As posthumous albums go, The Final Chapter takes the proverbial biscuit, boasting amongst its 17 collaborations with The Notorious B.I.G. a further three deceased musicians - 2Pac Shakur, Bob Marley and Big Pun - which lends a slightly Frankensteinian vibe to proceedings. Whilst all of these tracks appear to be new material, Biggie's contributions are often merely vocals lifted from his earlier releases, leaving the collaborators to take the limelight in what is essentially a tribute album.
The credits read as a real who's who of commercial hip hop - Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Nelly, Nas and Missy Elliot all chip in, and needless to say a handful of these tracks have been given some seriously heavy rotation by Tim Westwood. The aggressive Spit Your Game (featuring Twista and Bone Thugs N Harmony) and Watchu Want (featuring Jay-Z) are amongst the strongest moments, more than capable of standing on their own merits as single releases. Elsewhere, though, the overwrought urban melodrama of it all does get tiresome - It Has Been Said (featuring Eminem, Diddy and Obie Trice) is too similar to Lose Yourself to really make an impact, whilst Get Your Grind On and Just A Memory do little to really grab the attention.
It's no surprise to find that with so much high profile talent poured into one release the standard is generally rather impressive, though, and this doesn't so much sit reverently in the shadow of The Notorious B.I.G. as stage a hip-hop Live 8 blowout in his memory. That this really is The Final Chapter, though, we very much doubt.