To celebrate the recent release of Cant Stop Wont Stop, the documentary chronicling the success of Bad Boy Records, it seemed fitting to explain why a bside single on an album filled with smash hits is unmatched in its perfection.
In the wake of Tupac and Biggie’s deaths, hip hop was at a standstill. Luckily for us 80’s and 90’s babies, Puffy and his Hitmen picked up the baton, putting the focus back on music. Mase had the ladies and Puff drove Mercedes. The vibe was jiggy and shiny, not pissy and grimy.
Enter “24 Hours To Live”. This posse cut was an inconspicuous, hardened gem hidden under the pop sparkle of Harlem World; Mase’s solo debut. It featured The Lox, Black Rob and DMX. Sonically, it sounded like soap opera music with hard drums underneath. This can be attributed in part to the brooding Frankie Bleu sample used in the song.
Murda Mase sets the lyrical standard, letting listeners know that they’re in for a treat. He quips I’d turn out all the hoes thats heterosexual/smack conceited niggas right off the pedestal/. While I agree with Mr. Betha that conceited niggas suck, he might want to broaden his carnal horizons. Bisexual women can be just as fun as their heterosexual counterparts (wink wink).
Never one to disappoint on the mic, Jadakiss sweeps in next with a bucket list that is both relatable and ambitious. In the beginning of his verse, he states if i had 24 hours to kick the bucket/fuck it/I’ll probably eat some fried chicken and drink a Nantucket/. He then mentions that he’ll go get a jar from branson/and make sure I leave my mother the money to take care of grandson/.
By the time the chorus rings in, your hooked. If you had 24 hours to live/ just think/Where would you go, what would you do, who would you screw/and who would you wanna notify/ or would your ass deny/that your ass about to die.
The reason why this song connected in the way that it did is because quite frankly, many of its listeners lived life everyday as if they only had hours left. The dynamics of inner city living can force you to prioritize short-term decision-making over long-term decision making. In a nutshell, dyeing enormous rather than living dormant becomes the common goal. If you find yourself in need of some tunes, take a few minutes and listen to this classic in its entirety.