The slain rapper is credited with single-handedly catapulting hip-hop to the forefront of popular music with his ironically titled album Life After Death and wildly successful single, "Hypnotize," which SPIN crowned 1997 Single of the Year. "He was like Marvin Gaye, or Kurt Cobain," says Spin Senior Editor Charles Aaron. "[He was] one of those artists whose music was suffused with depression and death, but still vibrated in the key of life."
Spin named Radiohead 1997's Band of the Year
and Cornershop's When I Was Born For the 7th
Time Album of the Year. (Brandon Barber)