The legendary Biggie Smalls was tragically killed in 1997.
20 years ago today, Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-by in Los Angeles, California – the case remains unsolved. He would have been 44 today, and his legacy can’t be understated. Pitch-shifting delivery, money-bragging bravado, straight-up rivalry – these were all traits Biggie Smalls boasted before they became commonplace. And his final album, ‘Life After Death’, suggested this innovative talent had his best days ahead of him.
Tributes and homages have been pouring in ever since he died age 24, with the likes of Jay Z and Eminem quoting his lyrics in their own work. And to mark two decades since Biggies’s death, the music world and beyond is paying tribute to one of the world’s greatest.
Diddy is combining Biggie’s best verses into “something special”
Sean Combs owes much of his success to Notorious B.I.G.’s legacy, kickstarted by the classic 1994 ‘Ready to Die’ LP. As Puff Daddy, his 1997 ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ tribute to B.I.G. was his biggest hit, shipping 8 million copies worldwide. Combs continues to pay tribute to his best friend. Today, he launched a new campaign under the hashtag #WeMissYouBIG, where he’s asking fans to send him recordings of their favourite Biggie verses. He then plans to edit and merge those verses into “something special”.
Diddy also posted a one-minute video on his Twitter page, saying: “This year is more of a sobering year. For us, we lived 20 years of our lives without somebody that has been a big part of our lives. That has basically been responsible…for the legend of our careers. He’s fed a lot of families, made a lot of people dance, made a lot of people feel good. On this day we’re gonna reflect for him.”
His wife is releasing an album of duets with the rapper
Faith Evans has sourced material from Wallace’s vault to record a new duets album, titled ‘The King & I’. Out May 19, the record consists of 25 tracks and features Biggie associates Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Lil Kim. “This project is my creative reflection of the love we had & the bond we will always have. I’m elated to share this musical journey with our fans,” she said in a statement.
New York is hosting a B.I.G.-themed art show
Spread Art NYC is hosted an event from today (March 9) called 20 Big Years, featuring work from local artists and commemorating Biggie’s legacy. It’s set to include work with Barron Clairborne, who took the legendary crowned photo of Biggie that most associate him with today. The event runs until Sunday March 11. On the other side of the Atlantic, a pop-up shop is opening in London full of threads from his ‘Hypnotize’ fashion label.
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Questlove is throwing a clubnight
The producer’s monthly Bowl Train clubnight at Brooklyn Bowl (taking place tonight, March 9) is devoted to “one of the illest.” Writing on Instagram, Questlove said: “20 years ago today we lost one of the best ever.” He’ll also be spinning music from more of the Bad Boy Records back catalogue.
And the music world is posting tributes online
From UK hip-hop prodigy Loyle Carner to legendary DJ Tim Westwood, Biggie’s biggest fans are paying their respects.