EMA winners in retrospect: Best Rap

October 5, 2016
Before becoming a big movie star, Will Smith checked world famous rapper off of his list and even won the Best Rap award at the 1997 EMAs. In 1997, Smith released his solo album, Big Willie Style, and it was insanely successful. That album is packed full of party-starting hits like "Men in Black," "Gettin' Jiggy wit It," "Just the Two of Us" and "Miami." You know an album's good when it can get people dancing 20 years after its release.

However, Will Smith wasn't the only 1997 Best Rap nominee to make music that stood the test of time. That year Puff Daddy transitioned from producer to rapper and made his debut with the album, No Way Out. Legendary hits like, "I'll Be Missing You" and "It's All About the Benjamins"are featured on the album and on any good rap playlist to this day!

Another stellar Best Rap nominee that year was Puff Daddy's good friend, The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls. The 24-year-old, Biggie, sadly passed away just a few months before the 1997 EMAs but he's lived on through his music. Biggie's second album, Life After Death, was released that year and was loved by critics and fans alike. The album featured huge hits like "Mo Money Mo Problems", "Hypnotize", and "Sky's The Limit". While Will Smith put out hit after hit that year, Biggie was a bigger inspiration to hip hop in the long run and, in retrospect, was just as deserving of the Best Rap award.