The 10 Crack Commandments – A Brief Academical Synopsis of a Keynote Speaker at a Business Address
Uhh, it’s the ten crack commandments
What, uhh, uhh
N can’t tell me nothin bout this coke, uh-huh
Can’t tell me nothin bout this crack, this weed
To my hustlin n’z
N’z on the corner I ain’t forget you n’z
My triple beam n’z, word up
In this opening sequence Mr Smalls opens his keynote address on being a proprietor of a one-man narcotics organisation through listing his credentials about the industry. Notorious lists an encyclopaedic knowledge of several illegal drugs including cocaine, crack-cocaine and marijuana. Biggie then credits several African-American gentlemen who we are led to believe are also drug dealers who he collaborated with on the street corners of Brooklyn when his business was operational.
I been in this game for years, it made me a animal
It’s rules to this sh*t, I wrote me a manual
A step by step booklet for you to get
your game on track, not your wig pushed back
Biggies Smalls furthers his credentials briefly listed in the introduction, but focuses more upon his business acumen as opposed to market and product knowledge. He states that there is a step-by-step guide to succeeding in this business and he has outlined some key points for further discussion. He finishes his business introduction by claiming that his guide will help aspiring narcotic dealers get up and running with a healthy forecast and projection as opposed to suffering a less than favourable end as is coupled with the tough and oft brutal nature of the industry.
Rule nombre uno: never let no one know
how much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy ‘specially
if that man fucked up, get you’re *ss stuck up
This first rule addressed immediately draws the audience’s attention by making a subtle change to the language to ensure that any wandering attentions are soon brought back in to his discussion. Biggie states that financial success and business turn over should not be broadcast to friends, clients or rivals, he later states that this is down to the unregulated nature of the business and how business rivals or clients who are down on their luck may react to knowing the material worth of a narcotics dealer.
Number two: never let em know your next move
Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence
Take it from your highness (uh-huh)
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips
Intricately linked with the first rule Mr Smalls concentrates on the heavy restriction of knowledge and how this maximises how effectively he can operate. Looking at the juxtaposition of these first two rules within this “business seminar” the listener can take a feeling of restricted knowledge as we have only heard 2 commandments and we do not know what else to expect. Much like one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s customers we know exactly how much he would like us to know, confined within Biggies linear plot narrative is much like the one dimensional struggle many crack addicts face with a single focus dominating their mind-sets. We again hear of level at which Biggie operates, likening himself to royalty.
Number three: never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms’ll set that *ss up, properly gassed up
Hoodie to mask up, sh*t, for that fast buck
she be layin in the bushes to light that *ss up
Rule number three suddenly enlightens Biggie’s audience as we can appreciate where the first two rules were developed from. Biggie’s suspicious nature reaches hyperbolic proportions as a way to demonstrate the importance of this rule, stating that your own mother would double cross you if it meant a gain in “the crack game”. It can be inferred that Biggie Smalls has learnt the hard way about trusting people in the narcotics industry or how others have being too trusting and suffered the often bloody consequences.
Number four: know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply
The Notorious B.I.G. then breaks from his issues surrounding trust in his chosen industry to deliver a short and concise rule that gives the audience a chance to address the potholes associated in holding a stock that they can be tempted to use under the belief that it is free. Biggie uses this short rule to allow the audience to fully digest rules one, two and three as he states that they may well have heard this advice before.
Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don’t care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce
Having covered the issue of trust in the drug industry and allowing his listeners a brief recess before starting with a rule that many will have never considered. Biggie states that drugs should not be sold at the home. This may be for a number reasons, whether Mr Smalls considers his landlord’s opposed view of drug deals on their premises or the fact that he lacks a small business licence, these are doubtful as it most probably refers to the legitimacy of his trade and how he would not like to “lay that at his door” to quote an idiom Biggie takes this in a literal sense.
Number six: that god damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, sh*t forget it
Covering back to the issues of trust in the crack game, or alternatively the sub-theme of a lack of industry regulations, Biggies tells prospective dealers to drop the option of allowing credit. He surmises that due to the nature of the customers they may not entirely reliable to make a number of credit payments that benefit the audience as the seller.
Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated
Money and blood don’t mix like two d*cks and no b*tch
Find yourself in serious shit
Biggies Smalls’ underlying trust issues surface yet again portraying an industry that is not for the fainthearted, he does not confirm why business and his family should be kept apart, perhaps it is the jealousy issues mentioned in rule 1 or the fact that he states that your own mother would “set you up” and he fears for his safety. It may be and issues of shame that is linked to not involving his family that he may be looked down upon by those who admiration he desperately seeks. Biggie finishes this rule by describing an awkward predicament that can be construed as homophobic, it demonstrates that while he can mention something close to him such as family it must be followed by something lewd and spiny to prove his “street” credentials.
Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too
The importance of holding storage is The Notorious B.I.G.’s next step on the career path to becoming a successful business owner. He states it is a matter of safety that although you will have people hired to back you up they can be convinced to turn against you if the money paid to them exceeds your retainer. Mistrust is painted as being rife in the crack industry and that Biggie has made it this far trusting nobody. He states that if you hold, or are often thought to be carrying, “weight” – a substantial amount of drugs, you will fast become a target for those paid to relive you of stock to allow competitors to make noticeable gains on your market share.
Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you ain’t gettin bagged stay the f*ck from police (uh-huh)
If n’z think you snitchin ain’t tryin listen
They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin
The importance of the illegally of the business is thrown back into the spotlight and the inevitable role that police will serve for players within the industry. This will serve as a shock to many as it is the first mention of law enforcement in any capacity during Biggie’s lecture and may serve as a verbal warning to many that if you forget about them for an instant they can catch you out. After shocking his audience with the mention of justice The Notorious B.I.G. says that unless an arrest is made you should stay away from any police officers. Street justice can be dispensed if it is thought that you are endangering business associates and clients and at this point a reasoned debate often cannot not be facilitated.
Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain’t got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gon want they money rain sleet hail snow
As we finish our rules Mr Smalls states that there is an intermediate level to the game that the listener can aspire to reach, he covers the intricacies of carrying an active caseload of clients and how unless they understand the idea of a consignment they should stay well away until they have the customers to sell to.
Follow these rules you’ll have mad bread to break up
If not, twenty-four years, on the wake up
Slug hit your temple, watch your frame shake up
Caretaker did your makeup, when you pass
Biggie states that if we follow these rules we will have “bread” to break up, whilst this is a slang for having money to share with friends and loved ones it can also be taken as a metaphor to actually put food on the table and maybe point to significant struggle that many inner city families face especially with poor education grades and limited job prospects. He also mentions the risk of death in a turbulent industry.
Your girl f*cked my man Jake up, heard in three weeks
she sniffed a whole half of cake up
Heard she suck a good d*ck, and can hook a steak up
Gotta go gotta go, more pasta bake up, word up, uhh
In a detached sign off to the rules Biggie mentions a personal story that highlights the harrowing effects that the drug crack has on people, their financial situations and relationships. Although he signs of that he has more drugs to make, acting as if he is still a part of the industry, will he may well be in a spiritual sense and is struggling to let go.