It’s hard to think of any other rapper with as many classic records under their belt at the age of 24 as The Notorious BIG. The epic and eerie triple vinyl follow-up to Ready Or Die, released just 2 weeks after Christopher Smalls' death, contains less of the energetic Brooklyn block party MCing that he flexed on “Gimme The Loot” and “Respect”; instead, Biggie pursues the slick, laid back sort of flow he became known for after “Big Poppa” blew up. At the time of its release, many hip hop heads dismissed Biggie, Puff and the ubiquitous Bad Boy movement (a.k.a. the “jiggy” sound) as too flashy and materialistic, but the truth is that Life After Death has more #bars than any underground hip-hop record released within two years of it. Check Big’s epic storytelling on “N****s Bleed” and “Somebody’s Gotta Die”, or the gritty street anthems “What’s Beef” and “Ten Crack Commandments” (at least a decade before “coke rap” was a thing) for proof. Not to mention the soul-baring humility of “Sky’s The Limit”. Big delivers an unforgettable verse on “Notorious Thugs” proving he can keep up with midwestern speed demons Bone Thugs N Harmony any day of the week. “Going Back To Cali”, “I Love The Dough” and “Fuck You Tonight” are all sing-a-long club smashes to this day, and we haven’t even mentioned any of the radio singles. Production is handled by DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee, Buckwild, RZA and of course, Puff Daddy & The Hitmen. Rarely (especially in hip-hop) do you get a triple LP / double CD this consistent. We’ll always love Big Poppa. Recommended.
- black triple vinyl pressing
- includes printed insert
- original release year: 1997
- music label: Bad Boy Entertainment 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 03/2017