Posted by: vincentlopez | November 21, 2009

Life After Death – The Source May 1997 issue featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Unfortunately, Scarface had to settle for the ‘inside’ cover at the last minute due to Biggie’s death.

I vividly remember these crazy times back in ’97.  A friend of mine called me at approximately 6 am and told me to turn on the radio (Power 99).  Colby Colb was frantically playing Biggie songs and taking calls from crying fans.  I didn’t even believe it at first.  I woke up my little sister to tell her and she didn’t believe me until I let her hear it on the radio.  A couple of weeks later, the album was sold out everywhere the day it dropped and I had to drive to Sound of Upper Darby on 69th Street where the salesperson was selling the CD’s at the door for $25.00 each to a massive crowd.  The sales guy complained that they had only ordered 300 copies and wished that they had ordered more.  I bought one of the last 3 copies while everyone blasted the album from their cars and talked about it.  It was surreal.

Side note – Record labels were making crazy money from like ’97 to ’99 by charging consumers these ridiculous prices for CD’s. Their greed and technology ultimately took them under.  No wonder they’re pissed today.

Does anybody agree with that 5 mic rating for Life After Death?  Was it well deserved or did the album receive 5 mics solely because of his death?


  1. good work vincent, hey send me an invitation homie, please

  2. Thanks for uploading this…I’ve wanted to read this for so long…Not to ask for more but can you upload the article on him inside. I’d like to read what they said. Yes I agree with the classic rating….I always tell people this album was the modern day blueprint for a classic because back in the early 90s everyone stuck to what they were good at and just did it. Life After Death basically was a resume of why Big was one of the best rappers of all time. It showed you he can do everything, from rapping fast with bone thugs, to slow r&b tracks with r kelly, to hard underground tracks with premo, to pop party tracks, to story telling tracks. He mastered every style on this album….so yes it’s a classic. Nonetheless, I think this album was a gift and curse because it lead to a lot of people creating music that was out of their element. That’s just my opinion tho.

    • @Rtoda – Although I personally don’t believe it’s a classic, I understand your point. To me, Puffy went overboard trying to appeal to every possible fan. I’m sure quite a few of those tracks weren’t Biggie’s idea.

  3. Please send me an invite. If you have any to give out. Would be great. I enjoy your blog! And would like to read the one by invitation only. Thanks.

  4. I regard it as a classic album although to me its a 4.5, it would have been better on a single disc, when listening to it i get the feeling puffy was in control of most of the song choices and musically on the second disc its a bit to diverse

  5. sweet write up. you encapsulate my thoughts exactly.

    could i get an invite? thanks regardless.

  6. peace
    famo…i began collecting classic issues of the source and rap pages from the 90’s….
    you seem to be way ahead of me duke…haha
    i would be eternally grateful to you if i could get an invite homie…
    im DYING to read the early 90’s issues…cant find em ANYWHERE but here

    respect homeskillets

  7. I feel like yeah, it’s definitely a classic today. To judge it on a song-to-song basis, sure one could say ‘well, there’s that ‘Nasty Boy’ joint and that joint with Lil’ Kim I don’t like’… but that’s not really pertinent to what the album as a whole means. Same way nobody ever brings up how ‘Straight Outta Compton’ has a clearly unnecessary track on it (give you one guess). Because when you take the entire album into account, it’s bigger than one or two songs that may not necessarily be great.

    This is an album that a lot of artists TRIED to make. Sure, it’s super-ambitious with all those different types of records on there, but as a double album I feel like it benefited from that. Take a Mobb Deep for example- even at their peak, I don’t know if I coulda taken a 24-track album from them because it sure as hell would’ve been overly repetitive by the time I got to track 17 or so. Whereas Big had the range to do all that different shit and still have it be a cohesive (for the most part) album. And then, every other artist in ’97 (and the following years) tried to replicate that, and couldn’t do it in ONE album. So when you look at it that way, it’s def. a classic album and to me it solidifies why B.I.G. was so great.

    I had this issue when it dropped and almost got arrested for it, haha. I bought it from a store around my way while on the way to the mall. When I got to the mall, I went to the record store, and had the mag in my hand when I walked in. The manager stopped me on the way out and tried to say I took it off their rack… called security and all that shit. Then I told them to run it back on their cameras and see if I took it, they manager gonna say some ‘ah, just let him have it’. You muhfukkin’ right, ‘let me have it’, cause I bought the shit.


  8. Vince My Invitation Expired!
    Can I get another Invite Please?
    I Need Those Fat Tape’s

  9. I also would like another invititation cause mine expired. Thanks in advance

  10. Can I have another invite because for some reaosn mine stopped working.

    my email is


  11. I believe this was a classic album, it was hardcore but also had commercial appeal. Biggie’s lyrics were top notch and he showed he could with any lyrical style (i.e Bone Thugs,down south,west coast). He started the trend that still exists for an album to attempt to cater to everyone by including various styles, but most don’t succeed like this album did.
    I remember listening to this CD straight through for weeks.

    my invite also expired, I would appreciate a re-up:


  12. The album in my opinion is hip hop’s greatest double album and a classic. He improved his flows, storytelling, and was showing people he was the best MC in the game. R.I.P. to all the fallen MCs.

  13. the death of hip hop. thanks for the comments vincent.

  14. I’d like a re-invite if possible. Man I really appreciate you taking the time to take us back in time 🙂

  15. sadly it seems i can no longer enter your blog and look at all the hard work you’ve been putting in… so a re-invite would be much appreciated


  16. wow, i have this issue somewhere 0_o

  17. Would greatly appreciate an invite as well. Huge fan, with 1997 – 2010 on lock. Need help with early back issues.

  18. Dope blog, could i get an invite? Peace!

  19. I agree with Life After Death and The War Report.

  20. Its YSB from SA to tell the from my true account still,it hurts because Rap game ended there

  21. […] of his career, from interviewing his first music legend (Barry White) to writing cover stories for The Source to crafting cultural criticism for the Paris Review. His answers were edited for length and […]

  22. […] of his career, from interviewing his first music legend (Barry White) to writing cover stories for The Source to crafting cultural criticism for the Paris Review. His answers were edited for length and […]

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