Ready to Die is the debut album of American rapper The Notorious B.I.G., released September 13, 1994 on Bad Boy Records. The first release on the label, it features production by record producer and Bad Boy founder Sean "Puffy" Combs, Easy Mo Bee, Chucky Thompson, DJ Premier, and Lord Finesse, among others. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1993 to 1994 at The Hit Factory and D&D Studios in New York City. The partly autobiographical album tells the story of The Notorious B.I.G.'s experiences as a young criminal, referring to himself as "the black Frank White". Ready to Die is his only studio album released during his lifetime; B.I.G. was murdered days prior to the release of his second album Life After Death (1997).
Ready to Die gained strong reviews on release and became a commercial success, reaching quadruple platinum sales. It was significant for revitalizing the East Coast hip hop scene, amid West Coast hip hop's commercial dominance. The album's second single, "Big Poppa", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1996 Grammy Awards. Ready to Die has been regarded by several music critics as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 133 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, making it the third highest hip hop album on the list after Raising Hell and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. In 2006, Time included it on their list of the 100 greatest albums of all time .