The Notorious B.I.G.’s second album, the diamond-selling, Grammy-nominated double-disc Life After Death, was released by Sean Combs’ – aka Puff Daddy’s – Bad Boy Records imprint on 25 March 1997. The New York City-born rapper, also known as Biggie Smalls, had quickly risen to prominence since the release of his debut album, 1994’s Ready To Die, but had been fatally shot to death in a drive-by attack in Los Angeles, just weeks before Life After Death’s release. When the album hit the shelves, its title seem like grim foresight. Today, it stands as a testament to Biggie’s immortality as a hip-hop icon
Listen to ‘Life After Death’ here.
A bombastic rampage
Following a brief intro, the two-hour epic kicks in with the forbidding Somebody’s Gotta Die (“Revenge I’m tastin’ at the tip of my lips/I can’t wait to feel my clip in his hips”) before rolling into the brash, ground-hugging, Grammy-nominated single Hypnotize (“At my arraignment, note for the plaintiff/Your daughter’s tied up in a Brooklyn basement”). The latter samples Herb Alpert’s hardy perennial Rise, and Pam Long, from Bad Boy’s female R&B group, Total, dealt with the chorus, derived from Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick’s 80s hip-hop classic La Di Da Di. It was accompanied by a ludicrously bombastic video, featuring helicopters, speedboats, motorbikes and open-top cars, flashing the wealth that Biggie and the Bad Boy stable had made in just a few short years.