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Notorious B.I.G.: Duets: The Final Chapter

Notorious B.I.G.: Duets: The Final Chapter

Label:Bad Boy
Release Date:2006
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Al Shipley | Posted 2/8/2006

Itís a little remarkable that the legacies of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. have loomed over hip-hop since their deaths, considering that Biggie left behind a body of work thatís but a fraction of the size of Pacís. Albums full of unreleased Tupac vocals have been trotted out annually since the mid-í90s, but Duets: The Final Chapter is only the second posthumously assembled Biggie album that Bad Boy has squeezed out. And with the proliferation of unofficial remix projects constantly breathing new life into his vocals, a release like Duets is more unnecessary than ever, simply a more extravagant version of the mix tapes available from your local bootlegger.

Pumped up as a major event, Duets is ultimately more a product of its era than one for the ages. Itís got the same producers and guest MCís as every other major-label rap album of the past year, and letting new jacks like the Game and Slim Thug shadowbox with Bigís ghost feels more like a vanity project for the guests than a fitting tribute to the name on the marquee. Still, his verses retain their steely, thick-throated swagger in any context, with unexpectedly listenable results even on comically mismatched pairings with Korn and Missy Elliott. And with the right beat sparks fly, especially on Swizz Beatzís pyrotechnic backdrop for ďSpit Your Game,Ē but Duets is littered with failed what-if experiments. Making a decent album out of Biggieís a cappellas might not sound that difficult, but as Diddy might tell you, pimpiní a legacy ainít easy.

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