Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Posthumous Albums Thrive on Controversy

As soon as The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in Las Vegas, bereavement quickly gave way to the anticipation of the release of his second and what seemed sure to be his final studio album.

But two years later when the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy unveiled Born Again -- the album that followed Life After Death and was filled with recycled lyrics used completely out of context in “new” songs that featured artists BIG never even knew -- fans were both immediately interested and skeptical.

But because the insatiable hunger from fans for more Biggie regardless of the circumstances propelled the album to debut at number one on the Billboard charts, Puff was able to use the album’s success to fend off any criticism surrounding the details of the album’s production.

Diddy has since released an even more implausible album credited to BIG which again features [many of the same] dated Biggie rhymes with random rappers and singers who never had the chance to make BIG's acquaintance.

Fast forward 11 years and it’s déjà vu all over again.

Only this time it’s Teddy Riley and not Puff Daddy trying to justify using a dead man’s vocals as a means for financial gain.

In particular, it has been alleged that the album employs the services of Michael Jackson vocal impostors to fill in the glaring vocal void left from Jackson's untimely death.

Despite protests from former MJ collaborators, the new album was released today, receiving generally positive reviews from major media outlets, but also calling into question the ethics of the record business when it comes to releasing controversial [read: profitable] material.

Two main producers on the new "Michael" album have already gone on record to say that they are thinking about releasing more songs in this fashion, making it a very safe bet that this isn't the last "new music" we've heard from MJ.

Not ironically, Akon, one of the artists featured on the new Michael Jackson album, was also featured on BIG's Duets album.

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