until 4 AM.

So I left, realized that West Coast rap was gimmicky and inconsistent, and never looked back.

For those of you who don’t get the movie reference, get some culture you stupid plebbies.



  1. what about hieroglyphics? N.W.A.? Ice Cube? DJ Shadow? Cypress Hill? Aceyalone? Blackilicious? Dilated Peoples? MURS and Livin Legends? Ice T? Jurrasic 5? Madlib? Warren G? Pharcyde? People Under the Stairs? Too Short? or Zion I? I mean I think East Coast rap is better, but the West Coast isn’t blown out of the water. Don’t forget there are alot of shitty Wu-Tang Albums and 2 shitty Nas albums.

  2. The saddest thing about west-coast hip-hop is that its culture has never been able to move past Dr. Dre – like Crooked I said “niggas blaze in stress, waitin’ on Detox to save the west” For the last 20 years, everything popular to come from LA has either been directly from Dre’s camp or extremely derivative of Dre’s style. I don’t know why its sound has been so pigeonholed – it’s the equivalent of all rap from NY trying to sound like the Wu-Tang Clan for 20 years.

    The west coast definitely had some classics tho. Ras Kass – Soul on Ice is in my Top 5 hip-hop albums of all time. Ice Cube was awesome – a westcoast Chuck D – his first few albums are usually mysteriously left out of the typical hip-hop canon. A lot of people are into Hieroglyphics/Del the Funkee Homosapien and People Under the Stairs but I’ve never really given them a chance. Dilated Peoples/Jurassic 5 were dope but they got kind of phased out by high school. I’m not a huge fan of Bay Area rappers like E-40, Too $hort and Mac Dre, but they definitely had a unique style. And of course I can’t forget everything G-Funk influenced from ’92-’95 or so: Chronic, Doggstyle, Dogg Pound, Warren G, Compton’s Most Wanted, etc….

    Anyways good stuff – keep it up..

  3. Completely understandable qualms guys; if I had to go through every rapper I like from both coasts and the reasons why and why one canon is better than the other, etc. etc. etc. it would have taken 2000 words and y’all wouldn’t have read it. I love Ice Cube, Evan will attest to my love of Madlib, I dig E-40 just because he’s a clown, but honestly none of those guys have produced a discography that has really stood the test of time. A bunch of classic LPs, but no one you can point to and say “man, that ziggo brought the fire 90% of the time.”

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