The Greatest Rapper of All-Time Died on March 9

It's hard to believe it's been 13 years since The Notorious B.I.G. died, but that's exactly what happened on March 9, 1997. Here we are in 2010, and Biggie's music is no less popular than it was back then, even though there's nearly an entire generation of kids who grew up not really ever knowing who he was (pretty much anyone 20 and under wasn't listening to Biggie when he was alive).

I remember the first time I heard the "Ready to Die" album and how blown away by it I was. It wasn't like anything I'd heard before, and arguably nothing since has matched it. I still get hype whenever I hear the opening strands of "Juicy" or "Big Poppa".

"Life After Death" came out just two weeks after Biggie died, and I'm pretty sure I bought it that day. That double-album was pretty much the soundtrack to my summer, particularly at Journalism Camp (yes, there is such a thing) at the University of Maryland. If it's possible to wear out a CD, that's exactly what we did -- and we actually did wear out a couple mix tapes that had plenty of Biggie material on them.

Biggie didn't leave us with a huge catalog of posthumous material like 2Pac, but in some ways I prefer that. It makes the music he made before he died stand out that much more, and really, no unreleased music was ever going to live up to his first two albums. I'd rather listen to "Ready to Die" a thousand times before listening to "Born Again" even once (not that "Born Again" is bad, it's just not up to the standards of "Ready to Die" or "Life After Death.").