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Fifteen years ago today, the music world lost one of the greatest, if not, THE GREATEST, rapper of all time. The Notorious B.I.G.

March 9, 1997, the world would have never imagined what would happen that day, a day that would be remembered in the music world forever. B.I.G was gunned down and his name would be remembered forever.

Biggie Smalls wasn’t the biggest artist on the newly formed Bad Boy Records by Sean ‘Diddy‘ Combs, but he was viewed as a respected lyricist and a raw talent. One of his first singles Just Playing (Dreams) seemed to poke fun at major artists of the early 90s, Mariah Carey in particular.

His debut album Ready to Die, made some noise in 1994. He found a way to stay true to the rap street rhymes he was discovered for possessing, but also mixing in the 90s pop lyrics that radio loved to play. He often called himself ‘unattractive’ and ‘not a likely sex symbol’ like LL Cool J, or artists of the like. His luck was soon to change.

His debut album was certified platinum four times over, and due to bootleg copies and undocumented record sales, his music has been said to influence rappers such as Jay-Z, Nas and Eminem, and undiscovered rappers all over.

Biggie started his own label before releasing his second album, where he launched the career of a female rapper, Lil’ Kim.

He had grown from a street rapper, to one of the elite in the rap world. But with that fame also came resentment from fellow rappers. A feud between Biggie and fellow rapper Tupac Shakur began to develop. It became an East Coast versus West Coast battle and although there is no proof, it is believed by many to have caused the death of Tupac.

After Tupac’s death, the hip hop world was still in mourning when B.I.G released his sophomore album, Life After Death. His first single off the album, Hypnotize reached #1 on the Billboard 100 chart. He was beginning to see mainstream radio success.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to live the success of his career for very long, on March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace, the Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in LA at the age of 24. His final album was certified diamond (10 million units sold). His death has remained unsolved.

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