19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2005
The Notorious B.I.G. came out with a classic album in 1994 entitled "Ready To Die". I think that it is the best rap album ever made. Those are some big shoes to fill and leave it to Biggie to manage to create a classic on his second album as well. "Life After Death" is not quite as good as his 1st album and it's not as dark or raw but it's still an excellent CD. It's basically a sequel to his first album and it picks up right where "Ready To Die" left off, as do his skills. After three years, Biggie dropped this epic in 1997. It's a classic album sprawled over two discs (24 songs) and there isn't really that much filler (if any). This is a great follow-up to "Ready To Die".
Intro - Good intro that picks up right where "Ready To Die" left off (literally).
Somebody's Gotta Die - My favorite song. This is Biggie at his storytelling best. He creates a vivid story of revenge and he lays out some amazing lyrics over this haunting beat. "Revenge I'm tastin at the tip of my lips. I can't wait to feel my clip in his hips." 10/10
Hypnotize - Great party song. Good beat, good lyrics. "Gon' blast, squeeze first, ask questions last. That's how most of these so-called gangsters pass." 9/10
Kick In The Door - Great song with some really tight lyrics from BIG. He's got some classic rhymes over this great beat by DJ Premier after a pretty funny skit with the Madd Rapper. "Ain't no other kings in this rap thing. They siblings, nothing but my chil'ren. One shot, they disappearin." 10/10
#!*@ You Tonight - Pretty nice song with R.Kelly for the ladies. Big's got some nice rhymes and it's got a good beat. 8/10
Last Day - Pretty hot song produced by Havoc. It features LOX and they all tear up their verses as does Biggie. "You still apoligizin, analyzin, my size and your size and realizin, a fist fight would be asinine" 9/10
I Love The Dough - Great song. I think of it as the sequel to "Brooklyn's Finest" on "Reasonable Doubt". Again, both Biggie and Jay-Z produce some classic lyrics. "You ain't fazing the amazing. While your gun's raising, mine is blazing." 10/10
What's Beef? - Good song over a pretty catchy beat with a lot of strings. Puffy gets annoying but Biggie's got some more great, slow rhymes. "My Calico been cocked. This rap Alfred Hitchcock drop top notch, playa hating won't stop." 9/10
B.I.G. Interlude - Nothing special or notable other than that it's produced by The Notorious B.I.G. He just spells out his name.
Mo Money Mo Problems - Very catchy beat but it got overplayed. Still, Ma$e provides a nice verse as does Big. Puffy is OK. "Me lose my touch? Never that. If I did, ain't no problem to get the gat." 8/10
N****s Bleed - Another great song in which BIG tells a gripping story. It's got a great, dark beat. By the end of this song, you feel like you're in that hallway. "Nothing to lose, tattooed around his gun wounds. Everything to gain, embedded in his brain." 10/10
I Got A Story To Tell - Funny story BIG tells about what happens when a guy walks into his house where Biggie's with the guy's girl. Afterwards, BIG tells the story again but not in song. 9/10
Notorious Thugs - Good song with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Shows Biggie's range as he speed raps successfully with Bone Thugs. Catchy hook as well. "Doesn't it seem odd to you? Big come through with mobs and crews." 10/10
Miss U - Depressing song that Big sings about friends that have died (mainly about his boy "O"). "I'm a thug, but I swear, for three days I cried. I looked in the sky and ask God why. Can't look his baby girls in the eye." 9/10
Another - Pretty weak song featuring Lil Kim. Probably considered filler. Pretty bad techno sounding beat too. 6/10
Going Back to Cali - Classic song about Cali. Great beat and some great lines by Big. Funny phone conversation between BIG and Puffy at the beginning. "All I got is beef with those that violate me. I shall annihilate thee." 10/10
Ten Crack Commandments - Classic song basically about how to be a successful drug dealer. Clever lyrics and delivery. "Don't you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence? Take it from your highness. I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips." 10/10
Playa Hater - Very funny song with BIG singing about how to rob. It's just funny hearing him sing (or at least try). 9/10
Nasty Boy - I don't know. I don't think that there's anything really special about this song. The beat's kind of annoying and the song's not a standout by any means. 6/10
Sky's The Limit - Great inspirational song by Biggie who basically explains his ascent in the world. It's sad hearing him look forward to his future though. "Only make moves when your heart's in it and live the phrase 'Sky's The Limit'" 9/10
The World is Filled - Unncessesary song. Too Short and Puffy make guest appearances but they're not memorable. 7/10
My Downfall - Creepy song with BIG talking about people out to get him. Great beat and lyrics and DMC handles the chorus. "Not too many keep a mill in the briefcase. Infrareds help me sleep safe." 10/10
Long Kiss Goodnight - Another great, dark song at the end of this album. Some really great rhymes in here over this beat by RZA (Wu-Tang Clan). "Laugh now cry later, I rhyme greater than the average player haters and spectators." 10/10
