Producer: Sean "Puffy" Combs
Album: Ready to Die
Label: Bad Boy
This cinematic introduction to Biggie Smalls' Ready to Die is damn near Oscar-worthy. The milestones of Christopher Wallace's life are brilliantly delineated by musical cues (Curtis Mayfield's music signifies the era of Big's birth, The Sugar Hill Gang's 1979 "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang his troubled childhood, Audio Two's "Top Billin'" evokes the rapper's teen life as a late '80s stick-up kid, while Snoop's 1993 "Shiznit" coincides with his release from jail), this is one intro that stays with you for a long time.
Credit the album's concept of beginning with Biggie's birth and ending with his "suicide," and the first-class performances featuring the voices of the late rap star himself with Puff Daddy and Lil' Kim in key roles as Big's family members.