Rick Ross walked on what's considered sacred ground in some hip-hop circles when he decided to remake the Notorious B.I.G.'s "You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)" for his upcoming March 4 LP, Mastermind.
The original is a deep and moody prophecy in which Biggie contemplates the effects that death has on one's legacy and overall popularity. The track (along with B.I.G.'s diamond-selling LP, Life After Death) was released almost two weeks after the Brooklyn rap legend was gunned down in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997.
According to Ross, though, his version of "Nobody" isn't just a sample for the sake of sampling: It's possibly the easiest way for the Maybach Music boss to express the complex feelings around the 2013 attempt on his own life.
"I went back and listened to the Big record in a totally different way," Rozay said in a WorldStarHipHop.com viral video that included the song's premiere. "At the end of the day, regardless of how graphic it may be, it's a beautiful piece of art. It's a beautiful art sculpture. Its original creator was the Notorious B.I.G.; I just came and I put my hands on it."
For Rozay's version, he recruited Bad Boy rapper French Montana to sing the hook and Biggie's mentor, Diddy, to produce the track.
"New Mercedes as it peels off/ Nothing penetrates the steel doors/ Gang signs see 'em all," Ross raps, reflecting on the January 28, 2013, drive-by shooting that targeted him.
The unwavering rap star remains callous to it all in the interview. "It's just the sh-- that comes with success, coming from the streets, coming from where we come from," he said before referencing the deaths of Biggie and Tupac Shakur. "N---as tried to murder me. It is what it is. You run from it or you run at it. I'm handling my business. Get this money."