Christopher Wallace was born on May 21st, 1972, he was one of the best rappers to ever live until he met his untimely demise on March 9th, 1997. He was better known to the world as The Notorious B.I.G and often referred to as Biggie Smalls.
Born in St. Mary's Hospital, although claiming to be raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the apartment he grew up in is located in neighboring Clinton Hill. Wallace was the only child to Voletta Wallace, a Jamaican pre-school teacher, and George Latore, a welder and small-time Jamaican politician. His father left the family when young Chris was two years old, leaving his mother to work two jobs while raising him. At the Queen of All Saints Middle School, Wallace excelled in class, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed "Big" because of his size before he turned 10-years-old. At the age of 12, he began selling drugs. His mother, often away at work, did not know about the drug-selling until Wallace was an adult.Wallace transferred out of the private Roman Catholic school that he attended, at his request, to attend the state-funded George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, where Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and DMX were also students. According to his mother, he was still a good student, but developed a "smart-ass" attitude. At seventeen, Biggie dropped out of high 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 until he made bail.
When he was a teenager Biggie had begun rapping. He would entertain people on the streets with his rapping as well as perform with local groups, the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques. After being released from prison, Wallace made a demo tape under the name Biggie Smalls, a reference to his childhood nickname and to his stature; he stood at 6'3" and weighed as much as 300lbs. The tape was reportedly made with no serious intent of getting a recording deal, but was promoted by New York-based DJ Mister Cee, who had previously worked with Big Daddy Kane, and was heard by the editor of 'The Source' magazine.
In March of 1992, Wallace featured in 'The Source's' 'Unsigned Hype' column, dedicated to aspiring rappers and was invited to produce a recording with other unsigned artists, in a move that was reportedly uncommon at the time. The demo tape was heard by Uptown Records A&R and record producer (I'm using the term "Producer" very losely) Sean "Puffy" Combs who arranged for a meeting with Wallace. He was signed to Uptown immediately and made an appearance on label mates, Heavy D and the Boyz' "A Buncha Niggas". 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 long-term partner gave birth to his first child, T'yanna. Wallace continued selling drugs after the birth to support his daughter financially. Once this was discovered by Combs, he was made to quit.
Wallace gained exposure later in the year on a remix to Mary J. Blige's single "Real Love", under the pseudonym The Notorious B.I.G.; the name he would record under for the remainder of his career after finding his original moniker was in use. The letters in "B.I.G." apparently do not stand for anything. "Real Love" peaked at #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", 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 #9 on the Hot 100.
Four days later, Wallace had his first pop chart success as a solo artist with double A-side, "Juicy/Unbelievable", which reached #27 as the lead single to his debut album.
Ready to Die was released on September 13, 1994, and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually being certified four times Platinum. The album, released at a time when West Coast Hip-Hop was prominent in the U.S. charts, according to Rolling Stone "almost single-handedly... shifted the focus back to East Coast rap". It gained strong reviews on release and has since received much praise in retrospect. In addition to "Juicy", the record produced two hit singles; the Platinum-selling "Big Poppa", which reached #1 on the U.S. rap chart, and "One More Time" featuring Faith Evans, a loosely related remix of an album track and its best selling single.
By the end of 1995, Biggie was the top-selling male solo artist and rapper on the U.S. pop and R&B charts. In July of that year, he appeared on the cover of The Source with the caption "The King of New York Takes Over". At the Source Awards, he was named Best New Artist (Solo), Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and his debut Album of the Year. At the Billboard Awards he was named Best Artist of the Year.
Wallace started recording his second record album in September of 1995. The album, recorded in New York, Trinidad and Los Angeles, was interrupted during its 18 months of creation by injury, legal wranglings and the highly publicized hip hop dispute in which he was involved.
On March 23, 1996, Wallace was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub for chasing and threatening to kill two autograph seekers, smashing the windows of their taxicab and then pulling one of the fans out and punching them. He pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was sentenced to 100 hours community service. In mid-1996, he was arrested at his home in Teaneck, New Jersey, for drug and weapons possession charges.
Tupac Shakur a former friend but at the time an apponent in the music industry due to a media provoked fued, was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, on September 7, 1996. Shakur would die six days later of complications from the gunshot wounds. Rumors of Wallace's involvement with Shakur's murder were reported almost immediately, and later in a two-part article by Chuck Philips in the Los Angeles Times in September 2002. Wallace denied the allegation claiming he was in a New York recording studio at the time. Following his death, an anti-violence hip hop summit was held.
On October 29, 1996, Faith Evans gave birth to Wallace's first son, Christopher "CJ" Wallace, Jr. The following month Junior M.A.F.I.A. member and childhood friens Lil' Kim released her debut album, 'Hard Core', under Wallace's direction while the two were involved in an apparent love affair. She was also pregnant by Wallace but decided to have an abortion.
Wallace traveled to California in February 1997 to promote his upcoming album and record a music video for its lead single, "Hypnotize". On March 5, 1997 Wallace gave a radio interview with The Dog House on KYLD in San Francisco. In the interview he stated that he had hired security since he feared for his safety, but this was because he was a celebrity figure, not specifically a rapper. Life After Death (His 3rd and Final album that was being recorded at the time) was scheduled for release on March 25, 1997. On March 8, 1997, he presented an award to Toni Braxton at the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles and was booed by some of the audience. After the ceremony, Wallace attended an after party hosted by Vibe Magazine and Qwest Records at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Other guests included Faith Evans, Aaliyah, and Puff.
On March 9, 1997, at around 12:30 a.m., Wallace left with his entourage in two GMC Suburbans to return to his hotel after the Fire Department closed the party early due to overcrowding. Wallace traveled in the front passenger seat alongside his associates, Damion "D-Roc" Butler, Junior M.A.F.I.A member Lil' Cease and driver, Gregory "G-Money" Young. Combs traveled in the other vehicle with three Bodyguards. The two trucks were trailed by a Chevrolet Blazer carrying Bad Boy's director of security.
By 12:45 a.m. the streets were crowded with people leaving the event. Wallace's truck stopped at a red light 50 yards from the museum. A black Chevy Impala pulled up alongside Wallace's truck. The driver of the Impala (an African-American male neatly dressed in a blue suit and bow tie) rolled down his window, drew a 9 mm blue-steel pistol and fired numerous rounds into the GMC Suburban; four bullets hit Wallace in the chest. Wallace was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by his entourage but was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. Till this day the actual suspect responsible of the crime has not been caught.
I swear I could go on for days telling you how much I feel that Hip_Hop would be in a different stae if Christopher Wallace were still breathing. I can remember the early years of his carrer with songs like Juicy, Big Poppa and being featured on Flava in Ya Ear. His lyrical content, story-telling, and over all flow were all amazing to me. I was in the last couple of months of fourth grade when he was killed. I remember thinking that the death made no sense but it was because at the time the whole fued was relevant to me, I only cared about the music I would hear. As I got older I listened to BIG even more and his words started to make more sens in my more developed mind. Till this day "Mo Money Mo Problems" is my all-Time favorite song and his verse on it is one of the major reasons why. He repped Brooklyn till the end, therefore repping New York. I just told Buddah last night that im pretty sure that if Biggie was still around many new rappers would still be working at McDonald's. lol Needless to say I'm a huge Biggie Fan and always will be. He will always be missed but wilkl longer be remembered through those who he left behind. R.I.P Big, We miss you, and you know We'll always Love Big Poppa.