By Leah Greenblatt
Updated March 09, 2010 at 05:40 PM EST

It seems hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since Christopher “Biggie” Wallace was killed, shot four times in the chest on an L.A. roadway. And that, for all the impact he had on hip-hop and pop culture at large, he went out two months shy of his 25th birthday.

After years of conspiracy theories and books and documentaries, the mystery of who did it is still, famously, unsolved; looks at the status of the case today in honor of the anniversary date. (The gist: LAPD = shady. Otherwise, not a ton of progress.)

I remember where I was when I heard the news that he was dead—sophomore year of college, on the car stereo at a gas station in California; at first I thought it was just a really tacky radio prank, playing off the death of Tupac Shakur six months before.

But more than that, I remember the first time I heard Ready to Die, the debut album that made him a superstar three years earlier (and the lines shouted out at at for months after: “Birthdays was the worst days. Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay”). So while we honor the Biggie who died today, let’s also celebrate the one who lived it larger than life for 24 years:

Tell us your own best Biggie memories in the comments section below.

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