[Ed. Note: This was originally published on February 6, 2012. In honor of Biggie's birthday today, we pondered what the Brooklyn legend would look like at 40?]

The Notorius B.I.G. would have turned 40 years old on May 21, 2012, and in  XXL’s March issue—honoring the deceased rap legend on the anniversary of the 15 years since he passed on March 9, 1997—XXL again enlisted famed artist, Tim O’Brien, to envision what Big would have looked like if he was still alive, as he did with Tupac Shakur.

The image is just one of the many interesting items included in XXL's special Biggie tribute issue. The XXL team spoke to some of those closest to Big for an in-depth look into his life and death. From his kids T’Yanna and Christopher “CJ” Wallace and their mother's, Jan Jackson and Faith Evans, to his closest friends like members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and others, many got their chance to share stories and more to pay homage to the beloved MC. Most even disclosed rare, never-before-published photos of Biggie from their personal collections, which are featured in this month’s issue. Since Big was one of the most swagger-jacked rappers of all time, there’s a list of the 100 best Biggie bites and much more.

Even though the issue is a Big tribute there’s much more in the mag to look forward to. It’s been 15 years since 1997, arguably the best year in hip-hop music, and XXL explores that very notion with a detailed essay. There’s also a look back at 2011’s rap music with a recap of the five best albums, mixtapes, verses, producers and singles of the year.

Check out XXLMag.com for an entire month’s-worth of Biggie-related stories that celebrate his life and death, extras from the issue, including outtakes, as well as everyday hip-hop news and much more, starting today. And be sure cop the special tribute issue when it hits stands tomorrow.—XXL Staff