Warning – Unraveling the Cautionary Tale of Urban Street Life

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Notorious B.I.G's Warning at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Uncoding Biggie’s Midnight Call
  5. The Lurking Shadow of Betrayal
  6. Wealth as a Double-Edged Sword
  7. Decoding the Song’s Hidden Meaning
  8. Prophetic Words and Memorable Lines


Who the fuck is this? Pagin me at 5:46
In the mornin, crack of dawn an’
Now I’m yawnin, wipe the cold out my eye
See who’s this pagin me, and why
It’s my nigga Pop from the barbershop
Told me he was in the gamblin spot, and heard the intricate plot
Of niggaz wanna stick me like flypaper neighbor
Slow down love, please chill, drop the caper
Remember them niggaz from the hill up in Brownsville?
That you rolled dice wit, smoked the blunts and got nice wit
Yeah my nigga Fame up in Prospect
Nah they’re my niggaz nah love wouldn’t disrespect
I didn’t say them, they schooled me to some niggaz
That you knew from back when, when you was clockin minor figures
Now they heard you blowin up like nitro
And they wanna stick the knife through your windpipe slow
So, thank Fame for warnin me cause now I’m warnin you
I got the mac nigga tell me what you gonna do

Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper

They heard about the Rolex’s and the Lexus
With the Texas license plates outta state
They heard about the pounds you got down in Georgetown
And they heard you got half of Virginia locked down
They even heard about the crib you bought your moms out in Florida
The fifth corridor —
— call the coroner!
There’s gonna be a lot of slow singin, and flower bringin
If my burgular alarm starts ringin
Whatcha think all the guns is for?
All purpose war, got the Rottweilers by the door
And I feed ’em gunpowder, so they can devour
The criminals, tryin to drop my decimals
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick my for my cream
And it ain’t a dream, things ain’t always what it seem
It’s the ones that smoke blunts witcha, see your picture
Now they wanna grab the guns and come and getcha
Betcha Biggie won’t slip
I got the calico with the black talons loaded in the clip
So I can rip through the ligaments
Put the fuckers in a bad prediciment, where all the foul niggaz went
Touch my cheddar, feel my Beretta
Fuck what I’ma hit you with you motherfuckers betta duck
I bring pain, bloodstains on what remains
Of his jacket – he had a gun he shoulda packed it
Cocked it, extra clips in my pocket
So I can reload and EXPLODE on ya rasshole
I fuck around and get hardcore
C-4 to ya door no beef no more nigga
Feel the rough, scandalous
The more weed smoke I puff, the more dangerous
I don’t give a fuck about you or your weak crew
What you gonna do when Big Poppa comes for you?
I’m not gunnin, nigga I bust my gun an’
Hold on, I hear somebody comin…

Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper
Damn! Niggaz wanna stick me for my paper

(C’mon nigga) I’m only comin to pass the gat
(Just bring your motherfuckin ass on, come on)
Are we gettin close, huh?
(It’s right over here)
Are you sure this Biggie Smalls crib man?
(Yeah I’m sure motherfucker, c’mon!)
Ahh fuck – it better be his motherfuckin house
Fuck right here..
This better be this motherfucker’s house
(Oh shit!) What, what’s wrong?
(It’s that red dot on your head man!)
What red dot on you head. Oh shit! You got a red dot on your head too!

Ohh shit!

Full Lyrics

At first glance, The Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Warning’ may seem like a classic braggadocio rap about wealth and street credibility. However, a closer inspection reveals a complex narrative that weaves a cautionary tale about the perils that come with success in the harsh neighborhoods of urban America. It’s a multi-layered masterpiece that speaks volumes about the paranoia and vulnerability hidden beneath the surface of the glitz and glamour.

Released in 1994 as part of Biggie’s debut album ‘Ready to Die,’ the track unfolds as a sinister phone call — an ominous harbinger bringing news of betrayal and threats. Through Biggie’s storytelling prowess and suave lyricism, ‘Warning’ presents an introspective look into the duality of ascending from poverty to wealth and the existential cost that fame can exact on an individual’s life.

Uncoding Biggie’s Midnight Call

The opening lines of ‘Warning’ plunge listeners straight into an unsettling narrative. Given the vulnerability of the hour — 5:46 AM — the unanticipated phone call Biggie receives is an immediate red flag. This intro sets a tone of foreboding that ripples through the song. It’s not just a tale of sudden fame and wealth; it’s a wake-up call, quite literally, to the dangers that success can attract.

Biggie articulates the concept of ‘hood politics’ where old alliances are strained and once-familiar faces transform into potential foes. His vivid depiction of the environment throws the listener into the palpable tension of a world where trust is scarce, and violence looms large over every fortune obtained.

The Lurking Shadow of Betrayal

‘Warning’ skillfully captures the paranoia that accompanies unforeseen success. Biggie’s rags-to-riches story is undercut by the looming threat of betrayal by those he once considered allies. This twist of narrative speaks volumes about the dynamics of street loyalty and the fleeting nature of alliances in a world ruled by money and power.

His references to specific individuals and locations not only authenticate his experience but also anchor the song deeply in the reality of the Brooklyn streets. This grounding in real-life elements makes the threat tangible, and the narrative raw and relatable to those who share similar backgrounds.

Wealth as a Double-Edged Sword

Throughout ‘Warning,’ The Notorious B.I.G explicitly details the fruits of his labor — the Rolex watches, Lexus cars, and significant control over lucrative regions. Yet these symbols of success double as markers that paint a bullseye on his back. The song is a stark reminder of how prosperity in the game can ironically increase one’s vulnerability to envy, greed, and violence.

Notably, Biggie’s success isn’t merely flaunted but debated as a catalyst for the impending danger. This layered complexity adds depth to the street narrative, showcasing how Biggie’s reflections on wealth transcend mere materialism, instead serving as the crux of the song’s cautionary core.

Decoding the Song’s Hidden Meaning

Beneath the gangster façade and the bravado, ‘Warning’ harbors a hidden meaning. It’s as much a warning to the listener as it is a reflection for Biggie himself. The song’s chilling narrative serves as an allegory for the price of making it out of the hood, highlighting that fame and fortune can be a harbinger for doom just as much as it is for prosperity.

In a larger context, ‘Warning’ speaks to the universal human condition and the fallibility of success. No matter how high one climbs, the fear of falling persists, and the dangers of the past can always re-emerge, more vicious than before.

Prophetic Words and Memorable Lines

‘They heard about the pounds you got down in Georgetown and they heard you got half of Virginia locked down,’ speaks to the celebrities’ extensive reach and the accompanying notoriety. The song excels not just in narrative, but also in its lyrical craftsmanship.

Biggie’s ruminations over his increasing wealth and the inherent dangers of envy (‘It’s the ones that smoke blunts with ya, see your picture, now they wanna grab their guns and come and get ya’) remain one of the song’s most potent lines. These words precede a bold and yet somber proclamation: ‘I don’t give a fuck about you or your weak crew.’ Here, Biggie asserts his dominance while dismissing the invisible chains that the street life attempts to place on him.

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