The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death 20 Year Anniversary


The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death 20 Year Anniversary

The Notorious B.I.G. released his second and final studio album “Life After Death” on March 25, 1997.  The album was produced by various artists including Buckwild, Easy Mo Bee, DJ Premier, Havoc and RZA.  The album was released as a double album by Bad Boy Records.

When this album dropped, I remember buying the CD and sitting in my car and listening to the first disc all the way though.  I thought the first disc was great, but when I got home and played disc #2, that’s when I knew we had lost one of the greatest MC’s of all time.  So after 20 years, I can easily say what my favorite cuts on this classic album are. I know I am going to make some people angry, but it’s only my opinion. And after listening to Hip Hop since the late 70’s, I think I know what a dope track consists of. More than that, I know that if I play this song right now, I’m reaching for the repeat button.

5. My Downfall

This track is produced by Carlos Broady, Nashiem Myrick and Puff Daddy and has a classic Al GreenFor the Good Times” sample and a banging boom-bap bass that will have you shaking the room more than 5.9 earthquake in So Cal.  To add a cherry on top, you have DMC on the hook saying,

That’s not all, MC’s have the gall (pray, pray)
To pray and pray for my downfall (pray, pray)
Pray and pray for my downfall (pray, pray)
Pray and pray for my downfall (pray, pray)

The track has Puffy screaming as always and Biggie feeling paranoid about who’s after him as his paper.  As much as I hate to admit it, every time Puff screams, you know the track is going to bang.

We used to hold the gold, now we floss with diamonds
Niggas want my team to stop shining
Pray my fame start declining
Whining like girlies (stop whining you bitches)
We been around the world twice, all we got is mo’ ice
And mo’ nice,sacrifice your heart
Lexus with the automatic start
Fifty shots’ll tear your club apart

4. I Got A Story To Tell

Buckwild takes the drum beat from Al Green’sI’m So Glad You’re Mine” and on top of that an incredible guitar sample from “Belladonna” by Andreas Vollenweider. The track is crazy nice sonically while Biggie rips it with a crazy freestyle.  If this track doesn’t make you smile, then you are definitely not listening. Reading the lyrics out loud does not give justice to Biggie’s flow and cadence.  On this verse, various Hip Hop artists close to Biggie said it was about Anthony Mason.  And here I thought he was making shit up!

The shit she kicked, all the shit’s legit
She get dick from a player off the New York Knicks
Nigga tricked ridiculous, the shit was plush
She’s stressin me to fuck, like she was in a rush
We fucked in his bed, quite dangerous
I’m in his ass while he playin’ ‘gainst the Utah Jazz
My 112, CD blast, I was past
She came twice I came last, roll the grass
She giggle, sayin’ “I’m smokin’ on home-grown”
Then I heard the moan, “honey I’m home!”
Yep, tote chrome for situations like this
I’m up in his broad I know he won’t like this
Now I’m like, “Bitch, you better talk to him
Before this fifth put a spark to him
Fuck around shit get dark to him, put a part through him
Lose a major part to him, arm, leg.”

3. Notorious Thugs

How many MC’s can imitate Bone Thugs-n-Harmony perfectly and even flow better than them and on top of that have them featured on the same track?  All 3 Bone Thugs members drop dope verses but it’s Biggie that’s on display here!

Armed and dangerous
Ain’t too many can bang with us
Straight up weed; no angel dust
Label us “Notoriousthug-ass niggas
That love to bust,”it’s strange to us
Y’all niggas be scramblin’, gamblin’
Up in restaurants with mandolins and violins
We just sittin’ here tryna win, try not to sin
High off weed and lots of gin
So much smoke, need oxygen
Steadily countin’ them Benjamins
Nigga, you should too
If you knew what this game’ll do to you
Been in this shit since ’92
Look at all the bullshit I been through!
So-called beef with you-know-who

2. Ten Crack Commandments

  1. Never let anyone know how much money you have.
  2. Never let anyone know what your next move will be.
  3. Trust no one.
  4. Never use what you sell.
  5. Never give credit.
  6. Never sell out of your home.
  7. Keep family and business separate.
  8. Never park your stash on your person.
  9. If you’re not being arrested, never be seen communicating with the police.
  10. G.C.G.C. (Great Consignment, Grave Confinement)

Biggie broke down the dope game in an insanely funky and dope track produced by the great DJ Premier.  He used Chuck D’s voice sample from “Shut Em Down” to make a list or better yet a “manual, a step by step booklet” on the drug game.  If you follow his advice, you’ll have a better chance on making it in the drug business.  The track also samples “Vallarta” by Les McCann and while they used Chuck’s sample, Chuck was not happy with his voice being used as a song to promote drug sales and sues Bad Boy and BMG Records.   It’s a masterpiece and the way that Premier cuts up the Chuck D countdown is epic and legendary.

