The Notorious B.I.G.: 15 Years Later His Music Enjoys 'Life After Death'

The Notorious B.I.G.: 15 Years Later His Music Enjoys 'Life After Death'

Canibus offered his opinion that "the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th" on "Second Round Knockout." For hip-hop heads, the day has been forever etched in stone as Christopher 'The Notorious B.I.G.' Wallace was fatally gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997. Hard to believe, but this day marks the 15th anniversary of his death. While GOAT discussions are always subject to debate, Biggie Smalls, possessing a smooth, unparalleled delivery is one of rap's all time greats.

Wallace, only 24 years old when he was murdered -- a still unsolved case -- had just two studio albums to his credit Ready to Die and the posthumous double-disc set Life After Death released shortly after the rapper met his fate. Still, his brief time gave the music world tracks such as "Juicy" "Hypnotize" and "Big Poppa." Had he been alive today, we can only wonder what trajectory his talents would have taken as he would be nearing his 40th birthday. The Root openly ponders on this occasion what rap would look like had he lived on.

Looking back, the Notorious B.I.G.'s catalog is full of rags to riches tales, rhymes bragging of sexual exploits and rarely explicitly ventured into the realm of the socially conscious other than detailing his own experiences growing up. On "Juicy," the first big time single to put the rapper on the map, however, he rhymed verses that placed him squarely as a product of early hip-hop culture.

"It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up magazine / Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine / Hangin' pictures on my wall / Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl / I let my tape rock 'til my tape popped."

Fifteen years later and certainly not forgotten, Wallace's legacy has become a centerpiece of the very culture that inspired and took him beyond his wildest imagination. Because of it, somewhere, right now, there are aspiring MCs studying Biggie's flow, learning and practicing the craft until the day we'll all come to know their name.


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