On this day, March 17, in hip-hop history...

1998: New Orleans rapper C-Murder released his debut solo album Life or Death on No Limit Records.

C-Murder is the brother of Master P, or Percy Miller, who founded No Limit Records and served as the label head throughout its lifetime. C-Murder, born Corey Miller, already had plenty of experience rapping by the time he released his first solo LP. The year prior, T.R.U. (a trio comprised of Master P, C-Murder and Silkk The Shocker) released their debut album T.R.U. 2 Da Game. It was certified double platinum within a year.

In 1998, No Limit was reaching the peak of their ascension in the rap game before losing steam in the face of their fellow New Orleans rivals Cash Money Records. Still, the camp was making hits, and Corey released stellar singles like "A 2nd Chance" and "Makin' Moves."

In fact, some believe this album was the tipping point for the tension between No Limit and Cash Money, as the Big Tymers re-released their debut album How You Luv That on the very same day.

Nevertheless, Life or Death did well on the charts, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Produced entirely by Beats by the Pound, it sold 197,000 copies its first week - astonishing numbers when you look back at them 20 years later - and eventually went platinum, proving to be a huge success for C-Murder and the label.

Unfortunately, C-Murder's life would take a turn for the worse when he was arrested in 2003 for the murder of a 16-year-old. Six years later, he was sentenced to life in prison. He's appealed the case several times, even in Supreme Court, and to this day hopes to get out of prison with a new trial. All that aside, Life or Death is still a classic all these years later.

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