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Life After Death

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Life After Death (Originally titled "Life After Death...'Till Death Do Us Part") is the Grammy Nominated second album by East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls) and was released posthumously on March 25, 1997 (see 1997 in music). A double album that acts as a sequel of sorts to Ready to Die (1994), Life After Death received a great deal of critical praise, if not quite on the same level as his debut. B.I.G.'s brief career was cut short by his murder on March 9, 1997 just before the release of Life After Death.

The album featured B.I.G.’s mafioso crime kingpin character living a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle (as opposed to Ready to Die, in which Biggie rapped about life as a young street hustler) while making numerous references to theatrical crime thrillers. Featuring collaborations with 112, Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, R. Kelly, The Lox, Faith Evans, Too Short, DMC, Carl Thomas, Ma$e & Puff Daddy, among others, the album cemented Biggie's legacy as one of hip hop's most respected and successful Emcees, and is remembered as a classic of Mafioso rap. It was certified diamond by the RIAA in 2000 and is 1 of 7 hip-hop albums that has this status. The Album was nominated for 3 Grammy's in 1998 including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance for "Hypnotize" and Best Rap Performance for a Duo or Group for "Mo Money, Mo Problems".

The Edited Version of this CD is only one disc and only has the songs: "Hypnotize", "Notorious Thugs", "I Love the Dough", "B.I.G. Interlude", "Miss U", "Mo Money Mo Problems", "Playa Hater", "Another", "Sky's the Limit", "Nasty Boy", "Going Back to Cali", "You're Nobody (Til' Somebody Kills You)", and "Fucking You Tonight" (re-titled as "Lovin' You Tonight").


Conception

Background

One year prior to the album's release, The Notorious B.I.G. had married Faith Evans, become East Coast's icon in the East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry and made guest appearances on albums by Jay-Z and Luke amongst others. Two weeks prior to the album's release, The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed.

Impact and influence

Though released in the wake of B.I.G.'s fatal shooting, Life After Death signaled a stylistic change in gangsta rap as it crossed over to the commercial mainstream. After the release of Life After Death, Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records continued to bring pop and gangsta rap closer together: the references to violence and drug dealing remained, as did the entire "gangsta" rhetoric, but the overall production style changed from the previously darker sound to a cleaner, sample-heavy, more upbeat sound that was directly fashioned for the mainstream pop charts, as seen in the single "Mo Money Mo Problems". The Notorious B.I.G. is often credited with initiating this transition, as he was among the first mainstream rappers to produce albums with a calculated attempt to include both gritty and realistic gangsta narratives as well as more radio-friendly productions. Much of the album is produced by Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, Carlos "July Six" Broady, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence, and Nashiem Myrick. However, other notable hip-hop producers such as DJ Premier and RZA contributed beats to the album as well.

Various artists were specifically influenced by several songs on Life After Death. Evidence's "Down in New York City" is essentially "Going Back to Cali" from the perspective of a West Coast artist. Jay-Z borrows four bars from "The World Is Filled..." in his song "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)," as well as the chorus from his song "Squeeze 1st" from "Hypnotize" and a line in "The Ruler's Back" from "Kick in the Door." Ice Cube borrows the chorus from his song "Child Support" from "Kick in the Door."

Beef references

It should be noted that many songs on both discs contain subtle references to B.I.G.'s rivals. "Kick in the Door" is directed at Nas, Raekwon, Jeru the Damaja, Ghostface Killah and even the track's producer DJ Premier according to speculative listeners. In the song "Notorious Thugs" B.I.G. refers to 2Pac in the line "so called beef with you-know-who." While Bone Thugs make disses towards Three 6 Mafia, Twista and Do or Die. It is also speculated by many listeners that the song "Long Kiss Goodnight" is a diss track towards 2Pac although the members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. have denied this. "My Downfall" also contains lyrics allegedly aimed towards 2Pac. Many believed that "What's Beef" also contains lyrics likely aimed towards 2Pac and Suge Knight. It is worth noting however, that Biggie said in an interview that he never recorded any diss song against 2Pac because he did not want to heighten East Coast-West Coast tensions.

Reception

Template:RS500 It's considered to be one of the greatest rap albums in hip hop history, and has also been a major influence on many rap artists.

