"Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one, representin' BK to the fullest..."
From his distinct presence on tracks (“Uhhh!”), mind-blowing lyrical ability, his charismatic style and wit, The Notorious B.I.G., helming from 226 St. James Place in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, was an imminent legend in the making. It’s been almost 13 years since his untimely death (which remains to be unsolved) but, he has yet to be forgotten. In his short career B.I.G. transformed from a street hustler to a world renowned Hip-Hop superstar. Being admired by many big names such as Jay-Z, The Lox, Nas, Kanye West, etc.; The Notorious B.I.G. touched the hearts of many through his incredible wordplay and warm personality. However, there was only one person who knew him and experienced this more than any fan could.
To many he was known as Biggie Smalls (after the fictitious character in 1975’s film Let’s Do it Again), Frank White (fictitious character in 1990’s film King of New York), Notorious, but to mother Voletta Wallace he was Christopher George Latore Wallace. “Christopher was a sweet, loving, friendly little boy… I wasn’t the only one who thought that anything he touched would turn to gold.” Great was just minuscule of a word to describe Ms. Wallace’s son.
B.I.G. made a “big” impression on Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who at the time was an A&R at Uptown Records searching for R&B acts back in 1992. When presented with B.I.G’s demo, Puff ultimately signed him to Bad Boy Records. “I was looking for a sex symbol, somebody that would drive the girls crazy. Matty C (A&R Executive) told me about Biggie, so I said send me a picture. He said, No, no, let me just send you the demo.” During his lifetime B.I.G. only released two albums, 1994’s Ready to Die and 1997’s posthumous double-disc album Life After Death (released fifteen days after his death). With two albums under his belt, B.I.G. officially cemented his place as not only a hip-hop icon and legend but, a savior of East Coast hip-hop. His debut achieved quadruple platinum in sales and the latter achieving diamond with sales over ten million copies, a feat that few artists reach. B.I.G. received several accolades such as receiving four Grammy nominations, two awards from Billboard, four from The Source and one collectively from MTV and Soul Train Awards.
B.I.G. worked with many familiar faces during his lifetime and what many admire about him was his writing style and wit. "His writing style and storytelling is so vivid, so clear, and so sharp that you don't need to play it over and over to understand the story" quoted by author Cheo Hodari Coker. No pen and pad was his technique which currently exists in artists such as his friend Jay-Z and currently Lil’ Wayne. In fact, it was said that his 1994 hit “Unbelievable” (Produced by DJ Premier) was extemporaneously recorded on the spot. Collaborations included his protégé group Junior M.A.F.I.A, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Ma$e, The Lox, and many others including the King of Pop. Michael Jackson enlisted B.I.G. as a collaborator on his 1995 double-disc album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I for the track “This Time Around” where the two artists discuss the pros and cons of being famous.
"Lyrically there'll never be no one above you, and no matter how they judge you we always gonna love you..."(We'll Always Love Big Poppa" The Lox). B.I.G.’s death was a dreary and somber day for hip-hop fans worldwide creating a void in the genre that will never be filled, much like his counterpart Tupac Shakur, who suffered the same tragedy. In such a short career, he was able to accomplish goals and reach achievements that artists we claim as legends have yet to achieve. In 2009, Fox Searchlight Pictures released Notorious, a biopic about the rapper’s life and legacy. Since his death, his music has remained relevant as well as incorporated by many other artists in hip-hop and R&B. Whether at a party, listening to the radio, or walking down the street his music continues to blast out the speakers by longtime and new fans. As we celebrate his life and legacy, Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace will never be forgotten.
"And before I end it, I gotta say thanks, 'Cause not only was your time well-spent, it was splendid (thanks)...Miss you...One Love"