Top Picks: The Notorious B.I.G.

It was all a dream for this larger-than-life lyricist.

He's known by many names: Big Poppa, Biggie Smalls, Frank White and Big. With his laid-back lyrical delivery, Brooklyn swagger and iconic Coogi sweater, Christopher Wallace, known better as the Notorious B.I.G., undeniably remains one of the greatest rappers of all time. Although his rap career lasted for five years, the Biggie's legacy is timeless thanks to his semi-autobiographical lyrics that told of criminality, hardship, debauchery and celebration. In the 25 years since his unsolved 1997 murder, Biggie has sold over 28 million albums.

On what would have been his 50th birthday on May 21, here are some of the top picks of Biggie's musical career. And if you don't know, now you know.

In 1994, the Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album Ready to Die was released to widespread acclaim. Although it was the only album released during his lifetime, it became a hip-hop classic due to its partly-autobiographical nature, telling of the rapper's experiences as a young criminal in Brooklyn. The album had three major singles: Juicy, Big Poppa, and One More Chance.

Freelance writer Holly Lang delves into Biggie's legacy with the biography The Notorious B.I.G., which tells of the rapper's difficult childhood in Brooklyn, fatherhood, fame, involvement in the East-West Coast feud with Tupac and ending with his murder on March 9, 1997. 

When Biggie was murdered in 1997, hip-hop fans were devastated. However, his final album Life After Death was released sixteen days later to commercial and critical success, serving as a sequel to his debut. The deceased rapper's legacy is evident thanks to the chart-topping singles Mo Money, Mo Problems and Hypnotize, in addition to the top ten single Sky's The Limit.

In 2009, the Biggie-based biopic Notorious was released. The film, which stars Jamal Woolard and Angela Bassett, chronicles the hip-hop icon's journey from a struggling drug dealer in Brooklyn to one of the most revered voices in rap.

What is your favorite Biggie song or album?

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