March 25, 2022

The Notorious B.I.G. "Life After Death" (3/25/97)

While his 1994 debut, Ready To Die, was a conceptual opus that provided insight on the rise of a Brooklyn drug dealer into the rap game, Notorious B.I.G.'s followup, Life After Death..., more fittingly focuses on the artistic growth of one of hip-hop's most controversial figures. This double album reveals what makes Biggie so appealing to a wide variety of music fans. Whether it's raunchy R&B-flavored songs like "F#ckin' You Tonight (with a guest appearance by R. Kelly), the thumping "Hypnotize" and the Vanity 6-inspired "Nasty Boy," or raw hip-hop gems like the DJ Premier-produced "Kick In The Door" and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan's masterpiece "Long Kiss Goodnight," Mr. Smalls continues to deliver hit after hit. A product and spokesman of the show-me-the-money generation, Big demonstrates that he'll do whatever it takes to make the cash. He'll make a record with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony ("Notorious Thugs"), collaborate with West Coast icon Too Short ("The World Is Filled") or even make his singing debut (the hilarious "Playahaters"), and make it all seem effortless and entertaining. It's hard to argue that Biggie Smalls is indeed the King of New York. And he's about to conquer the world. - CMJ New Music Monthly (May, 1997). The article captures the overall sense that Biggie was adept at all aspects of the game -- he made use of numerous styles, flows and sounds throughout this classic LP. He put his best foot forward in an argument he never had a chance to make... would he have excelled in current day hip-hop? That answer, I believe, is YES, because he already did it all in just too short LPs and before the age of 25. Rest In Peace, Biggie!

We'll Always Love Big Poppa...