Notorious B.I.G wasn’t really notorious before Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records released its–and his–first album: Ready to Die. That was 20 years ago–autumn of 1994–and it altered the hip-hop landscape. Biggie Smalls, the giant hard-living urban poet who could rap like a streetcorner Shakespeare, was truly Notorious B.I.G. after the release. And Biggie was also sadly just what the album said too: ready or not, Biggie was killed in 1997. But not before he imprinted his name and image on hip-hop the way Babe Ruth stamped his on baseball. Christopher George Latore Wallace and George Herman Ruth are the seminal big men of their respective sports–prototypes in the pantheon.
Biggie’s former wife, R&B singer Faith Evans is planning to release an album of duets with her late husband, called The King and I. The album should drop sometime in 2015. It’ll happen ten years after P Diddy (formerly Puff Daddy) brought out the first Biggie duets compilation, Duets: The Final Chapter, in 2005. Apparently that title wasn’t true.