Entertainment Weekly - p.80
"DUETS works on two fronts: as a brisk-moving all-star mixtape and sad reminder of a towering talent." -- Grade: B+
Personnel: Makeba Riddick, T Yanna Dream Wallace, Capricorn Clark, Ebony Black, Voletta Wallace, Karen Anderson (vocals); Steven King (guitar); Luis Resto (keyboards); Atticus Ross (programming); DJ Scram Jones (scratches).
Audio Mixers: Eminem; Glen Marchese; Marcella Araica; Kevin Wilson; Rich Keller; Steve Sola; Steven King; Terry Date; Tony Dofat; Tony Maserati ; Leslie Brathwaite.
Liner Note Author: Voletta Wallace.
Recording information: 54 Sound, Detroit, MI; Backroom, Glendale, CA; Big Things Studios, New York, NY; Clay Garden Studio, Norfolk, VA; Daddy's House Recording Studios, New York, NY; Doppler Audios, Atlanta, GA; Dun Deal Studios, New York, NY; Invasion Studios, New York, NY; Jamworld Entertainment Centre, Potmore, Jamaica; KoRn Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Monza Studios, New York, NY; Patchwork Studios, Atlanta, GA; Pedigree Sound Asylum, Hollywood, CA; Right Track Recording Studios, New York, NY; Sony Studios, New York, NY; Sound on Sound Studios, New York, NY; The Cathedral, Hollywood, CA; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA; The Sh*# Factory, Houston, TX.
Editor: Andy Geel.
Illustrator: Elizabeth Rosen.
It is difficult to overcome the suspicion that DUETS: THE FINAL CHAPTER, the Notorious B.I.G.'s second posthumous "studio" release, is a blatant case of opportunism. The late rapper's legend towers so hugely over the hip-hop landscape, and his name has taken on such iconic grandeur, that it's absurdly easy to cash in on his musical legacy. DUETS recycles unused Biggie material, looping it artfully along with performances by some of the finest MCs and vocalists in the hip-hop and R&B community. Since Biggie's parts are sometimes minimal, however, those looking for a disc full of new music from the late icon may be disappointed.
Still, the album is an affecting listen, which is largely due to the spectacular assembly of talent. With a roster that includes the likes of Missy Elliott, R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Mary J. Blige, and Biggie's widow, Faith Evans, among many, many others, DUETS works nicely as a tribute and a testament to Biggie's influence on the evolution of hip-hop. As much a cultural artifact as a music release, DUETS will appeal to hardcore Biggie fans and, in general, music fans interested in how hip-hop builds and maintains its own mythology.