It’s hard to fathom that The Notorious B.I.G. was killed 18 years ago, on March 9, 1997. Although many years have passed, the memories of that Sunday morning that swept the news, is just as fresh in our minds as if it happened yesterday. With only two albums, Ready To Die and Life After Death—and a host of verse-stealing cameos— his influence is indelible, and spans generations.
On the anniversary of his death, The Urban Daily team recalls the exact moment we found out that The Notorious B.I.G. was killed.
“I knew it was coming. After Tupac Shakur died in September , and even though I was only 14, I knew the violence wouldn’t be over until Biggie was killed. I used to listen to Hot 97 religiously, like most New York kids, and I remember his last interview, when he said that he would be heading to California that weekend, and that he had no ill will for the West Coast. On March 9, I tuned into Hot 97, and all I heard were tears on that Sunday morning. And I knew he was gone. Angie Martinez was a wreck, Busta Rhymes, one of the most prolific hip-hop figures, was just as hurt and speechless as the listeners. I remember a sense of wanting to do something, to tribute the rapper who introduced me to hip-hop by completing taking a feature, turning it on its head and then owning “Flava In Ya Ear.” I tried to convince my parents to let me go to Brooklyn for his memorial, but I wasn’t allowed, so I watched from home on the news. His life and his death had a way of touching even the youngest, most unlikely hip hop fans, and made them lifelong fans who will always remember his legacy. Thanks, B.I.G.”- Jada Gomez, Managing Editor (@JadaGomez)
“It was a Sunday morning. One of my boys called my house and told me to turn on Power 99. I just laid there in complete shock and disbelief. As a really young, impressionable kid, my dislike for Tupac and Suge Knight heightened and I became scared/nervous for where hip-hop was heading. I eventually shed a few tears and prayed for Biggie’s family.”- Steve “Skoob” Rivers, Franchise Editor (@TheKidSkoob)
“I’m pretty sure I was in eleventh grade that year and had spent most of the day in church. Aside from the somber MTV announcement by Kurt Loder and the local radio station giving the news, this hit hard because I was living in Long Beach, Calif. at the time. B.I.G. was shot near Wilshire and Fairfax, which was about half an hour north of me. With all the media-fueled East/West stuff, it felt like we let Biggie die on our watch out here.”- Omar Burgess, Weekend Editor (@omarburgess)
“I was just shy of two years old when Biggie died, so I really knew nothing about him or his music until about a decade after his passing. In addition, I’m from the U.K., making my association to Big Poppa that much smaller. With that said, it’s impossible for me to comment on what, where or even who I was when Biggie passed. Nevertheless, I can recall the first time I heard him, that was special… The summer of ’07. Damn, that makes me feel super, super young. “Mo Money Mo Problems” came on the radio and I remember cranking up the volume in the my Mom’s car. It was really one of my first memories of a hip-hop track. It couldn’t have been been a better introduction, right? Cutting a long story short, I’ve been hooked ever since, all thanks to The Notorious B.I.G. As a tribute to the Black Frank White, I definitely recommend taking a listen to this incredibly spine-tingling and hilarious interview with B.I.G., Puff Daddy and Craig Mack, hosted by arguably the U.K.’s biggest staple in hip-hop, Tim Westwood. Rest easy, Biggie.” – Henry Mansell, Contributing Writer (@HenryMansell)
“I was actually at church and as it let out, one of my friends said “Man, I just heard Biggie died!” I definitely didn’t believe it at the time, and I was kind of in a state of shock. As I walked up the street to get home, I shed a couple tears. First thing I thought of was when I’d seen Biggie and The Lost Boyz in concert at the Metro Centre in Rockford, Ill. First hip-hop concert I ever saw.” – Cameron Pruitt, Contributing Writer (@ImCamQuotes)
“I was four when Biggie died, so I didn’t completely understand who he was and what he meant until I was in middle school. I was already into hip-hop by this time, but the moment I put two and two together and took stock of how incredible a storyteller he was, I remember beginning to take hip-hop history more seriously from this point. Ready To Die became a part of my crash course in the genre’s history, and is a record that I still revisit to this day.”- Dylan Green, Contributing Writer (@DylanGreen0318)
“It was college spring break and I spent the week in Miami, along with several friends. We had just gotten up to have breakfast. There were televisions in the hotel restaurant. The sound was muted and we weren’t really paying attention— until the script at the bottom of the screen indicated Biggie had died. The joking and laughter that had taken place just minutes before stopped immediately. We all felt an instant sense of pain.”- Brandi Williams, PR Strategist, (@beawilliamspr)
“I was a freshman at Fayetteville State University and that Saturday night we had a party in our gym. I was young and had too much to drink. The next morning, the dude in the dorm room beside mine opened his door and screamed out, “BIGGIE IS DEAD! BIGGIE IS DEAD! ITS ON MTV! ITS TRUE!” At first, I paid it no mind, since I was hungover. Then I heard him legit crying outside in the hallway so I turned on MTV and it was true. So I looked out and he was sitting on the floor and I just sat with him and we just kept saying, “This doesn’t make sense” and, “Why Biggie Smalls, man?” Other dudes eventually joined us and we started talking about how Biggie and Pac both died too young and of course….who was better! For the record, I have always been Team Biggie.”- John Cannady, Contributing Writer (@John_Cannady)
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