“Come On (Motherfucker)” by The Notorious B.I.G. & Sadat X (1999)

Upon commercial release, the “motherfucker” was left off of “Come On”’s original title. Although it didn’t officially see the light of day until 2000 (on the Notorious one’s posthumous Born Again CD), the duet between two of NYC’s finest emcees was recorded seven years prior. At the time, Biggie was on the come up, sprinkling the underground with gems. Meanwhile Sadat X, 1/3 of the controversial outfit Brand Nubian, was at the top of his commercial game. The crew’s second album, In God We Trust, charted in the top twenty. X’s nasal, offbeat flow set Brand Nubian apart vocally from other NYC crews. To my ears, he’s one of the golden age of rap’s most underrated wordsmiths.

BIG and X seem like a bit of a mismatch on paper. Biggie even mentions the contrast between the two in the song, stating “Biggie(’s) the bastard/Sadat’s kinda spiritual”. Sadat leaves the 5% behind for a minute, though. “Come On” is on some raw, boom-bap, run yo’ jacket and Timbs, two motherfuckers straight spittin’ shit. Nothing conscious about even one bar. Nothing radio friendly about it, either.

“I got seven MAC-11’s, about eight .38’s
Nine 9’s, ten MAC-10’s the shits never end
You can’t touch my riches
Even if you had MC Hammer and them 357 bitches!”

Those lines lead off “Come On”’s third verse, but there’s a famous freestyle from a 2Pac concert in which Biggie spits these same bars. I’m wondering which came first. I’m going to guess the former, because if Big made that shit up on the spot…mannnnnnn.

If you love early ‘90s NYC hip-hop and you don’t love this song, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s so good I don’t even mind the fact that Puff’s voice is mixed way up in the chanted chorus.

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