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Today marks the 17th anniversary of Life After Death, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy‘s final album together. To commemorate the project’s legacy, we take a look back at the classic samples used to imbue soul into Big’s second effort.

Released as a double album, Life After Death was placed in stores posthumously following Christopher Wallace’s death on March 9, 1997. Eerily reflected in the album’s title and subject matter, the ominous feelings of “the end” also permeate within the samples used by The Hitmen — Bad Boy’s in-house production team. Much of the sound was cultivated by Deric “D-Dott” Angelettie, Carlos “July Six” Broady, Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence, Nashiem Myrick and a pre-reality-TV Stevie J — with hands-on work provided by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

The late, great Frank White redefined what it meant to be a mainstream rapper. His brilliant microphone skills, challenging wordplay, and vivid story telling enabled the Brooklyn boy to demonstrate his ability to make the streets accessible to those living the glamour life. Even while the project delved deeper into the mafioso life, you’d be surprised to learn that not every track on Life After Death contained a sample. Standouts such as “F**k You Tonight” featuring R. Kelly, “Last Day” featuring The Lox and “You’re Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You)” featuring Diddy and Faith Evans all have no samples.

With that said, sit back, keep your clicker on the play button and groove out to these 21 samples that served as the backdrop to one of the best-selling rap albums of all time: Life After Death.

Photo: WENN

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