On May 25, 1996, however, lead vocalist and guitarist Nowell was found dead in a San Francisco hotel room of a heroin overdose. The band collapsed, but the eponymous Sublime was still slated for a July 1996 release. The album was certified gold by the end of 1996 and eventually sold more than six million copies, making it one of the most popular reggae-punk albums in history. Such success spread to the band's earlier albums too, leading 40 Oz. to Freedom to double-platinum sales and Robbin' the Hood to gold certification.
Remastered and making its vinyl debut, Second-Hand Smoke is a platinum certified 1997 compilation album, released 18 months after Nowell's death, which gathers a generous helping of previously unreleased material and remixed versions of previously released tracks. In addition to the new cuts "Romeo," "Slow Ride" and "Superstar Punani," the 19-track offering includes a standout cover of Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock," and remixes of such classics as "Doin' Time," "April 29," and Saw Red" featuring Gwen Stefani.
"The singular sound of Sublime, alternately polished and rough and ready, finds stoner rock, rap, punk, and hip-hop funk blended with doses of ska, rock steady, dancehall, and every other pungent flavor of reggae. The result was a beautiful, warts-and-all brand of poetry - a powerful new blend of street sounds and party music. In Nowell, Sublime had as astounding singer and lyricist who created his own edgy but expressive underground vernacular. And in Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, Sublime was fortunate to have an agile, rock-solid rhythm section that could cover the entire musical waterfront." - David Wild