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Published on Oct 12, 2010
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This track, the first track on the second CD of the Life After Death album (released back when double-disc records were far more common), is a collaboration between two of the most prolific acts in hip-hop: The Notorious B.I.G., and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Together, they are “Notorious Thugs”.
With an iconic first verse by Biggie and some of BTNH’s most melodic, violent, and finest lines, “Notorious Thugs” is a declaration of their talent and determination to stay true to their roots in gangsta rap. Affected by what would become the East-West coast hip-hop rivalry largely seen between Biggie and 2Pac (check out the line, “So-called beef with you-know-who”), the song was finished recording sometime between 1995 and Life After Death’s release in 1997 (only a few weeks after Biggie himself was murdered in March).
This track was released at the height of popularity, not just Biggie’s and the Bone Thugs', but of ‘90s gangster rap in general. Life After Death would go on to be nominated for three Grammys including Best Hip-Hop Album, and was certified Diamond in 2000 with more than 10 million albums sold—a song and an album worthy of the Notorious Thugs.