The Notorious B.I.G. had high hopes for his second LP, Life After Death. “I want people to buy [my new] album and just straight up say, ‘Yo, he’s the best. He’s the best ever. He’s the best that ever did it,’ ” Biggie said in a 1997 Source magazine interview before he was murdered on March 9, 1997. Big never got to see the public’s reaction to his 24-track, double-disc masterpiece — it was released on March 25, 16 days after his death.
Fifteen years and 10 million copies later, there is no denying the power of LAD. Biggie mixed inescapable singles like “Hypnotize,” “Mo Money, Mo Problems” and “Sky’s the Limit” with dark and brooding underground classics like “Ten Crack Commandments” and the DJ Premier-produced “Kick in the Door.” Everyone has their favorites, even the Notorious B.I.G.’s friend and Bad Boy CEO Sean “Diddy” Combs.
“Aww man, Life After Death? It would probably have to be …,” Diddy responded when Sway asked him to pick his #1 LAD track while the two were on the set of a Miami video shoot in January. ” ‘My Downfall,’ ‘My Downfall’ is my favorite joint.”
The Hitmen-produced track is a gut-wrenching display of Brooklyn bravado. “My Downfall” is prefaced by a skit in which Biggie receives death threats over the phone, exemplifying the type of resentment that Big’s success brought out in his detractors. With rap legend DMC on the song’s hook and Diddy adding fiery ad libs, B.I.G. eerily pondered his own death. “Dying ain’t the sh–, but it’s pleasant,” he rapped as if he were foretelling his own fate. It was a theme that was revisited quite a few times on the classic rap LP, particularly on the album-closing “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You).”
For the album’s 15-year anniversary, Diddy said he is planning to release a remastered version of Life After Death, but beyond that, not much else. “We basically gonna let it rock, we have promoted it, promoted his legacy through movies, documentaries, albums, remixed albums, new albums and now it’s time for the fans to have it,” he said. “On the 15th anniversary, we’ll definitely make sure that there is a remastered copy out there, but besides that we’re not gonna do anything extra to extra push it. People are buying that album every day. It’s a classic album and they’re gonna keep on buying it.”
A representative from Bad Boy Records told MTV News that at press time there was no Life After Death remastered LP on the label’s release schedule.
What is your favorite song from the Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death? Tell us in the comments!
Join MTV News as we celebrate the Notorious B.I.G’s life on the 15th anniversary of his death. From March 9 through March 25, we will be rolling out exclusive and commemorative content from Biggie’s closest friends, collaborators and his biggest fans. To join the conversation on Twitter, hit @MTVRapFix using the hashtag #biggie15.