Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., helped define hip hop in the 1990s. Social media users paid homage to the American rapper on his birthday Thursday. Creative Commons

Twitter users paid homage to the late American rapper Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, on Thursday with wishes of “Happy Birthday Biggie” on what would have been the MC's 43rd birthday. The East Coast rapper, whose undeniable magnetism and electric lyrics helped define hip-hop in the 1990s, died in a shooting in 1997, an event that sent shockwaves through the music industry.

Biggie was born Christopher George Latore Wallace on May 21, 1972, and grew up in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Wallace became a drug dealer at a young age and began rapping as a teenager. He soon became friends with Harlem-born Sean “Puffy” Combs and was later signed to Combs' record labels.

Biggie’s debut album, “Ready to Die,” was released in September 1994 and instantly launched the young rapper into the national spotlight. The album received widespread critical acclaim and centered on his life growing up in Brooklyn, including his experiences with violence, drugs and women.

Biggie was murdered March 9, 1997, in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, six months after rival rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas. He had just left a music industry party when he was targeted. His death remains a mystery.

Here are 15 quotes, lyrics and songs to commemorate the Notorious B.I.G.

1. “Now I’m in the limelight ’cause I rhyme tight.”

2. "I never wish death on nobody, cause there ain’t coming back from that."

3. “And everything you get, ya gotta work hard for it.”

4. “We can't change the world. Unless we change ourselves.”

5. “I’m living everyday like a hustle. Another drug to juggle, another day another struggle.”

6. “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine. Salt 'n' Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine. Hangin' pictures on my wall. Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl, I let my tape rock 'til my tape popped.”

7. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

8. “Excellence is my presence. Never tense, never hesitant.”

9. “Damn right I like the life I live, 'cause I went from negative to positive.”

10. “Stay far from timid and only make moves when your heart’s in it. And live the phrase sky's the limit.”

11. "While we out here, say the hustlas prayer. If the game shakes me or breaks me, I hope it makes me a better man."