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Life After Death by the Notorious B.I.G. (Bad Boy Entertainment, 1997)

When Biggie burst onto the music scene in 1994 with his debut album, Ready to Die, some thought that perhaps a follow-up album couldn’t bring him any more success, but not so. Life After Death was intended as a follow-up; instead, it became a two-disc, 24 song phenomenon! With an album so huge, you’d expect to find some filler material, but — if you ask critics and Biggie fans — they have yet to find any.

Life After Death was scheduled for an early release in March 1997. Unfortunately, Biggie was shot dead while his SUV was stopped at a red light in the early morning hours of March 9, 1997. The album was pushed back for a late March release. The first single, Hypnotize went straight to number one and was certified platinum. The follow-up single, Mo Money Mo Problems accomplished the same feats and made Biggie the first artist ever to score two posthumous number one singles. The third single, Sky’s the Limit was certified gold. Three years later, Life After Death was certified Diamond status with sales of 10 million. In Canada, the album was certified 2x Platinum, with 200,000 albums sold. In the UK, Life After Death was certified Platinum, with sales of 300,000.

Biggie’s friend, Puff Daddy and his widow, Faith Evans, had one of the biggest hits of 1997 with their tribute song to him — I’ll Be Missing You. In the ensuing years, Biggie’s death has remained unsolved.