The biggest hip hop stars have weighed in on the terrible tragedy that was the death of The Notorious B.I.G. 20 years ago. The sadness felt in the rap community is testament to Biggie's timeless talent, and the sheer size of his impact on lyricists around the world.

DiddySean 'Diddy' Combs remembers his old pal Biggie

In 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie aka Biggie Smalls was killed in a drive-by shooting in LA at the age of just 24, just weeks before the release of his seminal second album 'Life After Death'. Now, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, his friends and fans have opened up about the saddening loss. 

Sean Combs (aka Diddy) has been particularly vocal about the anniversary, posting a number of tributes on Instagram and Twitter and event sharing his very first memory of the rap legend. 'The first time I met B.I.G., I brought him to this soul food restaurant called Sylvia's uptown in Harlem. This first thing I remember was how big and black he was', he recalled in an Instagram video. '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.'

He went on to say that Biggie refused to get anything to eat because he had more important things on his mind. 'That's how important our meeting was to him. BIG didn't want to eat, he just wanted for it to happen and it did', Sean captioned his follow-up video.

A lot of people don't know about the first time I met B.I.G.!! Watch this! #WeMissYouBIG

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Plus, he also decided to celebrate BIG's legacy by asking fans to send in a clip of themselves rapping their favourite Biggie verse. 'I'mma chop it up, edit it and everything and we're gonna put out something special with all the fans and friends and family involved', he said.

Biggie's widow Faith Evans also opened up on the sad day in an interview on The Breakfast Club radio show. 'To be honest, it doesn't mean anything different 20 years later than it did five years ago, seven years ago... I wouldn't say it feels different though', she said. 'I still feel like there's a huge part of my life that's gone. But the great thing about the person Big was is that 20 years later me, Cease, Nino, we all still laugh at the very same stuff. It's still just as funny and I don't know, it was just something about Big that everybody who got a chance to know him still feels the same way. It's always gonna always feel like he's still here.'

Musings about B.I.G #wemissyoubig

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Alicia Keys also contemplated how much the rapper meant to her. 'I was just thinking about how much Biggie inspired me as a lyricist', she said in a video. 'I'll never forget the first time that I heard him spit.'

More: Johnny Depp is set to star in Biggie film 'LAbyrinth'

'#BIGGIE u were AHEAD of your time LYRICALLY DELIVERY PUNCHLINES & with your songs u painted a picture for us listeners', said Missy Elliott on Twitter alongiside a gif image of a sketch of the rapper. Meanwhile, Nas described Biggie as 'the illest', and Questlove dedicated his monthly Bowl Train DJ set at the Brooklyn Bowl to the music of B.I.G..