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Happy Birthday, Notorious B.I.G.!

Adger Cowans, Getty Images

Hip-hop’s respect for what the Notorious B.I.G. accomplished in his short time on Earth will always remain. Today we celebrate Biggie’s 45th birthday (May 21).

There’s barely a paean to write that hasn’t already been written about the gifted MC. He’s one of the greatest and gave the people of Brooklyn, N.Y. something to be proud of. His supporters sometimes forget he was also prodigious. Biggie was only 22 when Ready to Die dropped and became an immediate classic.

Biggie’s flows were always slick and the number of quotables he had lined up were endless. Since his death in 1997, next to no one has touched his greatness.

No one will know where his career was heading. Biggie’s death on March 9, 1997, left an empty seat on the King of New York throne, but he at least symbolically handed it down. Biggie’s co-sign was a big boost for fellow Bed-Stuy native Jay Z’s early career. Their collaborations — “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “Young G’s” and “I Love the Dough” — gave Jay Z a lot of attention.

Love and respect forever to Chris Wallace.

Next: 15 Best Biggie Songs

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