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The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Life After Death’ By The Numbers

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[Editor’s Note: This Originally appeared on in March 2013]

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, The Notorious B.I.G. proved he was “sicker than your average” on the double disc opus, Life After Death. Following up Ready To Die’s morbid street hustler’s tale that ended with “Suicidal Thoughts” and a gunshot, B.I.G.’s second album said goodbye to “Biggie Smalls” and hello to “Frank White”—a Mafioso moniker taken from Christopher Walken’s character in the appropriately titled 1990 film, King Of New York.

Recorded over the span of 18 months—in New York, Los Angeles and Trinidad—Life After Death finds an ambitious B.I.G. delivering an unapologetic musical masterpiece. Exuding a celebratory feel, Life After Death was nonetheless a double threat as the Brooklyn thumper balanced his pop touch (“Mo Money, Mo Problems,” “Hypnotize”) along with his thuggish street-smarts (“10 Crack Commandments,” “What’s Beef”). There were even moments of paranoia (“My Downfall”). Unfortunately, the album would be B.I.G.’s last recorded effort, as less than a month away from its release, the 24-year-old rap star was gunned down while leaving a party in Los Angeles.

Though his loss has since left a permanent void in the game, his spirit and legacy continues to “crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons.” As Life After Death nears its 16th anniversary (March 25) and XXL continues to honor the life of the Invisible Bully, we went back and broke down B.I.G.’s double-disc album by the numbers. Ain’t no more to it… —Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)

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