Remembering the Notorious B.I.G., 13 Years Later

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March 9, 1997, Biggie Smalls was gunned down in an SUV by a mystery assailant in a Chevy Impala while leaving a Soul Train Music Awards after-party. Thirteen years ago, he wasn't only the great Notorious B.I.G.—he was also a 24 year-old named Christopher Wallace, gone way, way too soon.

An article on AllHipHop poses the question "What if Biggie Smalls Had Lived?" Just skimming the comments of the article provides a taste of the various arguments regarding whether or not Biggie and Tupac would have still been considered as legendary as they are today, had they survived. Whichever side you're on, the lyrical genius, clever wordplay, spitfire flow, undeniable swagger, and enduring influence of the one Christopher Wallace is impossible to deny—everyone from Jay-Z to Nas, Weezy, Eminem, Usher, even Ratatat, owes something to Biggie.

The #ripbig hashtag is already dominating Twitter feeds, with fans sharing their favorite memories and songs of the prolific rapper, while artists, media sites, and blogs have begun compiling their tributes:

  • MTV revisits the ongoing investigation into the iconic rapper's murder: While his mother, Voletta Wallace," has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles, she declined to make any statements to the network about the lawsuit. Russell Poole, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective that was assigned to the case, spoke with MTV about the ongoing investigation. Poole says that he believes the LAPD intentionally slowed down the investigation of the murder to cover up their own police force's involvement in the crime. "I want this thing solved before I die," he said. "Every detective has a case that they think about each and every day, and this is the case right there," Poole revealed.
  • Diddy is throwing a "Biggie Day" party in honor of his late friend. "We're trying to make March 9th a national hip holiday," he told MTV News. It's an invite-only affair, to be held at the Brooklyn club The Lab. "It's gonna be the first time I'm throwing a party in Brooklyn. I'm from Harlem. Everybody in Harlem knows you don't usually go over the bridge to Brooklyn. It's a big, big deal."
  • Prefix Mag launched a new section called "Sights & Sounds" today, where illustrators reinterpret a song into a piece of artwork; in honor of the B.I.G., they've debuted with a piece from San Jose artist Pellet. Check out his interpretation of Biggie's "Juicy" here.
  • compiles the tweets of Diddy, Talib Kweli, Swizz Beatz and others paying homage to the rapper
  • Biggie and Tupac, the documentary investigating the deaths of the two artists and their East Coast/West Coast rivalry, can be streamed in its entirety over at SnagFilms.

Amid the video tribute posts popping up in the blogosphere, Pop Champagne directs attention not to the typical Biggie classics, but to a video of him freestyling on a street corner at the age of 17, showcasing the talent that makes him so revered in the first place. The Roots' ?uestlove—who posted the same video on his Twitter—says it best:


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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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