The posthumous release of the Notorious B.I.G.’s (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls) second album, “Life After Death,” is the second chart-topper of a man who lived a short, yet eventful life. This double CD album sold tens of thousands of copies the first day of its release – and for good reason. This inner city gangsta rapper, known for rapping about life in the fast lane, grouped up with the likes of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Run DMC, R. Kelly, and 112, to create another fast-paced, bass-pumping album.
“Hypnotize,” a big hit even before the album’s release, is a remix of Slick Rick’s song “La Di Da Di.” The song has a fast beat and features Biggie’s mentor and best friend Puff Daddy. As usual, the duo rapped about living as young, rich men who were on top of the world. This great song sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Notorious Thugs,” featuring three members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, is an extremely fast song with huge bass, Bone Thugs’ usual style. This is an excellent mix of two different styles and one of the album’s best songs.
Biggie occasionally mentions his West Coast, arch-rival Tupac Shakur, but surprisingly keeps bad-mouthing to a minimum. Also, Biggie shows his inner-city roots with “The Ten Crack Commandments” and “Somebody’s Gotta Die.” On top of this, Biggie used the double CD format to experiment with other styles. He uses the extremely fast style of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and the soft style of R. Kelly. In doing this, Biggie created an album containing songs which appeal to many people. This experimentation showed his musical depth, and a new side which produced good music too.
As usual Biggie includes the idea of death. The album’s title, as well as the album’s final song, “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)” shows that he knew the dangers of a being a popular gangsta rapper. Unfortunately, he fell victim to actions he rapped about before the release of the album, and never had a chance to see its success. This song is slow paced and grim, especially after Biggie’s death made him an even bigger star.
The question in many people’s minds was whether Biggie could produce another album as good as his first. Biggie did this, and much more. The album is filled with excellent songs. Some are fast-paced, heavy lyrical songs and others are slower, yet are just as good. As good as his first album was, this tops it and is very much worth buying. It’s too bad this gifted musician will not be able to entertain us any longer with his creative style of rapping