Today in Hip Hop History | The Notorious B.I.G. Released His Final Album 'Life After Death'



The Notorious B.I.G., sadly, didn’t live to see the 'Life After Death' album release. But, the album is regarded as a classic, even twenty-two years after it was released.


'Life After Death' proved to be a sadly prophetic title for 24-year-old Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace’s second album. Clearly, the Brooklyn rhyme slinger had it all mapped out. B.I.G. would follow up his platinum 1994 debut 'Ready To Die' — a street hustler’s morality tale that ended with the narrator’s gunshot-inflicted suicide — with an expansive musical statement that unapologetically celebrated the successful MC’s newfound love of life and all its rewards.


It was originally titled Life After Death… Till Death Do Us Part


Before it arrived on March 25, 1997, Big's sophomore album was tentatively called Life After Death… Til Death Do Us Part and slated for a Halloween release. The album was pushed back due to multiple rollout issues, including sample clearances, and more.




Hypnotize



Released 20 years ago today, The Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Hypnotize' stands unquestioned as one of the greatest hip-hop singles of all time, as well as one of the most popular, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1997.



Mo Money Mo Problems


'Mo Money Mo Problems', beyond providing a popular catchphrase, featured a classic performance by an artist partially responsible for Wallace’s early success: Sean Combs, known at the time as Puff Daddy. The single was the second from Life After Death, released posthumously; the video features Combs and collaborator Mase in the flesh, while Wallace is appears with the help of old performance footage broadcast on a screen the two rappers watch. But the video was hardly the first time Combs and Wallace collaborated. Combs was employed by New York’s Uptown Records when he heard Wallace’s early demo tape; notably, while working at the label he signed Mary J. Blige, and later was able to sign Wallace to the label. A concert-promoting incident forced Combs out of Uptown, but in establishing his own Bad Boy Records he made Wallace the label’s first star. “Mo Money Mo Problems” peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Rap, R&B and Pop Charts, and was certified platinum following Wallace’s death.



Sky's The Limit



As one of the few tracks to get the visual treatment following his death in 1997, “Sky’s the Limit” found a way to make Big little. Director Spike Jonze cast a handful of children to portray him, Puffy, Lil’ Kim, and Busta Rhymes, showing the adolescent crew lounging around a mansion and living the high life.




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