How The Notorious B.I.G. Influences Today’s Coolest Musicians

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

“He taught me that art is telling your story”

You can't talk about modern-day music without the Notorious B.I.G. He went places many didn't dare go during his short but profound career, elevating the art form that is hip-hop and rap to a whole new level. He was big, bold, and clever. His two full-length albums, 1994's Ready to Die and 1997's Life After Death, are bona fide canonical. Biggie was and is one of the kings of rap.

On March 9, 1997, Biggie (Christopher Wallace/Biggie Smalls/B.I.G./The Notorious B.I.G.) died at the age of 24. He was murdered in Los Angeles in a crime that is still unsolved. Its mythic status only adds to the legacy he left behind, one we're still reveling in two decades later. They just don't make rappers like they Biggie anymore, and the following musicians will the first to tell you that.

Photo by Kasper Haycock

"Biggie is a huge inspiration for any young rapper coming from New York. His lyricism and simplicity are incomparable. No one to this date has outdone him and in my eyes, no one will. Everything from his charm to his rhymes to his lifestyle was innovative for his time and spoke the message of what was going on at the moment. For me, 'Warning,' 'Gimme the Loot,' 'Suicidal Thoughts,' and many more will always have a place in my heart. The first song I ever smoked to was Biggie and so many other moments of my life have been complemented by his music. I believe everyone in hip-hop owes it to all our innovators. I wasn't even born before Biggie died, but his music still lives on through me, and I will definitely pass it down to my kids. RIP to a rap legend."