Words By Malik V.
The reasons for why we love Hip-Hop are innumerable and different for all of us. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say it’s the fact that Hip-Hop is good for any scenario. Whether it’s driving, doing homework, or pretending to pay attention in lectures, give me a situation and I’ll give you a perfect song to go with it.
Working out is where Hip-Hop can really pay dividends. Pulsating beats and aggressive rhymes can channel all my energy and adrenaline to fight through the lactic acid fermentation which burns like the third verse of “Ether” to a Jay-Z fan and finish up those last few reps. I usually switch up my workout playlist pretty frequently, but right now, “Notorious Thugs” is my current constant companion for the gym.
I’ve always thought that “Notorious…” never got the love it deserves, especially for having Biggie and Bone Thugs on it. The piano loop, and Bone singing, “It’s Bone and Biggie, Biggie” provide the perfect build up for the magic about to unfold, or for when you’re warming up for a run or about knock out a set.
Something about the melody, and the cohesion of all the voices singing together spikes your adrenaline, and the repetition of “let’s ride” in the chorus along with the double-time raps almost provide a rhythm for you to lift weights to. The tongue-tying raps motivate me to lift faster, and to finish strong. I’ll be doing curls, struggling to make it through the last few reps of the 50’s blistering my hand, and think, “If Krayzie can go one verse without taking a breath, I can sure as hell finish this damn set up”.
Lyrically, Biggie, Bizzy, Krayzie, and Layzie all show up. Biggie drops memorable bars on the leadoff verse, setting the stage for one of Bizzy Bone’s most aggressive verses. Krayzie bats cleanup with a smooth verse that exemplifies his ability to create raps that are both mellow and hardcore. Layzie picks up where Krayzie left off, with a energized appearance that ends the track perfectly with “bloody red, red, rum”. With their ability to soothe and anger the listener, Bone is up at the top of the list for Hip-Hop to listen to while working out. Give it a shot, and you’ll thank me when you max out a little higher than you did before, or when you get three miles in instead of the usual two.
It doesn’t have a booming bassline or the loud grunts that pass for rapping these days, but “Notorious Thugs” will get you through a lifting session, and will do the job for the ride home as well.