Remembering Notorious B.I.G.: 5 Iconic Biggie Moments (Video)

Notorious B.I.G
Courtesy Everett Collection

A follow up to 1994's Ready to Die, the Notorious B.I.G. released the two disc Life After Death a mere 15 days after he was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997. The album hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts and was one of the few hip hop albums to be certified Diamond in the year 2000. Longtime friend Sean "P.Diddy" Combs executive produced 1999's Born Again, which featured previously unheard material from Biggie himself, expertly arranged around guest spots from Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot and more.

The rapper went from selling drugs to selling albums and from prison to the spotlight. THR looks back on the rapper's career, which was tragically cut short 15 years ago.

Born as Christopher Wallace, the rapper is known by many names: Biggie Smalls, Big Poppa, The King of New York, The Notorious B.I.G and more.

The MC left his mark on hip-hop with several hits from his two records, leaving behind countless fans with his untimely and sudden death in 1997.  Biggie’s short-lived career ended in tragedy, but his music lives on.

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The iconic rapper's life was cut short at just 24-years-old by a still unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

Below are five of Biggie’s most iconic moments.

1. Working with Mary J. Blige

He was first heard on a remix of the Mary J. Blige song “Who’s the Man?” (1991). He appeared again in her song “Real Love” the next year and helped the album titled “What’s the 411?” sell more than three million copies in America alone.

2. Signed by “Bad Boy Records”

Sean “Puffy” Combs was impressed when he heard some of Biggie’s early tapes, so he signed the young MC to his new Bad Boy Records label in 1992. Biggie worked with Puffy on his first album and Notorious B.I.G. originated from their collaboration.

3. “Ready to Die”

After his very successful debut album, Ready to Die (1994) was released he became a central figure for the East Coast hip-hop scene. The album, which reached quadruple platinum sales, shares his experiences as a young criminal, referring to himself as “the black Frank White.”  The album’s single “Big Poppa” was nominated for a Grammy. Several music critics refer to Ready to Die as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

4. “MC Of The Year”

In 1995, The Notorious B.I.G. won for Rap Artist of the Year and won Rap Single of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards. He thanked “all my people in Brooklyn,” Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records in his speech.

5. Friends and Feud with Tupac

It started out as a friendship with west coast rapper Tupac Shakur. But it became a complicated East Coast/West Coast feud between the two after Tupac was robbed and shot, insisting Biggie knew and didn’t warn him. Later in Las Vegas Tupac was gunned down on Sept. 7, 1996 and died on Sept. 13. Hip-Hop faced its greatest tragedy when both Pac and B.I.G. were killed.