Life Lessons from The Rapper Biggie Smalls
Ready to Die was released September 1994. The Notorious B.I.G released his debut album, on the Bad Boy Record Label. Over 2 decades later Christopher Wallace, the Notorious B.I.G, is still considered one of the best rappers dead or alive.
At the age of 17, the Ready to Die rapper, was making a name for himself on the streets as a fresh young musician. Watch the video below to see the Notorious BIG rap at one of his famous street battles:
After signing to the Bad Boy record label, he was ready to rap, produce and bring along new artist to the music scene. His game changing lyrics help him claim the title, King of New York.
Although the, Ready to Die, album talks about robbing people, selling drugs and doing what it takes to survive, for many black youth in America, these songs spoke to the everyday struggle they live in.
If you listen to the album, you will hear success principles, a positive thought process and mindset, between the hard lyrics. These principle can still those who listen to the album.
Songs like, “Thinks Done Change”, “Ready to Die”, “Juicy”, “Everyday Struggle” and “Respect” spoke truths to the listening audience.
Although NWA, Public Enemy and Tupac were talking about inequality, Notorious BIG could express his thoughts like no other artist. Notorious BIG was not only talking struggle but was talking about creating an abundant life.
21 Life Principals from Ready to Die
“Talk slick, your get your neck slit quick”
If you look at these lyrics, with your business eyes, you get great wisdom. When you talk about things you do not have enough information about, your business can suffer and so will your reputation.
When you talk to your customer speak about what you know. Ask questions and find out more information about what you do not know.
The idea here is to speak less and listen more.
“Back in the days, our parents used to take care of us, look at em now, they even fu***n scared of us”
When growing up our parents or guardian took care of us. By the time our kids grow up, these day, they tend to know more than us as they have access to technology we once did not.
It is important to have guidance from mentors, parent figure or even managers, whenever possible. They will show you right from wrong.
Kids these days want more than their parents can provide many times. This happens because of all they see on TV, social media and in rap videos.
Millennials, will take more risk to get when they want and are not always focused on the consequences of their decisions. Everyone wants to life the good life faster than ever before.
“I’m ready to get this paper, G, you with me?”
At some point in life you will decide to go for your goals and dreams. If you decided to, you will need to have the right team in your corner.
Find the right people to help you succeed. Your plans for success can help them become a success, also.
Whoever you decide to team up with make sure they are ready for new challenges, they complement the skills you don’t have and they understand the goal.
It is also important to network and find other people to work with as you build your business and develop our goals.
“Treat it like boxing: stick and move, stick and move”
I believe this is a simple principle. You must stand in front of your goal and try to “hit it.” As you try to hit your goal, life will come at you.
Then is when you must keep moving. Do not stop. Learnt to look at challenges as opportunity. An opportunity to learn and do something that you may have not considered.
If you do not hit your target you must adjust your technique and try to hit it again. Like in boxing the person who has done most of the hitting usually wins.
You must try. If you fail. You must try again but first you must adjust your game plan.
“Left the drugs alone, took the thugs along with me”
Selling drugs on the streets is a small vision. How long can you keep selling drugs before you end up in jail or dead in the streets?
In life, we need to focus on the big picture to succeed. Our purpose, path and progress.
The THUG look is an attitude. It’s not necessarily who you are but it’s the way you carry yourself throughout life.
The THUG’s can also be your closest friends. You take them along so they can also get out of the negative. When you have people on your team who understand the goal and everyone is working for the same goal, then the team is unstoppable.
“I want it all from the Rolexes, to the Lexus, getting paid is all I expected”
When we work hard in growing our business and ourselves, we want to benefit from the fruits of our labor.
When you have a goal and you reach it, at the right time in your business or life, you may want to consider purchasing certain items that you want.
These are items that motivate you or meet your needs based on the lifestyle you want to live.
“I don’t chase em, I replace em”
All though in the lyrics, the Notorious BIG is talking about girls, I believe these wise words can be used in any context.
In life, you cannot chase people and try to convince them to share in your vision.
If you tell your vision to someone and they do not see it, you must move quickly to find someone else. We must present our vision to as many people as possible.
If they are the right person and understand the goal they will let you know. If they are the wrong person they will let you know.
In business and in life look for people who understand what you are looking to accomplish and work with that person.
Henry Ford understood this principle. When his employees told him, something could not be done, he replaced them with people who said it could be.
“Far from the inventor, but I got this rap sh*t sewed”
Do you have an idea for a product or service? Do you think there are others in the industry already doing what you are considering?
Sticking to our Henry Ford example from above, look at all the companies and industries that came after Ford. They were not the inventors but found ways to work in that same industry.
If everyone who wanted to build cars said, “Well that’s already been done.” we could not have innovative companies like, Tesla.
Remember you do not have to re-invent the circle but you need work with what you have and improve on the strength of the circle.
“Born sinner, the opposite of a winner”
Not every one of us are born with a silver spoon in our mouth. Yes, some of us must work hard, longer and smarter than others.
We all don’t have the advantages, skills and understanding we would like to have but the ones who succeed are those who utilize the ones they have.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can change them. You can be what you want to be in life. You need to do something different and you must have a different believe about yourself.
A believe others may not see.
“Call the crib, same number same hood, it’s all good”
No matter how successful you become in life do not forget who you are. Many people humble themselves after becoming successful while others seem to change overnight.
Do not let the influence of money change your character. Stay true to who you are and do not forget the people who helped you along the way.
Even after you become rich, have a big house, fancy car, money in the bank and do not have to work long hours as once before, remember you can lose everything overnight.
“I made the change from a common thief, to up close and personal with Robin Leach”
When you believe, there is no other way for you to succeed other than to sell drugs, join a gang or rob people, you allow that thought to manifest itself.