You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You) Perfect ending for The King of New York even though it's very creepy listening to it. Classic lyrics and great beat by Puffy. "As I leave my competition respirator style. Climb the ladder to success escalator style." 10/10
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2003
It seemed that with the release of his debut masterpiece 'Ready to Die', Biggie was instantly crowned the King of the East Coast. It was a title that he was undoubtedly deserving of, so when it came time to succeed his instant classic, Biggie and executive producer Puff Daddy decided to release the epic 24-track 'Life After Death', figuring that if they couldn't surpass the near-perfect quality of 'Ready to Die', they would at least surpass it in terms of quantity. It seems to me after listening several times to this staggering epic, that even if this had been Biggie's first album, he would have still gained mass success and even if it's release hadn't been marred by his tragic and senseless murder earlier that March, hip-hop fans would have still laid down the money to purchase this daunting double-CD set. His explosive lyrical talent, sharp wit and larger-than-life personality, is the showcase of this truly great album. He is never short on rhymes and never stumbling, as he moves swiftly from one motif to another, forever retaining his sense of gangsta suave. It is this uncanny marriage of urbane sophistication and ruthless aggression that makes Biggie so engaging - he finds a perfect balance between his money-making playa persona and the raw reality of the big kid from Brooklyn hustling on the corner. While his debut album's lyrical content was eerily prophetic, the content here is disturbingly and heart-breakingly prophetic. Many of the songs revel in death, such as 'Somebody's Gotta Die', 'Niggaz Bleed', and 'You're Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You)', and it seems as if Biggie saw the end coming. If you've seen any of the final interviews with him, especially the ones done after 2Pac's death, he seems consumed by fear and paranoia, and listening to this album it's very obvious. But the most truly saddening aspect of the album comes not from the harsh and dark imagery foreshadowing his untimely demise, but in the more positive and inspirational pieces like 'Sky's the Limit' and 'Miss U'. They are a testament to his good-hearted nature and his hope for the future, and make his death feel all the more tragic. But it will still bring a smile to your face hearing him bounce postively on uptempo tracks like the G-Funk flavor of 'Going Back to Cali' and perrenial anthems like 'Hypnotize' and 'Mo Money Mo Problems'. While the entire album does contain occasional clunkers, courtesy of some mediocre production, Biggie's booming voice commands your attention and respect, and makes the daunting listen pay off in the end. It's true what many have said. We lost the two most talented rappers in the game when we lost Biggie and Pac. And the overall state of hip-hop as well as mainstream music in general has been going down the drain ever since. That is not to say that there are NO rappers who are keeping it real or releasing quality music anymore. It's just that the ones that are staying real aren't getting the attention and respect they deserve from the Top 40 and these so called hip-hop station DJ's
52 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2001
It was '92, when I first heard of Big's talent, it was played on a track called "Party and Bullsh##". He wasn't promoted much back then, still underground.
In '94, I was working with a few cats from BK, that claimed they new him ( not sure how true that was ) but they had some copies of his tracks, before the somewhat more refined versions came out on "Ready to Die".
What I am saying is, Big was not just an entertainer who was larger than life; there was always an element about him that made him humble, and real. The image of a fat kid hanging on the corner trying to "make some money to feed his daughter", its real. And to us, he personified our lives and captured the details through his words. We lived and unfortunately, died through and with him.
Remember when he was getting his award, he said "we did it, Brooklyn !". We, not I.
And when Pac was attacking him, did Big make an album to retaliate ? No. "F# the crimes now, I'm doing rhymes now." He wanted to continue to make music, to see his kids grow, "The sky it the limit". It should be every father's right.
When I heard Big had died, I thought why ! Another one of us shot dead ! Is it all entertainment for you ?
If you love Big, then buy the album. Big's lyrics reflect on his life, and this album is one of the best ever, equal in quality and lyrics to the first, and his underground work.
Puff Daddy on the other hand, I don't like. He is fake. His production is ok, but it was all Big's talent and voice that made every track phat. Big broke Bad Boy off, and made them what they are today. ( And a lot artists too, like Mace, Lil' Kim, Junior Mafia, 112, Total, Greg Mack ).
There are a lot of phat rappers out there, and many more that never make it, or haven't made it yet. After Pac and Big died, the industry has been promoting [crud]. ( Eminem, Dr. Dre, Nelly, etc. ) Yes Big was one of the best, and so was Pac.
But Rap will continue, and more Playaz will come; unfortunately, none will ever come back.
Respect Life !
