Happy Birthday The Notorious B.I.G.
Case Closed – The Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac
Happy Birthday The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time.
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York’s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow,” dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities, sometimes changing his pitch on songs. Two more albums have been released since his death. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States.
Life and career – 1972–94: Early life, arrests, career beginnings and first child
Wallace was born in St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, New York, on May 21, 1972, as the only child of Voletta Wallace, a Jamaican preschool teacher, and Selwyn George Latore, a Jamaican welder and politician. His father left the family when Wallace was two years old, and his mother worked two jobs while raising him. Wallace grew up in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn on 226 St. James Place near the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, considered at the time to be within the latter neighborhood’s boundaries.
At Queen of All Saints Middle School, Wallace excelled in class, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed “Big” because of his overweight size by age 10. He said he started dealing drugs when he was around the age of 12. His mother, often away at work, did not know of her son’s drug dealing until Wallace was an adult.
Wallace attended the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School before transferring out at his own request
At his request, Wallace transferred out of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School to attend George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, which future rappers DMX, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes also attended at the time. According to his mother, Wallace was still a good student, but he developed a “smart-ass” attitude at the new school. At age seventeen, Wallace dropped out of school and became further involved in crime. In 1989, he was arrested on weapons charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to five years’ probation. In 1990, he was arrested on a violation of his probation. A year later, Wallace was arrested in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine. He spent nine months in jail before making bail.
Wallace began rapping when he was a teenager. He entertained people on the streets and performed with local groups the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques. After being released from jail, Wallace made a demo tape under the name Biggie Smalls, a reference to a character in the 1975 film Let’s Do It Again as well as his stature; he stood at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and weighed 300 to 380 lb (140–170 kg) according to differing accounts. The tape was reportedly made with no serious intent of getting a recording deal. However, it was promoted by New York-based DJ Mister Cee, who had previously worked with Big Daddy Kane, and it was heard by the editor of The Source.
In March 1992, Wallace was featured in The Source’s Unsigned Hype column, dedicated to aspiring rappers, and made a recording off the back of this success. The demo tape was heard by Uptown Records A&R and record producer Sean Combs, who arranged for a meeting with Wallace. He was signed to Uptown immediately and made an appearance on label mates, Heavy D & the Boyz’ “A Buncha Niggas” (from the album Blue Funk). Soon after signing his recording contract, Combs was fired from Uptown and started a new label. Wallace followed and in mid-1992, signed to Combs’ new imprint label, Bad Boy Records.
On August 8, 1993, Wallace’s longtime girlfriend gave birth to his first child, T’yanna. Wallace had split with the girlfriend for some time before T’yanna’s birth. Wallace wanted his daughter to complete her education, despite being a high school dropout himself. Wallace said that if his mother had promised him what he promised his daughter, everything she wanted, Wallace would have been not only a graduate but also at the top of his class. He continued selling drugs after the birth to support his daughter financially. Once Combs discovered this, he forced Wallace to quit.
Juicy – The Notorious BIG [Lyrics]
Later in the year, Wallace gained exposure on a remix to Mary J. Blige’s single “Real Love,” under the pseudonym The Notorious B.I.G. He recorded under this name for the remainder of his career, after finding the original moniker “Biggie Smalls” was already in use. “Real Love” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was followed by a remix of Blige’s “What’s the 411?.” He continued this success, to a lesser extent, on remixes with Neneh Cherry (“Buddy X”) and reggae artist Super Cat (“Dolly My Baby,” also featuring Combs) in 1993. In April 1993, his solo track, “Party and Bullshit”, appeared on the Who’s the Man? soundtrack. In July 1994, he appeared alongside LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes on a remix to label mate Craig Mack’s “Flava in Ya Ear,” reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.