Warning (by Notorious BIG)

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This song is a great piece of storytelling. It's just the thoughts flying around BIG's head when he gets word that some old acquaintances are coming to rob him now he's so wealthy.

The track's real masterstroke is the opening exchange between BIG and his chum on the phone(the chum being BIG with a different vocal treatment, i think). The pal has already told him some folks are coming to get him, and then reminds BIG of some folks he used to hang with.("Remember them niggas from the hill up in brownsville / thatcha rolled dice with / smoked and got nice with")

Big remembers, but says nah, they wouldn't do that. His pal cuts in quickly - he didn't say it was them, it was just that those chaps introduced him to the real villains!

Great attention to detail - instead of the pal ringing up and immediately revealing the identity of the attackers, the exchange takes an unnecessary de-tour. It's much more conversational and unforced this way - human exchanges are full of false starts and tiny misunderstandings like this. It's so nicely observed.

Lots of great moments still to come! When his pal finishes, BIG wasting no time in telling him to "Call the coroner!" The rottweilers by the door being fed gunpowder. The pronounciation of "Hard-COOORE!" reprised from the previous track "Machine Gun Funk".

An odd personal observation - the "sss" sound Big uses at the end of "dang-er-usss" sounds curiously effeminate to these ears - most definitely at odds with the macho tone of the track. I prefer not to bother listening to the short skit after the song, where the two robbers arrive on BIG's property and get shot. I prefer to think of "Warning" as the sound of BIG psyching himself up for a violent conflict, without any real ACTION.

There's so much going on in this song, i could write all day about it. It's great!

What do you think?

stool (stool), Thursday, 20 November 2003 10:08 (seventeen years ago) link

Mr Stool, you are spot on. IMHO this is easily the definitive BIG song by a mile. Let me enumerate some of the ways:
1) The brilliant Isaac Hayes loop.
2) The astonishing moronicism of the beat.
3) Even better than the word dangerous, the oddly British intonation of "explode on your ARSE'OLE" in the line before.
4) The astonishingly deranged nature of the whole song - I mean three or four minutes of ridiculously detailed ultraviolence fantasies provoked by something your mate overheard at a gambling spot at a presumably inebriated time just prior to 5.46am.
5) (In common with all BIG songs) The amusing amount of breathing problems and 'Jesus, is he healthy enough to make it to the end of this song?' slow-motion qualities to the rapping you can hear on headphones.
6) The line about "stick me like flypaper vapour/ please chill drop the caper" line.
7) As you have so rightly pointed out, the way he cuts in with "call the coroner".
8) The fact that they actually thought it was appropriate to make a video of this song, which I've only seen once but I seem to recall it just features the camera endlessly circling Notorious B.L.O.A.T.E.R. in a nightclub as he lets loose into his mobile phone.

etc etc

Next, ILM needs to give props to "The What". (esp. "I spit on your grave then I grab my charles dickens")

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 20 November 2003 10:53 (seventeen years ago) link

Also, does he really say "nah, they're my n***az/ nah, love wouldn't disrespect"

Is he calling his mate "love"?

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 20 November 2003 10:57 (seventeen years ago) link

actually, thinking about it, doesn't he also say "slow down, love, please chill drop the caper"?

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:51 (seventeen years ago) link

"c4 to ya door no beef no more" is an all-time favourite line

pete b. (pete b.), Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:53 (seventeen years ago) link

ILM did give props to 'the what' on this thread: 30-step history of hiphop [now in 60 steps!] - especially to the amazing 'excuse me, flows just grow through me...' lines...

i love it because you just know that virtually any mc other than meth would have been completely stomped on by biggie in the charisma stakes

pete b. (pete b.), Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:58 (seventeen years ago) link

stool = kilian btw...

stool (stool), Thursday, 20 November 2003 13:56 (seventeen years ago) link

...was feeling insecure about posting a hip-hop thread being an ill-informed part-time listener. anyways...

"Also, does he really say "nah, they're my n***az/ nah, love wouldn't disrespect"
Is he calling his mate "love"?"

I always thought the "love" was not referring to the guy on the other end of the phone, i felt it was shorthand for "There is only Love between me and them (the guys at brownsville) / they wouldn't disrespect."

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Thursday, 20 November 2003 14:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah, I thought that the 'love' might well just be short hand for the love he's got for his mates. But given the usually not-so-very-progressive views on intra-male affection in hip hop, it'd be interesting if he was saying something like 'slow down, duckie, please chill drop the caper'.

Unlikely, though.

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 20 November 2003 14:23 (seventeen years ago) link

Then later you've got all that "explode on your ARSE'OLE" stuff...

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 20 November 2003 14:23 (seventeen years ago) link

just downloaded it now after reading this thread,it is indeed a great track...

robin (robin), Sunday, 23 November 2003 17:45 (seventeen years ago) link

"actually, thinking about it, doesn't he also say "slow down, love, please chill drop the caper"?

and also, he says "Yes, love / love your fuckin attitude" on 'Gimme the Loot'. interesting...

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Tuesday, 25 November 2003 17:45 (seventeen years ago) link

two months pass...
"there's gonna be a lot of slow singing
and flower bringing
if my burglar alarm starts ringing"

is my favourite part

robin (robin), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 02:18 (seventeen years ago) link

also,killian,you should post more to hip hop threads
we could do with more genuine enthusiasm and less sub trifean cynicism on them...

robin (robin), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 02:18 (seventeen years ago) link


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