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How Hip-Hop Would Be Different If Biggie Were Still Alive

It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say that everything in rap changed on March 9, 1997. On that day 20 years ago, just after midnight, Christopher Wallace, b.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G.—hip-hop’s biggest artist at the time and arguably the greatest rapper ever—was shot dead in the passenger seat of a green Chevrolet Suburban after leaving a Vibe magazine party in Los Angeles. Paired with Tupac Shakur’s also-unsolved murder six months earlier, Biggie Smalls’ demise set off a whirlwind that rerouted the course of music history. Nas once told Zane Lowe that he thought Biggie’s death marked “the end of rap.”

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