I’ve been in this game for years, it made me a animal
There’s rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step-by-step booklet for you to get
Your game on track, not your wig pushed back
Rule Nombre Uno: never let no one know
How much dough you hold cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy ‘specially
If that man fucked up, get yo’ ass stuck up
Number 2: never let ’em know your next move
Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence and violence?
Take it from your highness
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips
Number 3: never trust nobody
Your moms’ll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodied and masked up, shit, for that fast buck
She be laying in the bushes to light that ass up
Number 4: I know you heard this before
“Never get high on your own supply”
Number 5: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don’t care if they want a ounce, tell ’em “bounce!”
Number 6: that goddamn credit? Dead it
You think a crackhead paying you back, shit forget it!
7: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated
Money and blood don’t mix like two dicks and no bitch
Find yourself in serious shit
Number 8: never keep no weight on you!
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jums too
Number 9 shoulda been Number 1 to me:
If you ain’t gettin’ bagged stay the fuck from police
If niggas think you snitchin’ they ain’t trying to listen
They be sittin’ in your kitchen, waiting to start hittin’
Number 10: a strong word called “consignment”
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain’t got the clientele, say “hell no!”
Cause they gon’ want they money rain sleet hail snow
Follow these rules you’ll have mad bread to break up
If not, 24 years on the wake up
Slug hit your temple, watch your frame shake up
Caretaker did your makeup, when you passed
Your girl fucked my man Jake up
Heard in three weeks she sniffed a whole half of cake up
Heard she suck a good dick, and can hook a steak up
Gotta go gotta go, more pies to bake up, word up

1. Kick in the Door

DJ Premier does it again!  The first time I heard this track, I knew exactly where the sample came from.  The track “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was always played around Halloween every year, but the way it was cut up sounded so Hip Hop!  Lyrically, Biggie goes after his competition with a freestyle that can be arguably his greatest bars off both albums.  At first, people immediately thought he was going after 2Pac but in reality he was spitting fire towards Nas, Jeru the Damaja, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.  He had to separate himself from his competition, so the “King of New York” took it to another level.  This flow and cadence is crazy and switches off and on.  It is like nothing we had heard on either album. Perfection!

[Verse 1]
Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns
As I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons
Get in that ass, quick fast, like Ramadan
It’s that rap phenomenon Don Dada, fuck Poppa
You got to call me Francis M.H. White
Intake light tokes, tote iron
Was told in shootouts, stay low and keep firin’
Keep extra clips for extra shit
Who’s next to flip on that cat with that grip on rap
The most shady, (Tell Em!) Frankie baby
Ain’t no telling where I may be
May see me in D.C. at Howard Homecoming
With my man Capone, gumming, fucking something
You should know my steelo
Went from ten G’s for blow to thirty G’s a show
To orgies with hoes I never seen before
So, Jesus, get off the Notorious
Penis before I squeeze and bust
If the beef between us, we can settle it
With the chrome and metal shit
I make it hot like a kettle get
You’re delicate, you better get – who sent ya?
You still pedal shit, I got more rides than “Great Adventure”
Biggie (“How are you gonna do it?”)

Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more

[Verse 2]
On ya mark, get set, when I spark, ya wet
Look how dark it get when you’re marked for death
Should I start your breath or should I let you die
In fear you start to cry, ask why
Lyrically I’m worshiped, don’t front, the word sick
You cursed it, but rehearsed it
I drop unexpectedly like bird shit
You herbs get stuck quickly for royalties and show money
Don’t forget the publishing, I punish em, I’m done with them
Son, I’m surprised you run with them
I think they got cum in them cause they nothing but dicks
Trying to blow up like nitro and dynamite sticks
Mad I smoke hydro, rock diamonds that’s sick
Got paid off my flow, rhyme with my own clique
Take trips to Cairo, laying with your bitch
I know you praying you was rich, fucking prick
When I see ya I’mma

Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more
Kick in the door, waving the four-four
All you heard was Poppa don’t hit me no more

[Verse 3]
This goes out for those that choose to use
Disrespectful views on the King of N-Y
Fuck that, why try, throw bleach in your eye
Now ya brailling it, snatch that light shit, I’m scaling it
Conscious of ya nonsense, in eighty-eight
Sold more powder than Johnson and Johnson
Tote steel like Bronson, “Vigilante”
You wanna get on son, you need to ask me
Ain’t no other kings in this rap thing
They siblings, nothing but my children
One shot they disappearin’
It’s ill when MC’s used to be on cruddy shit
Took home Ready to Die, listened, studied shit
Now they on some money shit, successful out the blue
They light weight, fragile, my nine milli
Make the whites shake, that’s why my money never funny
And you still recouping, stupid stupid stupid stupid..
So which disc is better?  Disc 2!  Tracks like “Notorious Thugs“, “Going Back to Cali“, “Ten Crack Commandments“, “Sky’s the Limit“, “My Downfall” and “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)” are all on this side and flows better than side one.  Unfortunately there are some “filler” tracks on this album and some weakly sampled 80’s tracks, but that does not mean that this album is not a certified classic.  He gave us 2 classic albums and after more than 20 years from when his debut album dropped, his music has aged quite well!-Al E.

The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death 20 Year Anniversary

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