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Meaning of ‘Deadly Combination’ by ‘Big L’ feat. 2Pac

Released: 2016

Features: 2Pac

“Deadly Combination” is a hard-hitting track by Big L, featuring the legendary 2Pac, that paints a stark picture of the realities of the hip-hop culture, street life, and the struggles they faced. In this song, both MCs share their insight about the dark corners of their lives, reflecting on the dangers, temptiness, and trials they endured.

The verse starts with 2Pac declaring uncertainty about his future, implying a sense of paranoia with the lines, ‘I think niggas is tryna kill me’. He speaks on the treachery in the street life, pointing out how once-close associates can turn into potential threats. The dread of being targeted by law enforcement is evident where he says, ‘Keepin’ it real, and even if I do conceal. My criminal thoughts, preoccupied wit’ keepin’ steel’. Pac also calls out former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with ‘I’m bustin’ on Giuliani’, criticizing his harsh policies towards the city’s Black population.

Now let’s slide to Big L’s verse, where he flexes his status and wealth with lines like ‘While y’all be on the corners bummy and high. I be out buyin’ the finest shit money can buy’. He employs braggadocio to convey his success in the hip hop game and presents a contrast to his struggle-filled past. He references Notorious B.I.G. and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), indicating his aspiration to be as successful and influential as they are. The line ‘Every time I touch mics, you hear all the freaks scream’, signifies the respect and admiration he garners from his fans.

To round off, “Deadly Combination” is a potent dose of fearless narrative from two of the most significant figures in Hip Hop. They were never shy to express their realities, which inevitably played a part in their iconic contributions to the genre.

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