Yeah, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me
I’d never amount to nothin’, 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 n—-az in the struggle, you know what I’m sayin’?
Uh-ha, it’s all good baby bay-bee, uh
Word Up was a very popular magazine in the 80s. It covered hip-hop, rap, and R&B predominantly. After a spotty publication history during the 90s and 2000s, the final issue came out in April of 2012.
5. Salt’n’Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine
Salt N’ Pepa and Heavy D were both massive celebrities in the early 90s hip-hop and R&B realm. Salt N’ Pepa are still touring, and had their own show on VH1 in 2007.
Sadly, Heavy D died of a pulmonary embolism in 2011.
7. Hangin’ pictures on my wall / Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl
Mr. Magic was a New York City DJ who ran the first exclusive rap radio show on a major station. Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, his DJ, stayed on the air for six years, helping bring early hip-hop to the mainstream.
Cassettes were like CDs but had tape in them like VHS and if you listened to the same one too many times it would break, also when you were done listening to a particular cassette the player would pop open. Biggie doesn’t specify.
11. Smokin’ weed and Bambu, sippin’ on private stock / Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack / With the hat to match
The red and black lumberjack with the hat to match is a reference to a very popular style of clothing in the early 90s, pictured above.
The “Rappin’ Duke” is a hip-hop novelty song from the 70s that followed the story of a rapping John Wayne. The refrain of the song is “dah-ha, dah-ha.”
You never thought that hip hop would take it this far
Now I’m in the limelight ‘cause I rhyme tight
Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade
Born sinner, the opposite of a winner
Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner
16. Peace to Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri / Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starski
Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex, and Lovebug Starski were all big names in the late 80s, early 90s hip-hop scene.
I’m blowin’ up like you thought I would
Call the crib, same number same hood
It’s all good
Uh, and if you don’t know, now you know, n—-a, uh
You know very well who you are
Don’t let em hold you down, reach for the stars
You had a goal, but not that many
‘cause you’re the only one I’ll give you good and plenty
19. I made the change from a common thief / To up close and personal with Robin Leach
Robin Leach, pictured right, was the narrator and host of Lifestyles Of The Rich And The Famous, a TV show that showcased the lavish homes of celebrities and the ultra-rich.
And I’m far from cheap, I smoke skunk with my peeps all day
Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way
The Moet and Alize keep me pissy
Girls used to diss me
Now they write letters ‘cause they miss me
I never thought it could happen, this rappin’ stuff
I was too used to packin’ gats and stuff
Now honeys play me close like butter played toast
From the Mississippi down to the east coast
Condos in Queens, indo for weeks
Sold out seats to hear Biggie Smalls speak
Livin’ life without fear
Puttin’ 5 karats in my baby girl’s ears
Lunches, brunches, interviews by the pool
Considered a fool ‘cause I dropped out of high school
Stereotypes of a black male misunderstood
And it’s still all good
Uh…and if you don’t know, now you know, n—-a
22. Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
They were both very expensive video game systems.
24. When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this / 50 inch screen, money green leather sofa
TVs used to be very big and clunky. A 50-inch TV was very expensive; to compare, a 70-inch LED LCD TV nowadays would cost you around $2,000-$3,000.
Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur
Phone bill about two G’s flat
No need to worry, my accountant handles that
And my whole crew is loungin’
Celebratin’ every day, no more public housin’
Thinkin’ back on my one-room shack
Now my mom pimps a AC with minks on her back
And she loves to show me off, of course
The Source is a magazine that was founded in 1988 and is still running monthly.
We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay
Uh, damn right I like the life I live
‘Cause I went from negative to positive
And it’s all…
(It’s all good)
…and if you don’t know, now you know,
Uh, uh…and if you don’t know, now you know,
Uh…and if you don’t know, now you know,
30. Representin’ B-Town in the house, Junior M.A.F.I.A., mad flavor, uh / Uh, yeah, a-ight
The Junior M.A.F.I.A. was a hip-hop group formed and mentored by Biggie Smalls. The group included Lil’ Cease, MC Klepto, Banger, Nino Brown, Lil’ Kim, Chico Del Vec, Blake C, Capone, and Bugsy all during different incarnations. The group became defunct in 1997 after the death of Biggie Smalls, though three original members released an album in 2007.