Retro Review: Life After Death

Retro Review: Life After Death

Life After Death album cover
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Life After Death, by The Notorious B.I.G.

His first album released (just weeks) after his death, Life After Death is arguably The Notorious B.I.G.’s best. I’d argue it anyway, it’s my favorite of his. You could tell he had a lot to say about his rivals on this album, but he still managed to have a little fun with it as well.

  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Production
  • Features
  • Longevity
  • Impact
  • Personal Preference
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B.I.G. had a unique style to him, that you either love or hate. The chipmunk-cheeked tone of his voice and his lisp, in my opinion, weren’t enough to detract from the fearless lyrics and the seemingly-sporadic, yet calculated, flow he delivered them with. A lot of this album seemed to be pointed towards other artists, and a little tension is never a bad thing. Otherwise, the game would go stagnant. *cough cough* mumble rap *cough* Drake *cough*
If anything good can be said in a positive manner about Puff Daddy, he (and his team) put together some pretty good beats for this album. They’re kinda one-dimensional, for the most part, but they all fit well together, and that’s the goal, right?
The production is pretty solid. I can’t really complain about the audio quality of any of it, and at times, it’s actually exceptional. Especially for the timeframe. The only complaint is more in B.I.G.’s voice than the actual production, but someone still could’ve done a little work on his sibilance.
It’s always a treat to hear The LOX, and being one of their earliest entries in the game, they came correctly anyway. Jay-Z fits well with Big, of course, it may be because Jay wants to be Big haha. Since I’m such a Bone thugs-n-harmony fan, it’s no surprise that “Notorious Thugs” was my favorite song on the album. The best part about it is that Big managed to make one of his most memorable verses to match Bone’s delivery. The end of R. Kelly’s verse on “Fuck You Tonight” is pretty suspect. I can’t stand Puff talking on every fucking song.
Life After Death is pretty much the epitome of East Coast rap. It holds up because of both the legacy and the artist. People will always go back and point to this album as one of the best. With good reason, I might add.
Maybe it was because of his death in the same month, or the actual content on the album, or the beef that was going on with the Coastal shit, but this album did really well on its release. “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You,” ya know? It went on (in three years) to go diamond. Whenever someone from the East Coast talks about their influences, B.I.G. will usually be at the top, even though the album is debated. The man influenced an entire generation.
Personal Preference
Some may agree or disagree with me, but I love this album. I can’t say it gets as much time in my playlists as it used to, but I still get around to some of the songs on it pretty regularly. I can’t even lie, I used to emulate these songs when they came on the T.V., back when MTV actually played music.

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