Google Images: Life After Death March 25th 1997
Notorious B.I.G final album is my mind is a classic and not because it was released after he died. After Tupac All Eyez On Me was released in 1996, it was the first time in Hip-Hop music a double album came out. And when Tupac dropped that project it was well received and spread like wild fire. So when the word got out that his rival was releasing a double album the following year.
Given the time period, many believed Biggie was copying Pac, so some folks was not feeling that at all. So no one knew what to expect from this upcoming Biggie project. "Ready To Die" brought the ball back to the East Coast as far as Hip Hop was concerned. Nas had already dropped his sophomore album "It was written" and new comer and friend of B.I.G, Jay-Z released an unknown classic at the time "Reasonable Doubt" in 1996.
Many of us was eager to here the next Biggie project, In early 1997 Life After Death was ready to be listened to with open ears. March 9th 1997 a couple weeks prior to the release of L.A.D, Notorious B.I.G was shot and killed in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles CA at just 24 years old. Hip-Hop was never the same.
Hypnotize was blowing up like crazy on all local radio stations across the country and when that video debuted on B.E.T. That is all the kids was yapping about in school the next day. How Biggie and Puff Daddy had on matching Versace shirts and matching Allen Iverson sneakers. The dancing, the yacht, the action. Was all in that video and back then big budget music videos was the shit.
If your video was low budget, it didn't get noticed, sorry for ya. This is in a time when a good single partnered with a good video set up an album release. Kids of today will never know what it is like to survive off one song and maybe a remix until your favorite artist album came out. A single could have dropped in January but that album may not have came out until April.
Hypnotize was that song, and 1997 was going to be the year of Notorious B.I.G whether people liked or not. On March 25th 1997 Life After Death was released two weeks after Biggie passing, it was definitely one of those albums that during the majority of listening to it, the listener face was screwed up, I know mines was, by the time I finished listening to my cassette tape.
Biggie Smalls was a lyrical assassin and please don't debate me, I come from and place where a rap artist had to know how to hold their own. Which bring me to 2017 and what place Notorious B.I.G Life After Death would hold up in today's Hip-Hop climate?
Now what I am about to say and let me say it now, I am not saying that these artist are on the same level as Biggie. But I feel this is the lane he would be in if he was a rap artist today with L.A.D and with that being said. This is just my thoughts, Biggie and his album L.A.D probably would be paired in the same vein in between a Rick Ross and Young Jeezy albums.
And they reason why I say Rick Ross and Young Jeezy is because of the content the album contains. Listen to Rick Ross latest "Rather Me Than You" listen to the production and song concepts. And as far as Jeezy, revisit his Thug Motivation albums. Like I said it not about who the most lyrical out of the three artists, but this is where Biggie album would fit in my opinion.
Pretty sure some of you might be thinking well would about Jay Z? Well Jay has not had an album out since 2013 so in this conversation I will leave him out. I think it would do good streaming wise, would it reach a billon streams a la Drake Views? Probably not and this is no disrespect to an album of this caliber, in 2017 it would be great underground Hip-Hop.
It wild for me to type that out, but the way Hip-Hop is set up in 2017 the average music listener taste buds is different from how it was twenty years ago. The way we digested music back then was like a full course meal. We had to take to time to enjoy the meal and let it marinate, now we digest music like fast food. Burger comes down the assembly line, then it is wrapped up thrown in a bag and on to the next person.
Life After Death may not have been a double album, possibly it would be a mixtape or EP by today current music standards. Instead of Notorious Thugs feat Bone Thugs, It probably would feat the Migos. Instead of rapping about going back to cali, it probably would have been about going to Miami or some where south east.
Twenty years later it is still one of the illest rap albums of all time, with Ready to die, was the prayer of a corner boy who wanted out of the street life and on Life After Death, he made it to the other side and was actually trying to live. But living is what Notorious B.I.G didn't get to do unfortunatley so all we can do is wonder what if?
Notorious B.I.G Hypnotize via Youtube
Teens React To Notorious B.I.G via Youtube