Harnessing his natural storytelling ability, Biggie vividly shares the story of struggle, of being broke and overlooked. “Born Sinner, Opposite of Winner / Remember when I used to eat sardines?” he asks. Sure, he’s showing off his swagger, but there’s also a poignant vulnerability amid the machismo. “Girls used to insult me / Now they write me letters because they miss me,” he admits. “Misunderstood black male stereotypes/And it’s still all good.”
Juicy was heralded as a classic almost from the start, catapulting the 22-year-old to the highest levels of rap. A self-fulfilling prophecy: he crowned himself a new king of rap in the East
That rise, from when “birthdays were the worst days” to champagne-drinking glory, is the quintessential rap Cinderella tale. In that regard, Sean “Diddy” Combs served as Biggie’s sonic butler and best man. Diddy (or Pete Rock, depending on which version of the story you believe) took advantage of a winning formula of flipping classic ’80s samples for the succulent beat. Mtume’s #1 R&B hit Juicy Fruit adds an addictive melody and gives Biggie’s tough rhymes a nice upbeat vibe.