Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G.
One of the most colorful rap personalities of the 90's, the Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, revitalized the East Coast rap scene, and brought to light the realities of inner city violence. The victim of a tragic murder, Biggie was both a talented musician and a cultural icon.

Born Christopher Wallace in 1972, Biggie grew up in Brooklyn, and began cultivating an interest in rap at a young age. After dropping out of high school at 17, Biggie began dealing drugs regularly. At the end of a 9 month jail sentence on drug charges, Biggie recorded a demo tape that caught the eye of Sean "Puffy" Combs, rapper and producer at Uptown Records. After clinching a record deal, Biggie was featured on a few Mary J. Blige tracks, and released his debut album, Ready to Die. After multiple songs reached the top of the charts, Biggie was declared a rap sensation on the East Coast.

Yet it was not only his music that made Biggie so famous. A violent rivalry between Biggie's East Coast label, Bad Boy, and it's West Coast counterpart, Death Row, was the subject of gossip, news, and of course, rap. In 1996, West Coast rival Tupac Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting, and rumors began to fly as to Biggie's involvement. Only six months later, the Notorious B.I.G. himself was shot after leaving a party, dying soon after. Fans across America were shocked at the level of violence that took place, and feared that this was only the beginning. As for Biggie Smalls, he will always be remembered as the rapper who brought the East Coast rap scene back to life, and brought his unromanticized stories of life on the streets to audiences across America.

  • Christopher Wallace's many aliases came predominately from movies. Biggie Smalls was the name of a styligh gangster in Let's Do it Again, a 1975 comedy. This name was also chosen as a reference to his ample frame; he was over 6 feet tall and more than 400 pounds.

  • Biggie Small's murder has never been conclusively solved, although there are abundant theories to explain the motive behind the shooting. Suge Knight, the CEO of rival record label Death Row, is one prime suspect. Other theories have implicated vengeful supporters of Tupac Shakur, the LAPD, and the Bloods gang.

  • In 1997, Puff Daddy, Biggie's friend and mentor, released his own debut album. The song that brought this album to the top of the charts was a heartfelt tribute to Biggie, featuring, along with Puff Daddy, Biggie's widow, Faith Evans.

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