“The What” from The Notorious B.I.G’s album ‘Ready to Die (The Remaster)’ is a quintessential 1990s rap song that oozes raw power and unapologetic bluntness. This song features Method Man from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, marking one of the rare collaborations Biggie had during his short-lived but impactful career.

The track reflects the tough, streetwise sensibilities of the two rappers, as well as the gritty realities of the East Coast gangsta rap scene of the era. The subject matter is uncompromisingly explicit, speaking about the harshness of street life, while also flaunting their braggadocio persona and skillsets. The lyrics containing references to HIV and guns may not sit well with everyone, but they certainly represent honest expressions of life as perceived by the artists.

The Notorious B.I.G’s flow is particularly gripping in its lethargic drawl and heavier tone. His powerful delivery conjures some spine-chilling verses that showcase his knack for striking imagery and story-telling ability. Method Man, on the other hand, brings his unique raspy voice and animated style to the song, injecting additional energy to the mix and intensifying the overall auditory experience.

Produced by Easy Mo Bee, the beat is classic 90s, minimalistic yet catchy with its soulful sampling. The looping laid-back beat lays a solid bed for the rappers to lay down their dense narrative, without stealing the limelight from their vocal performance.

A couple of detracting elements could be the explicit and potentially offensive language, as well as the degradation of women, which may not resonate well with a wider audience.

Overall, “The What” is a vibrant piece of 90s hip hop that demonstrates the technical prowess of The Notorious B.I.G. and Method Man. For those who appreciate the golden era of rap filled with compelling tales and distinctive production styles, this song is a treasure.

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