Today, March 9, marks the 20th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.'s death. Regarded as one of the best MCs to ever do it, B.I.G.'s career in hip-hop culture was short-lived, but his legacy and music continues to thrive till this day. With many MCs paying tribute to the late Frank White today, XXL caught up with the legendary rapper Raekwon to discuss what Biggie meant for hip-hop culture and how his legacy is remembered today.

"What B.I.G. meant to hip-hop is that he was one of the dudes that came from nothing and turned into something," says The Chef. "His talent exceeded everything. He knew how to rhyme. He knew how to freestyle. He knew how to make songs. He was clever. Had a lot of metaphorical shit. More importantly, he was representing New York to the fullest."

While it's been reported in the past that the relationship between B.I.G. and members of the Wu-Tang Clan was a bit rocky in the 1990s, Raekwon reveals that the tension between the Wu and Biggie Smalls wasn't what people made it out to be. "Through our little trials and tribulations, it didn't really be what everybody thought it was," Rae shares. "It was just friendly competition. Just like I always say, Wendy's vs. McDonald's or whatever the case may be, but he's an icon. A true icon."

Raekwon also confirms that Biggie was the official leader of the New York movement at the time of his passing. "You know, at that time he was the king of New York," The Wild creator states. "Nobody can take that from him."

Much of The Notorious B.I.G.'s success in his career stems from the support from Diddy, who signed Biggie to Bad Boy Records. Considering the quality of music B.I.G. created during his life, with albums like Ready to Die and Life After Death, Raekwon believes his legacy will live on forever. "Him and Puff they got together and made a wall of classic music. His music is always going to be here. He's our late Marvin Gaye."

Check out more on The Notorious B.I.G.’s life and legacy at XXL‘s special 20th anniversary tribute hub below.

See Photos of The Notorious B.I.G. Over the Years

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