(May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie,[ was an American rapper. Rooted in the New York rap scene and gangsta rap traditions, he is considered one the greatest rappers of all time. The Notorious B.I.G. became known for his distinctive laidback lyrical delivery, offsetting the lyrics' often grim content and his own intimidating appearance. His music was often semi-autobiographical, telling of hardship and criminality, but also of debauchery and celebration.