“Gimme The Loot” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

I’ve already talked at length about how awesome The Notorious B.I.G. was as a rapper. “Gimme The Loot” is a prime example of the narrative skills Biggie had. Telling a story via rhyme is damn near a lost art these days. Big excelled at it when even the worst emcees had to be somewhat proficient at creating a narrative arc in their lyrics.

“Gimme The Loot” finds Biggie playing not one, but two characters. Both characters are robbery-happy, which is something that was definitely a thing that happened regularly in Brooklyn in the early ‘90s. While most people would have to use their imagination to come up with the scenarios envisioned by Biggie, his tales are only a slight embellishment of the reality (at least as a victim) a lot of New Yorkers dealt with at the time. Of course Big puts his own darkly humorous spin on the proceedings, boasting about how he’s been “robbing niggas since the slave ships.”

The only other emcee in history who was able to pull off one-act plays like this on a regular basis was Slick Rick (another one of my all-time top five), who played multiple characters on a host of songs (most notably 1988’s “Mona Lisa”). Rapping is unquestionably an art, and although the subject matter of “Gimme The Loot” might hit in some uncomfortable spaces (especially these days–a lot of hip-hop lyrics have NOT aged well), it’s still an artistic triumph, and one that KNOCKS. If anyone ever writes a movie about grimy New York City in the ‘90s, “Gimme The Loot” better be part of the soundtrack.

Also, how come Easy Mo Bee doesn’t get props as a producer? Most of the best moments on Ready To Die (from a production standpoint) belong to him.

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