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Blender Magazine USA The 100 Greatest American Albums of All time 2002 #25
Ego Trip USA Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980-98 1999 #1
Hip-Hop Connection UK The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995-2005 #14
Rolling Stone USA List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 #483
Rolling Stone USA The Essential Recordings of the 90s 1999 *
The New Nation UK Top 100 Albums by Black Artists #60
The Source USA 100 Best Rap Albums 1998 *
Vibe Magazine USA 51 Albums representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement 2004 *

( * ) designates lists which are unordered.

Track listing

Disc one

# Title Time Songwriters Producers Additional Performers Samples[1]
1 "Life After Death (Intro)" 1:39 C. Wallace,
S. Jordan,
Sean Combs
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen Puff Daddy
2 "Somebody's Gotta Die" 4:26 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
A. Hester,
Nasheim Myrick,
Carlos Broady
Sean "Puffy" Combs, Nashiem Myrick, & Carlos "6 July" Broady for The Hitmen
3 "Hypnotize" 3:49 C. Wallace,
R. Alpert,
D. Angelettie,
Andy Armer,
Sean Combs,
Ron Lawrence
Sean "Puffy" Combs, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, & Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen Pamela Long, Puff Daddy
4 "Kick in the Door" 4:46 C. Wallace,
J. Hawkins,
Chris E. Martin
DJ Premier The Madd Rapper
5 "Fuck You Tonight" 5:45 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
D. Jones,
R. Kelly
Sean "Puffy" Combs for The Hitmen & Daron Jones R. Kelly
6 "Last Day" 4:18 C. Wallace,
Kejuan Muchita,
J. Phillips,
Dorothy Stiles
Sean "Puffy" Combs for The Hitmen & Havoc The L.O.X.
7 "I Love the Dough" 5:12 C. Wallace,
S. Carter,
O. Harvey,
R. Moore,
Angela Winbush
Easy Mo Bee Angela Winbush, Jay-Z
8 "What's Beef?" 5:15 C. Wallace,
Carlos Broady,
Nasheim Myrick
Nashiem Myrick & Carlos "6 July" Broady for the Hitmen Puff Daddy
9 "B.I.G. Interlude" 0:48 C. Wallace,
D. Angelettie
Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen
  • Contains a sample of *"P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" by Schooly D
10 "Mo Money Mo Problems" 4:17 C. Wallace,
M. Betha,
Sean Combs,
B.H. Edwards,
S. Jordan,
Nile Rodgers
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen Puff Daddy, Ma$e, Kelly Price
11 "Niggas Bleed" 4:51 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
S. Jordan,
Nasheim Myrick
Sean "Puffy" Combs, Nashiem Myrick, Steven "Stevie J" Jordan, & Carlos "6 July" Broady for The Hitmen
12 "I Got a Story to Tell" 4:42 C. Wallace,
A. Best
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Chucky Thompson for The Hitmen, Buckwild
  • Contains a sample of *"I'm Glad You're Mine" by Al Green

Disc two

# Title Time Songwriter(s) Producer(s) Additional Performers Sample(s)
1 "Notorious Thugs" 6:07 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
Al Henderson,
S. Howse,
S. Jordan,
Bryon McCane
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
2 "Miss U" 4:59 C. Wallace,
Kaygee Gist,
Lionel Richie
Kay Gee 112
  • Contains a sample of "Missing You" by Diana Ross
3 "Another" 4:15 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
N. Ingram,
K. Jones,
S. Jordan
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen Lil' Kim
  • Contains a sample and interpolation of "Another Man" by Barbara Mason
4 "Going Back to Cali" 5:07 C. Wallace,
O. Harvey,
Roger Troutman
Easy Mo Bee
  • Contains a sample of "More Bounce To The Ounce" by Zapp
5 "Ten Crack Commandments" 3:24 C. Wallace,
Chris E. Martin
DJ Premier
6 "Playa Hater" 3:57 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
W. Hart,
S. Jordan
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen Keanna Henson
7 "Nasty Boy" 5:33 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
S. Jordan
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen unknown females
8 "Sky's the Limit" 5:29 C. Wallace,
Bobby Caldwell,
Hubert Eaves,
Clark Kent,
J. Williams
Clark Kent 112
9 "The World Is Filled..." 4:54 C. Wallace,
D. Angelette,
Sean Combs,
T. Shaw,
K. Walker
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen Carl Thomas, Puff Daddy, Too Short
10 "My Downfall" 5:26 C. Wallace,
Carlos Broady,
Sean Combs,
Darryl McDaniels,
Nasheim Myrick
Sean "Puffy" Combs, Nashiem Myrick, & Carlos "6 July" Broady for The Hitmen DMC, Karen Anderson, Deborah "Portia" Neeley Rolle
11 "Long Kiss Goodnight" 5:18 C. Wallace,
Robert Diggs
RZA Puff Daddy
  • Contains a sample of "The Letter" by Al Green
  • Contains a sample of "The Letter" by Grant Green
12 "You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)" 4:56 C. Wallace,
Sean Combs,
Gary Johnson,
S. Jordan,
E. Lopez,
B. Preston
Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen, DJ Enuff, & Jiv Poss Faith Evans,
Puff Daddy

