Baskettcase: The Spirit of Biggie & Bedstuy
A Column by Jeremy Baskett
It wasn’t until college that I really started exploring new music genres. This is when I discovered that I absolutely love gangster rap. All the classics were the ones I ate up first, and still remain my favorites. People like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (pre ‘Sensual Seduction’ era, of course), The Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and my absolute favorite, Biggie Smalls.
Although I loved driving down the road blasting and singing along to ‘C.R.E.A.M.’, I never quite believed the whole aspect of gang culture. I was just a suburban kid that never saw or heard anything of that nature. The only thing that ever came close was the time that my mom accidentally drove down Skid Row in LA when I was a kid, but that didn’t make me a believer.
That all was until I moved to my favorite rappers old neighborhood, Bedford Stuyvesant. Brooklyn was the obvious choice when I was ready to move into a new place, but being a broke kid just starting to pay back my student loans, I didn’t have many options. Being as jaded as I was, Do or Die Bed-Stuy seemed like a good option.
My life now is filled with faint sounds of gunshots and 3 murders happening within a 2 block radius in the past month. When I walk around my neighborhood listening to Big, the shit becomes real. Walking past Beford Ave. and Quincy St. where Biggie had his infamous freestyle battle is almost surreal. It was rough out there for these guys, and they did what they did best to rise above the hood. So now I ask you, whether your in the farmlands, suburbs, or South Central, throw on some good gangster rap. It’ll do yourself good.