Biggie Smalls Is Still B.I.G. 20 Years After His Death In this Dec. 6 1995 file photo The Notorious B.I.G. who won rap artist and rap single of the year clutches his awards at the podium during the annual Billboard Music Awards in New York. A top rapper was shot to death on the eve of the release of his long-awaited sophomore album the eerily titled Life After Death. Biggie was just 24 when he died.