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Meaning of the song ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ by ‘The Notorious B.I.G.’

Released: 1994

“Suicidal Thoughts”, by the titan of East Coast rap, The Notorious B.I.G., is a searing, raw depiction of mental anguish, self-loathing, and the contemplation of suicide. The song delves into Biggie’s innermost turmoil, demonstrating his struggle with his darkest impulses, while he grapples with questions of morality, redemption, and the afterlife.

The track kicks off with a phone conversation, implicating the listener as an eavesdropper listening to Biggie’s unfolding emotional turmoil. Right off the bat, Biggie delivers a line that lays bare his suicidal ideation, “When I die, fuck it, I wanna go to hell”. His rationale, “Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fucking tell”, frames the crux of his struggle – a struggle with self-worth and a spiraling descent into self-loathing.

Biggie goes on to paint a grim picture of his imagined afterlife, “Dressed in white, I like black Timbs and black hoodies”. This line conveys his detachment from what is traditionally seen as angelic or ‘good’. He’s more comfortable in ‘black’, symbolizing his acceptance of his perceived wrongdoings and sins. His affinity for “black Timbs and black hoodies” is a nod to the wardrobe staples of the 90s gritty street culture that Biggie was part of, thus emphasizing his comfort in his real, flawed self.

His despair escalates with an emotional confession about hurting his mother: “Lying to my mother, even stealing out her purse”. He traces back his life of “crime after crime” and blames himself for the despair of his loved ones, even suggesting that his mother might have wished for an abortion.

As the song progresses, Biggie unveils more layers of his guilt and regret, invoking detailed imagery of self-harm, “Throw the Magnum to my head, threaten to pull shit…And squeeze, until the bed’s completely red”. Here, Biggie reveals his pain in its rawest form, giving insights into his contemplation of suicide, which he views as an escape from the looping cycle of his torment.

He cites examples from pop culture, like Pookie from New Jack City being addicted to crack or Ramo from Beat Street dying on a train track, to describe his feeling of being trapped in a situation with no real escape. He’s hinting at the social conditions that contribute to his sense of hopelessness.

The song ends abruptly with the sound of a gunshot and the voice on the other end of the line trying to call Biggie back. The chilling ending leaves listeners with a poignant sense of loss and amplifies the track’s despairing mood.

“Suicidal Thoughts” is a haunting track that takes listeners deep into Biggie’s psyche, exposing his inner turmoil, remorse, and guilt. It’s a testament to his prowess as a storyteller, and while it’s a tough pill to swallow, it’s an essential piece in understanding the complicated man behind the moniker, The Notorious B.I.G.

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