Biggie's Posthumous Release Exceeds Expectations

One month after his still unsolved murder in Los Angeles, the late rapper "Notorious B.I.G." will top the "Billboard" pop chart on Monday with his posthumously-released, and now-ironically titled, second album, "Life After Death."

The double-disc set was a sales phenomenon even before its official release last week, selling some 6,000 advance copies to clamoring fans. This week, the sales total rose to nearly 700,000, eclipsing the first-week performance of new albums by such rock war-horses as U2 and Aerosmith.

The Biggie explosion, together with strong sales of current albums by such acts as Jewel and Celine Dion, has raised hopes in the music industry that a two-year sales slump, widely blamed on dull music, may be coming to an end.