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2009
First things first, before we dig in to the music itself, ive been reading through the reviews for this album and I honestly cannot believe how ignorant a lot of these "critics" come across, they read like they're 14 year olds trying to impress their friends. No im not saying you have to like this album, in fact for the longest time I wasnt all that impressed with it either, I would have a said a 3/5 would have done it justice, but when your whole review is spent bashing BIG and talking about how "2pac is teh greatest evar!" then we have a problem. I have a news flash for you, 2pac is no where near the greatest mc, neither is BIG, if you think either of them is as talented as the likes of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap or Pharoahe Monch then you're fooling yourself. Both of them were extremely talented artist though and, believe it or not, its ok to like both of them, grow up people.
On to the album, ive spent enough time rambling so i'll try to keep this somewhat short and simple. This album is what today is considered a Hop Hop classic, I myself would agree with that even if I dont think the album is "Perfect". A Few annoying beats and shamefully shallow songs hold this back from greatness, as do a few weak guest spots from Diddy (no hate to Diddy, he's just not a very talented mc, ghostwriters or not).
The good things though really push this album to greatness, some wonderfully dark production that sets the perfect backdrop for BIG to paint his mafia style pictures over, some very ill flows that are always changing and evolving as the song moves along, and very diverse subject matter that should have a little something for everyone. Looking for a track to vibe too? Check Notorious Thugs, want some Raw New York Rhyming? look no further then the Preemo laced "Kick in the Door" (with BIG's subtle diss to Jeru the Damaja of course), or hell maybe you just wanna kick it with some friends and party, throw on "Mo Money, Mo Problems" and let loose.
Overall I love this album, its grown on me the older I got, when I was younger and going through my whole "rebellious, I hate anything that sounds pop or mainstream" phase I couldnt stand this, but being older now and being able to enjoy all music has really opened my eyes to how great this is, its a shame he never got to follow this up, I would have loved to hear more of his story telling abilities, one of the only mc's to rival the legendary Slick Rick in my opinion. anyways check the album out, go in with an open mind, and discover what a truly rewarding experience it can be.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2003
2pac fans have no business here, they just don't like B.I.G. But really it comes down to preferences, BIG had the illest flow and 2pac was a poet. Now that i got that out of the way Life After Death is in my opinion the Greatest Double disc album, because of one thing versatility. It has about 14 diferent producers, he even mastered the bone thugs flow on "notorious thugs." Is it better than "Ready to Die"?No. Is it more entertaining?Yes.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2002
WOW this album is perfect. This album is everything you want a Rap album to have. Great songs about what Biggie was feeling at the time. This album makes you think. Thats something that todays mainstream rap music cant do. I remember when i first heard Biggie in 1993 before he hit it big in 1994 with "Big Poppa" i was BLOWN away with his flow and lyrical mastery. I was only 11 when i heard it and i had to find more about this guy. His First album is a masterpiece. This sophomore LP can be called his 2nd masterpiece. With songs like "Notorious Thugs" and "Hypnotize" they will leave you hungry for more. Unfortunately Biggie was killed for NO REASON AT ALL in 1997. His music will live on forever!!
Looking back to the mid-90's in Rap music i can honestly say that todays rap makes me cringe. I mean Big Tymers, Nelly, Eminem, Jay-Z, are just too concerned with image and making money instead of making music with emotion and meaning. If you really love rap music listen to Underground rappers like Mos Def and Talib Kweli. They are actually keeping the REAL art form alive.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2005
Ready To Die is one of my favourite rap albums ever and i am considering buying it again as my original has been played far too much by me and friends, but it was time for a change so i got Life After Death,while this album may have some crap, the positives kill the negatives. It is very hard for an artist to make a double album and have everything great (Greatest Hits don't count)i mean there are songs on here i would consider filler, but having both this and 2pac All Eyez On Me double album as well and i am a Pac fan i would say this is better than the 2pac double album, that album especially the 2nd disc had way too much filler. Now my favourites are Somebody's Gotta Die, Hypnotize, Kick in the Door, Last Day, I Love the Dough, What's Beef?, Niggas Bleed, I Got a Story to Tell, Notorious Thugs, Going Back to Cali, Ten Crack Commandments, Long Kiss Goodnight, My Downfall, You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You) and Sky's the Limit now all these tracks provide banging beats, Big just flowing and wordplaying or telling and griping you with storytelling. The other tracks i aint really feeling either the beat is rubbish or the guests i hate like R.Kelly on F*ck You Tonight or Lil'Kim on Another. 15/24 aint bad for the album tracks i like, get this album now but dont expect Ready To Die material.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2004
This album is just mind-blowing. While many love this album, I still feel Biggie's Ready to Die tops this by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, this is a classic but on Ready to Die, he spoke more truthfully. While Ready to Die focuses on the realities of life, Life After Death is more of a party album (similar with 2Pac's Me Against the World and All Eyez on Me). Biggie's rhymes are still tight (as usual). They fit so well with the excellent production (even though I absolutely HATE P. Diddy and Bad Boy Records). The way Biggie flows is somewhat different and is excellent. I like the way he sounds, bit of a slushy sound which makes the album even better. Everyone is familiar with the well-known Hypnotize, I'm just surprised it didn't turn up in the Top 151 Rap Songs of All Time in The Source. I mean, this is not just any song, it's the ULTIMATE party track of ALL time! Whoever produced this song really knows how to make GREAT party beats. I was so blown away when I first heard this tune, Biggie comes out clean here. DJ Premier of Gang Starr appears to produce Kick in the Door which does not disappoint one bit either. Mo Money Mo Problems will definately get your feet tapping, a great remix of Diana Ross' I'm Comin' Out.