Songwriter(s) information taken from CD case.

Album singles

Single information
"Hypnotize"
"Mo Money Mo Problems" featuring Mase & Puff Daddy
"Sky's the Limit" featuring 112

"Fuck You Tonight" is found on the A-Side of "Mo Money Mo Problems".

Chart positions

Album

Chart (1997) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1
Canadian Albums chart 3

Singles

Song Chart (1997) Peak
position
"Hypnotize" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
"Hypnotize" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
"Hypnotize" U.S. Hot Rap Tracks 1
"Hypnotize" Canadian Singles Chart 3
"Mo Money Mo Problems" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
"Mo Money Mo Problems" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 2
"Mo Money Mo Problems" U.S. Hot Rap Tracks 1
"Mo Money Mo Problems" Canadian Singles Chart 2
"Going Back to Cali" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 26
"Going Back to Cali" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 31
"Going Back to Cali" U.S. Hot Rap Tracks 3
Song Chart (1998) Peak
position
"Sky's the Limit" Canadian Singles Chart 11

Credits

  • Barry White - Hair Stylist
  • Kit Walker - Sampled Keyboards
  • The Notorious B.I.G. - Vocals (background), Producer, Liner Notes
  • Karen Anderson - Vocals (background)
  • Easy Mo Bee - Producer
  • Michael Ciro - Guitar
  • Sean "Puffy" Combs - Producer, Mixing
  • DJ Premier - Producer
  • Ben Garrison - Engineer
  • Rich July - Engineer
  • Marvin Scandrick - Vocals, Vocals (background) (112)
  • Quinnes Parker - Vocals, Vocals (background) (112)
  • Daron Jones - Producer, Vocals, Vocals (background) (112)
  • Michael Keith - Vocals, Vocals (background) (112)
  • Clark Kent - Producer
  • Paul Logus - Mixing
  • Manny Marroquin - Engineer
  • Tony Maserati - Mixing
  • Axel Niehaus - Engineer
  • Michael Patterson - Engineer, Mixing
  • Herb Powers - Mastering
  • RZA - Producer
  • Eddie Sancho - Mixing
  • Richard Travali - Mixing
  • Doug Wilson - Engineer
  • DJ Enuf - Producer
  • Faith Evans - Vocals (background)
  • Carl Thomas - Vocals
  • Pierre Retrayt - Producer
  • Rasheed Goodlowe - Engineer
  • Nasheim Myrick - Producer
  • Michael Lavine - Photography
  • Camilo Argumedes - Engineer
  • Deric Angelettie - Producer
  • Stevie J. - Producer
  • Charles "Prince Charles" Alexander - Engineer, Mixing
  • Carlos Broady - Organ (Hammond), Producer
  • Lane Craven - Engineer, Mixing
  • Krayzie Bone - Vocals
  • Deborah "Portia" Neeley Rolle - Vocals (background)
  • Jiv Pos - Producer
  • Stephen Dent - Engineer
  • Lynn Montrose - Engineer
  • Steve Jones - Engineer
  • Bizzy Bone - Vocals
  • John Meredith - Engineer
  • Layzie Bone - Vocals
  • Diana Pedraza - Engineer
  • Mike Pitts - Assistant Producer
  • Kay Gee - Producer
  • Groovey Lew - Stylist
  • Ron Grant - Guest Appearance
  • Keanna Henson - Vocals (background)
  • Justin Cortinas- Producer

Labels

Bad Boy Records/Arista Records

Chronology

  • Life After Death
    (1997)

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