on September 17, 2018 | Last updated September 17, 2018
The Notorious B.I.G.Everyday Struggle
Release Type: User Audio Type: Single-track Reductions: Yes (Authored) Pitched Vocals: Yes Vocals Gender: Male (3)
If you know anything about hip-hop, Ready to Die really needs no introduction. It's one of the most legendary and highly acclaimed albums not just within the genre, but of all time. The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) was practically the king of the east coast hip-hop scene before his untimely murder - he had a knack for vivid storytelling that was deeply reflective of his own personal turmoil, and a smooth flow that was simply unmatched, to the point where some consider him the greatest rapper ever. Ready to Die was his only album released during his lifetime (though Life After Death was released only shortly afterwards and was practically complete by that time), and was praised for its lyrics that deal with gangsta life from a realistic, introspective point of view, and for its smart production that paved the way for hip-hop to come.
"Everyday Struggle" exemplifies these qualities, with its serene jazz sample and gritty lyrics. The basis of this track comes from a sample of the smooth jazz tune "Either Way" by Dave Grusin, giving the song a groovy bassline, and a surprisingly delicate flute melody serving as the song's main melodic hook, working as an interesting juxtaposition with the drum backbeat provided by a sample of the classic drumbreak from the Five Stairsteps' "Don't Change Your Love," slightly augmented by a drum machine. Biggie raps from the perspective of a drug kingpin about such subjects as dropping out of school and getting kicked out of the house, trying to make money to take care of his family and young daughter, smuggling drugs on the Amtrak, having a rat in his crew that results in his comrade getting killed, police brutality being encouraged by the mayor, and dealing with the junkies who buy what he sells. but the overlying message of it all is - the street life ain't all it's cracked up to be. It is, as the title would suggest, an everyday struggle, and Biggie addresses the subject with emotional honesty, attesting that it's so tiring that it basically makes him want to die.
The drums here play a fun, funky, aggressive hip-hop beat - the only caveat being it's fairly repetitive. Still, it's got some tricky quick kicks and double strokes, and a few short sections where the beat is slightly altered.
The bass part in this song is a pretty groovy little number, with nice HOPO licks. The keys part plays a melodic flute sample, that's a bit tricky with the quick descending triplet at the end of the pattern. The guitar part is hardly noticeable, but it's audible in the original sample source and plays roughly the same melody as the flute. The common link between all of these things is that they're all samples that are basically the same thing for the whole song, so if you enjoy them once, hopefully you'll keep doing so for a few more repetitions.
Being that this is a hip-hop song, the vocals are naturally unpitched rap vocals. If you enjoy rapping, then this one's for you, and it'll be great fun keeping up with Biggie's flow. If your reaction to all talkies is to hold your mic up to the speaker, then maybe less so. The harmonies have a double-track in the chorus, and Puff Daddy serving as the ad-lib guy in the background on harm 3.