Community-driven media: Log in or Visit
0 |

The Meaning of the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ten Crack Commandments”

Most people who lived through the 90s are familiar with the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ten Crack Commandments.” As a song from his 1997 posthumous album Life After Death, released two two weeks after he was murdered in a drive-by shooting, the track is presented as a guide for how to achieve success as a crack dealer.

Biggie was inspired by the first part of a three-piece feature on crack’s tenth anniversary in the July 1994 issue of The Source, titled “On the Rocks: From 1984 to 1994, Ten Years of Crack,” written by Khary Kimani Turner. The sidebar of the article featured a list called “A Crack Dealer’s Ten Crack Commandments.”

I have dug high and low across the web looking for a copy of this article and the closest I’ve gotten was a post from 2008 on, but the download link is no longer active. It seems that all places to find the original copy of this article have been scrubbed, save a few physical copies on ebay.

If anybody is able to find this article, please do let me know as I am very interested in reading it. Either way, we are going to check out the 10 Crack Commandments, as presented by Biggie Smalls, and explain the meaning of his lyrics.

Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ten Crack Commandments”

Biggie opens by saying he didn’t forget about his friends on the corner, or his “triple beam n***as,” meaning his drug dealing friends, who use a triple beam scale to split up crack.


Then he lays down his credentials:

I’ve been in this game for years, it made me a animal
There’s rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step-by-step booklet for you to get
Your game on track, not your wig pushed back

Opening lines to Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Biggie says he learned the ways, and he wrote down the rules. You have to follow them to avoid getting killed.

The rules are next. They have as much to do with intuition and human nature as they do with dealing drugs.

Rule 1: Don’t Tell Anybody How Much Money You Have

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 yo’ ass stuck up

Rule 1 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

If other people know how much money you have, they might get jealous. If someone falls onto hard times, or gets fucked up off drugs, you might get yourself robbed.

Rule 2: Keep Your Strategy to Yourself

Number Two: never let ’em know your next move
Don’t you know bad boys move in silence and violence?
Take it from your highness (Uh-huh)
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips

Rule 2 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Biggie says the best dealers keep quiet and aren’t afraid of violence. He explains that he has kept his mouth shut and taken down many other dealers for both their product and cash, because he knew all their moves.

Rule 3: Don’t Trust Anybody

Number Three: never trust nobody
Your moms’ll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodied and masked up, shit, for that fast buck
She be laying in the bushes to light that ass up

Rule 4 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Even your mom would set you up for a quick buck. Nobody should be an “exception” to the Ten Crack Commandments.

Rule 4: Don’t Use Your Product

Number Four: I know you heard this before
“Never get high on your own supply”

Rule 4 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Not only do you run the risk of becoming addicted, and using up all of your profits. Getting high on your own supply also places you at risk. By smoking your own crack, you make yourself vulnerable to your enemies.

This is a reference to the famous 1983 film Scarface, which includes “The Two Lessons.”

Scarface: The Two Lessons

Rule 5: Don’t Sell Drugs Out of Your House

Number Five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don’t care if they want an ounce, tell ’em, “Bounce!”

Rule 5 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Again, this rule is a mitigation of risk. Your home should be your sanctuary. You don’t want your customers, or other dealers, knowing where you live, for obvious reasons.

Rule 6: Don’t Let Your Customers Owe You Money

Number Six: that goddamn credit? Dead it
You think a crackhead paying you back? Shit, forget it

Rule 6 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Self-explanatory. Crackheads aren’t good for the money they owe you.

Rule 7: Keep Your Family and Business Completely Separated

Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated
Money and blood don’t mix like two dicks and no bitch
Find yourself in serious shit

Rule 7 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Biggie says a lot of people don’t follow this one, when he calls it underrated. You shouldn’t go into business with your family, you shouldn’t sell crack to your family members, and if you have kids, they should not be involved in or aware of the game in any way, shape, or form.

Rule 8: Don’t Carry Drugs Around

Number Eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jums too

Rule 8 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

If you’re selling crack, you should only have on you what you intend to sell at one time. The guys in your crew, who are paid as bodyguards and hired hands, should be the ones holding the drugs.

Rule 9: Avoid Police Whenever Possible

Number Nine shoulda been Number One to me:
If you ain’t gettin’ bagged, stay the fuck from police
If niggas think you snitchin’, they ain’t tryna listen
They be sittin’ in your kitchen, waiting to start hitting

Rule 9 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Police are not your friends. If they aren’t arresting you, stay away from them. If people see you engaging with the police, they will think you’re a snitch. Then your closest accomplices will kill you.

Rule 10: Don’t Take On More Than You Can Sell

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

Rule 10 of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

If you are new to the game and your dealer offers you product on loan, don’t accept it unless you’re sure you can get rid of it. Because the dealer who loaned it to you is going to come for their money whether you have moved the product or not.

Why Are These Rules Important?

Biggie closes with a bit about why you should follow his rules.

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 passed
Your girl fucked my man Jake up
Heard in three weeks, she sniffed a whole half a cake up
Heard she suck a good dick, and can hook a steak up
Gotta go, gotta go, more pies to bake up, word up (Uh)

Final lyrics to Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.

Essentially, if you don’t follow them, you’re going to get killed. After you’re dead, your girl will hop right onto another man and start doing all of his drugs. Nobody is loyal to you, and he says it so matter-of-fact as if he’s seen it a thousand times.

He say’s he’s gotta go, but first drops a reference to the “Crack King, Frank Wiz-zhite,” from the 1990 film King of New York.