Notorious B.I.G.: Fifteen years ago today, we lost a legend, one of the greatest rappers of all time

Today marks fifteen years since the Notorious B.I.G. was tragically gunned down in a murder that remains shrouded in opinion, mystery and haunting culture appeal. You probably remember exactly where you were on this day in 1997 when you heard the news that one of the game's greatest rappers had died. At that precise moment, the world of rap no doubt became truly real.

When the news hit that Christopher Wallace, the man we knew and loved as the Notorious BIG, was no more, it felt like -- especially to those living on the East Coast -- that we had lost a legend. Life After Death was released fifteen days after Big's death, as tracks from Ready to Die were still dominating the airwaves. At the time of his death, Biggie was nominated for several Grammys and his star was shining as bright as ever.

Puffy, his friend and mentor, was also on the rise as one of the hottest producers/label heads in the game, and Bad Boy Records was on a pretty solid run. Biggie's death changed all of that. His storytelling, his humor, his eloquent dialect, all of it, gone in the blink of an eye. Tupac was killed first, a shocking and surprising death that turned the so called East Coast/West Coast rivalry into something so much more. With both MCs gone, it felt as though we all lost.

An incredible writer, a smooth orator and larger than life presence, Big is sorely missed, and today we celebrate the life and rhymes of Christopher Wallace, whose influence can still be heard on every mafioso-tinged rap track, every blatantly paranoid rap line and each humorous and defined verse. We'll always love Big Poppa, one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.