But when you change your beliefs, you can change the direction of your life.
Maybe your goal is to have a better life then you have now?
Perhaps your dream is to one day be rich and buy a home for your parents. Your dream can be anything that you believe in, about yourself.
“Livin’ life without fear”
If you go through life fearing the outcomes, that may never come true, you will not act on the things you know you should be doing.
You stop yourself before you even give yourself a chance.
We must live life to its fullest. Go for your dreams and goals. Do not worry about failure or fear. Failure and fear are just false evidence appearing real.
Focus on being the best at what you want to accomplish. Good things will happen for you.
Study the life stories of people you look up to in society. They did not let fear stop them or hold them back as they reached to accomplish what they set up to.
“Considered a fool cause I dropped out of high school, Stereotypes of a black make misunderstood, And it’s still all good”
When you tell people, you are going to drop out of school and pursue a different path, not everyone will understand your decision to do so.
It is so far out of the “normal” that people fight it. They will tell you you’re not smart, you’re not going to succeed, you need an education and the list goes on.
Not everyone will understand what you are doing it.
Do I advocate dropping out of high school? No.
But after going to college and working for the last 20 years, I do not believe college or university is for everyone.
With the internet and the advancement in technology, I believe there are opportunities to make a living, as long as you have a plan and follow your dreams.
Read the story of people like Bill Gates and you will see he is doing fine.
“Damn right I like the life I live, ‘Cause I went from negative to positive”
In business and in life when you make the right changes, the direction of your focus changes. The direction you take can lead to a success you never knew.
First, you should decide you want to change and why it needs to change. Then you must act to change all the things you need to. You may need to develop new habits and stop old unproductive habits.
Your past is not an indicator of your future. Only you are the indicator of your desires and only you can act on it.
“I remember I was just like you, Smoking blunts with my crew”
I remember watching videos from the 1960’s. Make peace not war. Followed by people experimenting with marijuana.
Today marijuana has become big business. It seems like all of society is embracing the idea of legalized it.
The more it becomes a standard, the more people will embrace it and go through life doing what their friends are doing. It may not happen right away but watch and see a few generations from now things will be different.
I have always heard if you want to be a success and live life-like no other, than you have to do the opposite of what the masses are doing.
If one person can change his or her life and head in a positive direction, that means a whole community can as well.
“Love me when I’m broke or when I’m filthy f**k**g rich”
When you have a business or life partner, choose them wisely. Your partner should motivate you and push you towards your dreams, goals and desires.
Your bond should be strong and unbreakable. There needs to be an understanding of where each person on the team is coming from. What experiences they bring that are unique to them.
This will help the team focus on where it is going.
When you have a strong understanding, and respect, you work together to achieve all your goals. You can’t fail if you have the right people in your corner.
“She helped me plan out my robberies on my enemies. Didn’t hesitate to squeeze, to get my life out of danger”
This lyric is very visual. I believe it gets the point across if you look at it in a business or marriage context.
We need good people in our life. Someone we can trust in the good and bad time. Someone who will made the hard decisions when we can’t.
You and I should have a business or life partner who understands the dreams, goals and action plan. That person will not hesitate to implement that plan.
We need to partner up with people who understand the risks and someone who is willing to do what it takes for the partnership to be successful. To me, this is the true definition of teamwork.
“Givin ends to my friends and it feels stupendous, tremendous cream, f**k a dollar and a dream”
No matter how hard you work never forget the people who helped you along the way. Reward the people who believed in you and your vision.
When you work hard and make money share it with people. Give to causes you believe in. Nothing feels better. As you continue to give, the more you will receive, so you can give more away.
“Not able to move behind the great steal gate, Time to contemplate, damn, where did I fail? All the money I stacked was all the money for bail”
There are so many ways one can make money. In life, we believe we are getting ahead and all the right cards are coming our way. Then something happens.
Sometimes in life things will happen and you will hit rock bottom. This time can be hard and it will take good friends, money, and hard work to get out of your situation.
You can do it because anytime you bit rock bottom, this is the time to re-re-plan.
A better time is time is once a month, so you keep your finger on the pulse and do not hit rock bottom.
“Representin BK to the fullest”
Where are you from and what do you stand for?
You are like a player on a sports team. You need to understand what it means to represent the name on the back of your jersey and the name of your team.
The name is your character. It is how you carry yourself when no one is looking. It’s what you believe in. The principle which help you become a success.
In business, it’s can be your mission and vision statement. It’s what all the people in your company understand about the company. It is how you develop the company culture.
When we walk tall, and put the success of our family and community on our shoulders, we think differently. We take different responsibilities and hold on to values which we may have not before.
We make important decisions differently because we consider more. You should consider the billions of people on Earth, not just yourself. When you do you operate outside of your ego.
“If I said it, I meant it, Bite my tongue for no-one”
Rappers are good at speaking their minds. Music is a great venue to express your thought and frustrations. Music allows the artist to be creative and even change the views of the world.
In life, all we have is our good word, the bonds we make and our good name. We should do our best not to break that for anyone.
If you have something to say then speak your mind but be respectful and considerate.
In business, it’s the people who speak up who get notice and promoted. The next time you are in a business meeting, don’t stay quiet. Bring value to the meeting.
New artists come out every day but not like the Notorious BIG. Ready to Die is a raw music album which still speaks of hardships millions of people experience.
It is time for us to open our minds and mouths and say something about the inequalities of this world.
The time is now for us to make the changes we been meaning to at work, business and the home. It is time to show our communities we want to improve the lives of people.
Music not only tells a story, it can change the world if the right people act based on the message that is being spoken.
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