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25 years after his death, Biggie Smalls is still one of the most celebrated names in hip-hop


Larry Busacca/WireImage

Biggie Smalls, aka the Notorious B.I.G, aka Christopher Wallace, was shot to death at a traffic light in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 — 25 years ago today.

The murder is said to have been a culmination of rap beef between the East and West Coasts. There’s still much speculation about who killed the rap giant, including allegations against Death Row founder Suge Knight.

As reported by ABC News and according to 359 pages of court documents, Wallace was murdered as he left the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after attending a post music awards ceremony. Wallace was in the middle of a three-car caravan when a dark Chevy SS Impala pulled next to him and fired several times into the passenger area where Wallace was sitting. He died minutes later at a local hospital.

The Brooklyn-born artist, who is arguably considered the greatest rapper of all time, rose to fame in the early ‘90s for his distinctive, relaxed delivery that accompanied his grimey, gangsta rap lyrics. He wrote and rhymed songs that mirrored his life growing up, portraying the hardships he endured as an overweight, only child, born to Jamaican immigrant parents and raised only by his mother, Voletta Wallace.

Over the course of Biggie’s short-lived but legendary rap career, he amassed a significant amount of accolades including five Source Awards, three Billboard Awards and four Grammy nominations.

Biggie’s 1994 debut album Ready to Die sold millions, his subsequent and final studio album Life After Death was released a few weeks after his murder and went on to peak at number one on three Billboard charts as well as chart in over eight countries.

Biggie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 and will forever be regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop musicians of all time.

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