March 9 is a day the hip hop world stops and remembers the life and legacy of Christopher Wallace, known to the world as The Notorious B.I.G. For years, Ernie Paniccioli helped document the growth of hip hop as it rose from a new genre in music, to the world’s biggest phenomenon. His photos through the years showcase legends such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy, DMX, Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, Nas, Jay-Z, 2Pac, and the list goes on.

The Mask of Doom

I first heard the rapper Daniel Dumile (pronounced doom-ee-lay) when I was fourteen and hip-hop was just beginning to bloom. The music was not so much “CNN for black people,” as Chuck D would later dub it, as a lingua franca. I came up awkward in West Baltimore—a tall black boy with no jumper, no gear, and no game. But my mastery of the arcane verses of X-Clan, my sense that the decoupling of EPMD was an irreparable tragedy, and my abiding hatred of Vanilla Ice ushered me into the scowling ranks of my generation.