Gimmie The Loot. How many narrative voices you ask? Well The easy answer is two.
The jest of the track is that two people, one Biggie and one called Shorty (at least that is what Biggie refers to him as, so we’ll call him Shorty) are going to rob some store. I believe their going to rob a jewelry store. This can be gleaned from the line “Rolex watches and colorful Swatches / I’m digging in pockets, motherfuckas can’t stop it / Man niggas come through I’m taking high school rings too”, in the second verse. The ides their taking high school rings too, implies that they are taking watches as well as rings, and if anyone tries to come in they’ll take whatever they have on, even their high school rings.
The track however can’t take place in the present. The line, “My man Inf left a Tec and a 9 at my crib / Turned his self in, he had to do a bid / A 1-to-3, he be home the end of ’93,” gives us a time placement. Since Ready to Die came out in ’94, the track takes place sometime before that. This will come in to play at the end of the track.
Following that “home the end of ’93” line, Biggie asks “I’m ready to get this paper G, you with me?” and is answered by Shorty who says, “Motherfucking right, my pockets looking kinda tight”. Biggie tells Shorty though, “yo don’t fake no moves / Treat it like boxing, stick and move, stick and move.” Biggie is telling him to not do anything crazy, and simply stick to the plan. In my stoned mind I pictured Shorty as a kind of Kevin Hart of early 1990s gangstas. Shorty follows there orders up with, “Nigga, you ain’t got to explain shit / I’ve been robbing motherfuckas since the slave ships”, meaning that Shorty has been robbing people/stores/etc for a long time and doesn’t need to be told how to act. I would say that Shorty is very unpredictable and kind of a loose cannon.
The second verse is the robbery. The two of them hold up that jewelry store I mentioned earlier. The clerk, or merchant is a female and Biggie warns her, “So go get your man bitch, he can get robbed too.” They successfully rob the store and get away with it. This leads us into the third and final verse.
With the first line of the third verse, spoken by Shorty, which is spit as, “Man listen, all this walking is hurting my feet / Ooh money looks sweet / Where / In the Isuzu jeep”, we can gather they have succeeded in robbing the store and to continue their adrenaline high they decide to carjack the Isuzu. (I also want to point out that JEEP is a make of car, as well, Isuzu is also a make, so there couldn’t be an ‘Isuzu Jeep’. Just sayin’.) After jacking the car, they drive away “up the block” and this is when the cops start tailing them. “Oh shit the cops, / be cool, fool / They ain’t gonna roll up, all they want is fucking doughnuts,” is a line in which Biggie alternates narrators. “Oh shit, the cops” is said by Shorty, and the rest is Biggie telling him to just relax.
Relax, however is not what they do. Biggie instructs Shorty, “You better haul ass cause I ain’t with no fucking chase”, this is what happens. The narrative may be fragmented here, as Biggie does not articulate the chase and instead says, “lace up your boots, cause I’m about to shoot / A true motherfucka going out for the loot”. This is followed by the sounds of a car door opening and gunshots. This is a shootout between Shorty and the cops. I would argue that Shorty is involved in the shootout and not Biggie, as it is Shorty who says, “Take that motherfuckers”, before the gunfire ceases.
The end of the track is a little skit, ending with the smoking of a joint. This could be seen as Biggie having survived the shootout, and now, sometime later, is smoking a joint, possible reminiscing. The narrative doesn’t take place in the present, we know that, but the smoking the joint may. Since the guy smoking, Biggie, says, “hit this chief,” we know that someone else is with him while he’s smoking. Is it Shorty with him? No. Shorty dead.
So that’s the easy answer–two. However, there is something I noticed about three listens in. Immediately before the hook, a voice comes in and says, “When he’s sticking you, and taking all your money”. This is narrator three. This is some outside presence, possibly a conscience of Shorty. The definition of the word ‘loot’ is defined as ‘goods, esp. private property, taken from an enemy in war.’ The loot that Biggie says to give him is not what their in the process of stealing, but what they have already stolen. Biggie’s intentions were to take the loot, what was stolen from the store, from Shorty. “A true motherfucka going out for the loot,” Biggie says in the final line. He’s going out, in a blaze of glory, to protect what it is he has stolen and intents to steal from Shorty. Since Shorty is portrayed as a loose cannon, and quite erratic, it’s possible that he does not survive the shootout. Biggie convinces Shorty that the shootout in necessary, remember a true motherfucka goes out for the loot. Biggie, however, escapes, and it is him smoking the joint, telling the story in 1994, of the robbery.
The track starts off with “I’m a bad bad bad, lock your windows close your doors, Biggie Smalls”. This somewhat functions as a frame for the story Biggie tells. This is not another narrator, instead this is Biggie, still alive after the shootout, sometime later, talking shit and boasting.
So there’s your answer. There are three narrators in this track.