The eeriest thing about listening to "Born Again," the first Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls) posthumous release, is the unshakable feeling that he's being exploited. B.I.G. never needed this many guest stars to make a record, and on this new joint there are more featured artists than there are tracks. No complaints on "Dead Wrong" with Eminem, or when Primo takes the helm on "Rap Phenomenon" with Red and Meth adding a little something. This is what hip-hop is supposed to sound like -- heavy beats, scratch-heavy production and clever, rugged lyricism.
Smalls is still the illest, and if it weren't for the inconsistent production, this might be a suitable follow-up to his first two memorable releases. Even with its few highlights, "Born Again" is something of a disappointment. Still, for the real Biggie fans, getting "one more chance" to hear The Notorious is reason enough.
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