I’ll be missing you. Sean “Diddy” Combs paid tribute to his late friend and protégé Christopher Wallace, known as the Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, on the 20th anniversary of his tragic death. The “Juicy” rapper died in an L.A. drive-by shooting on March 9, 1997, at age 24, and his murder is still unsolved.
Two decades later, Combs, 47, is remembering the late hip-hop star by creating an entire social media campaign around him. “Today is March 9. Twenty years ago today we lost the greatest rapper of all time, the Notorious B.I.G. Today, we’re celebrating his life through his music and through his legacy today,” he said in a recorded Instagram clip. Diddy called on fans and fellow musicians to rap their favorite Biggie verse and share it using the hashtag #WeMissYouBIG. He promised to edit them all into “something special.”
The Harlem, New York, native also posted a recorded video in which he opened up about the first time he met with the “Big Poppa” rapper, who later signed to his imprint Bad Boy Records in 1992. “The first time I met B.I.G., I brought him to this soul food restaurant called Sylvia’s up in Harlem, and the first thing that I remember was how, like, big and black he was,” he recalled. “Then I remember him sitting down, and he really didn’t have anything to say. So you have this big guy that has this in-your-face rap attitude but was quiet. And then here’s the mind-blowing thing that you wouldn’t have thought. We’re at Sylvia’s, and it’s the best soul food in the world … I asked him if he wanted to eat, and he’s like, ‘Nah.’ He didn’t want to eat. I realized that’s how big this moment was for him and this was really his dream. He couldn’t even eat. … It was all a dream, true story.”
In another Instagram video, the Grammy winner spoke off the cuff and got emotional about all the time that’s passed since the Notorious B.I.G. died. “This year is more of a sobering year. It’s 20 years. For us, we lived 20 years of our lives without somebody that has been a big part of our lives that has basically been responsible for the legend of our careers,” he said. “He’s fed a lot of families, made a lot of people dance, made a lot of people feel good. On this day we’re going to reflect on him because we miss him, and 20 years later, time heals all wounds, but this one ain’t healed yet.”
After Biggie’s death, Diddy recorded the tribute song “I’ll Be Missing You” with R&B group 112 and the rapper’s widow, Faith Evans. The “Bad Boy for Life” performer also produced the 2009 biopic Notorious about Wallace’s life.
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