You can’t talk about modern-day music without the Notorious B.I.G. He went places many didn’t dare go during his short but profound career, elevating the art form that is hip-hop and rap to a whole new level. He was big, bold, and clever. His two full-length albums, 1994′s Ready to Die and 1997′s Life After Death, are bona fide canonical. Biggie was and is one of the kings of rap.
On March 9, 1997, Biggie (Christopher Wallace/Biggie Smalls/B.I.G./The Notorious B.I.G.) died at the age of 24. He was murdered in Los Angeles in a crime that is still unsolved. Its mythic status only adds to the legacy he left behind, one we’re still reveling in two decades later. They just don’t make rappers like they Biggie anymore, and the following musicians will the first to tell you that.