Disc 2 is the disc I enjoy more, however. The infamous Notorious Thugs starts the disc off well, with one of my favorite rap groups, Bone Thugs N Harmony. Biggie shows off his fast flow here and does a pretty damn good job. I also like Bizzy's verse as well. Miss U is my personal favorite off the album, I just instantly fell in love with the tune the first I heard it. Dedicated to Biggie's homeboy, this is a very emotional track and has the same feel as 2Pac's Dear Mama. Nasty Boy is one of the few letdowns on the album. I don't know what Biggie saw in Lil' Kim. Personally I don't like Lil' Kim's music, she talks too much about sex (don't get me wrong, sex is good but really, is there any point to rapping about sex the WHOLE way through your album? Coz that's what Lil' Kim's Hardcore seemed like to me!) Skip this track. Other highlights are Playa Hater, Sky's the Limit, Long Kiss Goodnight (which has always been rumored as a 2Pac diss) and the dark and eerie You're Nobody. My Downfall is a good song but DMC singing the chorus really annoys me. Overall this is an album to really add to your CD rack if you really want to be a TRUE rap fan.
Biggie rose to the top in late '93- early '94 and fell in '97. And for what? For being so successful? What is with people these days? First we lost Eazy, then we lost 2Pac and then Biggie was shot. If those idiots didn't shoot such legends, rap wouldn't be so boring (as it is now). Biggie was a man who lived up to his name, he WAS bigger than life. And nothing, not even death, can stop him from being the King of the East Coast.
Best moments= Hypnotize, Kick in the Door, Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious Thugs, Miss U, Goin Back to Cali, Playa Hataz, Nasty Boy, Long Kiss Goodnight and You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2004
Big's Life After death is a flawless album when compared to the hip hop today. Although BIG would not be the first or the last to profit off of the drug selling gangsta image, his undeniable flow, wit and wordplay somehow made it more believable, then say, 50 cent or Lloyd Banks. From the opening intro of catching the listener up from the outro of Ready to Die to the chilling ending of the album BIG crafted a double disc rap concerto. His influence on other artist (read: Jay-z) as well as his style (read: Guerrilla Black)is still being felt in the hip hop community. The track Notorious Thugs will forever be a testament to his undeniable and tragically lost skills as an MC. His ability to mimic other artists flow better than they can. along with the fact that he never wrote his rhymes, is ridiculous. New albums may come and go, but this will forever be in the my house, car, and dorm room within easy reach.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2008
Ok, I'm not going to get into the whole Tupac vs. Biggie debate that has inexplicably found its way into dozens of reviews on here. I'm also not going to give this a track by track review, it's a double disc and it would be too much. So here are the positives and negatives:
Positives: Biggie's flow is undeniable and his ability to paint a picture through his lyrics went unmatched until The Slim Shady LP, but hasn't been touched since. "Kick in the Door", "What's Beef", "Going Back to Cali", his incredible and perhaps most famous verse on "Mo Money" (regardless of how cheesy/poppy the song is) make this album a classic before you even get to mention "Notorious Thugs" and "I Got a Story to Tell". I could go on, but the bottom line is there are countless classic tracks on this chilling album.
Negatives: Honestly, after listening to this album you will want to strangle Puffy. His voice overs were annoying but acceptable at the time Ready To Die came out, but by this point they were potentially song ruining. He seems to pop up on nearly every song without ever bringing anything to any of them, including his utterly ridiculous and laughable attempt at actually rapping on "Mo Money Mo Problems" (especially when compared with the Biggie portion of the song that follows his verses). In addition to this annoyance, you will have to deal with the generic 90's interludes and skits, which apparently weren't bad enough when they were placed between songs, on this album we get them at the beginning and end of the actual songs (why does it take a minute for songs like "Miss You" to start?). Thankfully the days of cassette tapes were nearly done by the time this was released.
One last negative, if you were looking for the Biggie/Jay Z track to stand up to "Brooklyn's Finest" than you will surely be disappointed.
Bottom Line: This is one of those albums you have to have as a hip hop fan, but that doesn't mean it's not without it's flaws. Still, this is a classic album that will forever be listed as one of the best of all time.