Biggie's greatest album: 'Ready to Die' or 'Life After Death'? | The Tylt
It's been 20 years since the Notorious B.I.G.'s untimely death in a drive-by shooting. He predicted his death, but he was still gone too soon. Biggie's legacy lives on. He only completed two albums before his death. The world was introduced to Biggie with his acclaimed debut album, "Ready to Die." The LP cemented his legacy. "Life After Death" was released just weeks after his death, and was certified diamond. But which album is his most iconic? 💿
Biggie's greatest album: 'Ready to Die' or 'Life After Death'?
Biggie conquered the rap game in just a short period of time with "Ready to Die" and "Life After Death."
"Ready to Die" made Biggie an icon. Rap fans were introduced to Biggie with a feature on Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear" and promotional hit "Party and Bulls***." But it was his debut album's lead single that pushed him into the mainstream, "Juicy."
Biggie opened the hit single talking about the struggles of everyday life in New York City. Plus—who doesn't know the iconic opening lyrics of verse one?
It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! magazine
Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine
Per Cleveland.com writer Troy L. Smith:
Recording sessions for "Ready to Die" took on a mythical like retelling, whether it was Biggie's ability rifle off bars without writing anything down or Puffy having to beg B.I.G. to rap over a sample of Mtume's "Juicy Fruit."
"Ready to Die" sold a modest 57,000 copies in its first week of release. But the success of "Juicy" would push the album to gold status in just two weeks. Subsequent singles "Big Poppa," "Warning" and "One More Chance" (Remix) would have "Ready to Die" double platinum in barely over a year.
"Ready to Die" seeded Biggie's legacy—making him a rap legend in just a few short years.
While "Life After Death" was technically released posthumously, the album was completed before his death. The album's lead single "Hypnotize" became his first #1 hit, and "Mo Money Mo Problems" quickly followed. The album is certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Ready to Die" cemented his legacy, but "Life After Death" took his legend to the next level upon his untimely death.
Consequence of Sound's Dean Van Nguyen wrote:
The legend of Big was crystallized on his double-disc sophomore opus, Life After Death, released just 16 days after his death. It’s a blockbuster rap record — all fulsome beats, commanding verses, unchecked experimentation, sharp pop instincts, and mammoth singles. Yet, flowing through its platinum outline is the dark specter of death. Had its creator lived to see its release, the album would still have been a cutting meditation on mortality, akin to Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. The way things played out makes Life After Death a chilling work of dark prophecy.
Here are perspectives on "Ready to Die."
Here are perspectives on "Life After Death."
Life After Death really had songs I couldn't appreciate until I was as old as BIG was when he wrote them. That's kind of insane.— Austin Williams (@austinxwill) March 9, 2017
Listen to "Ready to Die" below.
Watch the music video for "Juicy" below.
Watch the music video for "Big Poppa" below.
Listen to "Life After Death" below.
Watch the music video for "Hypnotize" below.
Watch the music video for "Mo Money Mo Problems" below.