The debut album of The Notorious B.I.G., “Ready to Die” was released on September 13, 1994 – which also, rather disturbingly – happened to be the same date that 2Pac died! It was recorded in two stages between 1993 and 1994. In 1993 Biggie was signed to Uptown Records label by Sean “Puffy” Combs who was an A&R there. The following year Biggie started recording his debut album mainly at The Hit Factory but also partly at D&D Studios, New York. This was the time when most of the albums darker tracks where also recorded.
Puff Daddy was eventually fired from Uptown and this caused Biggie’s career to be put on hold, as the album was only partially completed. Biggie returned to the studio the following year when Combs’ set up his Bad Boy Records label. In this stage, the more commercial-sounding tracks of the album were recorded, including the singles.
The album was released with the now iconic cover depicting an infant resembling the artist, though sporting an afro, which pertains to the album’s concept of the artist’s life from birth to his death. The album was also the first release on Puffy’s new Bad Boy label and features production from Easy Mo Bee, Chucky Thompson, DJ Premier, and Lord Finesse, among others.
Since the albums first release in 1994 it has since had many additional re-issues and special edition releases.
Below: UK and US original 1994 1st pressings. The UK and European version was released under “Puff Daddy Records”.