I get what you are saying. But the same can be said about Big or Pac. Would they be relevant today? Likely, but who really knows?
Having said that, if Pac and Big never died would Jay Z would still be relevant?
I honestly dont think so. I love Jay but back in 96, Jay was no where near Pac or Bigs level. He took over the game cause there wasnt a lot of people who could fill that top spot.
You're right; it's all speculation. But if I had to guess, I think Big L would still be a legend today but he wouldn't be talked about as much.
It's definitely not an insult either, just the way of the game. There's are TONS of slept-on legends who aren't talked about nowadays.
For example: AZ -- one of the greatest emcees of all time, but G-d forbid if he died back in '96, his legacy would be amplified and the same cats in this thread talking about L would be saying how AZ would be a superstar in 2013 and whatnot.
Respect due though. RIP Big L.