Hold Ya Head/ Notorious Big featuring Bob Marley/ song review

Rating: 4 stars and a half

(produced by Clinton Sparks)

Picture a heartbroken mother whose son has been shot down in the street. Bob Marley’s voice, a sample taken out of Bob Marley‘s « Johnny Was » song, draws an emotional Mater Dolorosa picture on his typical reggae musical background:

« Woman hold her head and cry,
‘Cause her son had been shot down in the street and died… »

Notorious BIG personifies the bad ghetto guy who just died. You can hear the dead guy talking about his life preceding his death.

Now that his soul has left his dead body, the deceased gangsta watches his former life and actions…

Notorious offers us a colorful description of his bad guy life: definitely gangsta, showing no mercy, lying to his mom and stealing out of her purse…

A rather negative assessment of his thug life make the listener feel how much of a sinner he used to be. Notoripus Big’s choice for the evil is quite clear. Direction the burning hell:

« When I die, fuck it I wanna go to *hell*
Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell
It don’t make sense, goin’ to heaven wit’ the goodie-goodies
Dressed in white, I like black Tims and black hoodies
God will probably have me on some real strict shit
No sleepin’ all day, no gettin my dick licked
Hangin’ with the goodie-goodies loungin’ in paradise
Fuck that shit, I wanna tote guns and shoot dice
All my life I been considered as the worst
Lyin’ to my mother, even stealin’ out her purse
Crime after crime, from drugs to extortion
I know my mother wished she got a fuckin’ abortion… »

The dramatic dimension is very well expressed by the instrumentals: violins, keyboards and dark beats that resemble heartbeats are intelligently associated with Notorious Big’s dark voice that embodies a corrupted gangster’s personality. There is no way out his destiny. He lived by the gun, his life was made of corruption and he eventually died by the gun. No mercy and no salvation for a man who put himself into a mental jail and who now assumes the consequences of his sinful life.

Sometimes, Notorious’ voice echoes in the background, like a ghost’s voice before the chorus beautifully sung by Bob Marley and the Wailers make the listener travel though the dead man’s mom’s wounded heart.

A mom’s heart is the most beautiful gift God gave to manhood. A mom’s heart is golden and refuses to see a bad criminal in a son. The bleeding heart of his mom will make the listener think twice before he condemns the bad guy who has just been shot.

While living his life twice, the bad criminal is glad to escape from sinful life forever. Death is choice and it has always been that way:

« I swear to God I just want to *slit* my wrists and end this bullshit
Throw the Magnum to my head, threaten to pull shit
And squeeze, until the bed’s, completely red
I’m glad I’m *dead*, a worthless fuckin’ buddah head
The stress is buildin’ up, I can’t,
I can’t believe *suicide’s* on my fuckin’ mind
I want to leave, I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin’ callin’ me
Naw you wouldn’t understand
You see its kinda like the crack did to Pookie, in New Jack
Except when I cross over, there ain’t no comin’ back
Should I die on the train track, like Remo in Beatstreet… »

Notorious’ dead soul watches people at his own funeral. He has this capacity to read into their mind. Everybody seems to miss him, but the reality is quite different: people are glad he is gone.

The song finishes on a dramatic note that looks like an agonizing man’s words:

« I reach my peak, I can’t speak,
call my nigga Chic, tell him that my will is weak
I’m sick of niggaz lyin’, I’m sick of bitches hawkin’
Matter of fact, I’m sick of talkin’ (*echoes*) »

Instrumentally, the song is very well handled. Instrumentals, beats and lyrics will lead you into the very dramatic and poignant dimension of the song. Big applause to Clinton Sparks for his excellent production of the song.

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