Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as the rapper the Notorious B.I.G, was born on May 21, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised by a single parent, his mother Voletta Wallace, in Brooklyn??™s Bedford Stuyvesant. As he was growing up, he was distraught between two directions he could potentially take to steer his life the way he wanted. On one hand, he dreamed of being a graphic artist and was an honour student to fulfill those dreams. On the other hand, there was a lot of peer pressure from the neighbourhood he lived in, for young men from that area were known for being junior outlaws. As he grew up in this area of BedStuy, he became known as ???Big Chris??? and he found himself holding down the corner of his neighbourhoods block. However, he wasn??™t just known on the block for having a prolific dice game, he was also known for his rhyming abilities.
He recorded a mix tape in 1989 with a DJ called Mister Cee, who later submitted the tape to The Source Magazine for their ???Unsigned Hype??? competition. This competition was to see which up and coming rappers there were out in the streets, who actually had the talent and skill to become something in the rap industry. Big Chris??™ tape won the challenge and this is where his jumpstart to stardom would begin. After winning, the magazine forwarded his tape to the founder and CEO of Bad Boy Records, Sean ???P.Diddy??? Combs, who at the time, was looking for a new hardcore rapper that he could put as the face of the record company. Within weeks of signing Biggie, he was immediately put to work. He was put on re-mixes with R&B legend, Mary J. Blige, and other rappers such as Super Cat and Neneh Cherry. As the years went on Christopher Wallace had merely stirred a buzz with his rapping abilities, with his first album ???Ready to Die??? set to debut in 1994. The anticipation for this album was electric. Ready to Die had attributes that the hip hop world had not come across as of yet. It was a first person autobiographical narrative album that included superior writing styles, relentless delivery of the words and lines, with cinematic style that plain and simply, changed hip hop entirely.
The album was an overwhelming success as its first single, ???Juicy??? went gold within weekend and by the end of the year, the album went triple platinum. Ready to Die continued to gain popularity throughout 1995 as well, eventually selling over two million copies. With its clear cut success, Notorious B.I.G became the most visible icon in hip hop. He had the perfect mix of rap materialism as well as a realistic look to life on the streets that most people could relate to back in those days. Spreading love the Brooklyn way, Christopher brought in long time friends Lil??™ Kim and Lil??™ Cease into the spotlight, creating the group Junior M.A.F.I.A. The crew??™s debut album in 1995 ???Conspiracy??? went gold and Lil??™ Kim??™s follow up solo album, ???Hardcore??? released in 1996, went platinum. Biggie won three awards at the 1995 Source Music Awards ceremony, including Best New Artist. At that year??™s Billboard Music Awards, his single ???Big Poppa??? was named Single of the Year and in 1997 his second acclaimed album, Life After Death won Billboard??™s ???R and B Album of the Year???.
New York embraced him as if he were mayor and Brooklyn treated Biggie like an ambassador. His success reached beyond the tri-state area, bridging regional gaps and unifying hip hop audiences across the country. Biggie had been influenced by rappers such as Kool G Rap, NWA, Too Short and Slick Rick. This gave him national appeal and more importantly, his stores and literal guides to understanding his generation through his songs, were left unnoticed and almost universal. Biggies success changed his own life irreversibly, but it was not without a price. By the time he began work on his second landmark album, Life After Death, he had learned hard lessons about success, fame, notoriety, and greed. His second project was said to be the most important album of his career, the album in which he put the most heart and soul into. It was a 24-song double disc collection that was breathtaking in its entirety. It had a surplus amount of producers that ranged from legends such as P.Diddy, RZA (who was the producer and founder of the Wu-Tang Clan) and DJ Premier. The album established Biggie as one of the greatest MC??™s ever. The album was released mere weeks after his tragic death, but the album provided a way for his mourning fans to celebrate their beloved Biggie??™s life. Life After Death debuted at #1, breaking records for the first week sales and remained on the charts for months. Spin Magazine named him the Artist of the Year and he topped critics??™ lists worldwide for Album of the Year.
Early on the morning of March 9th, Notorious B.I.G was returning to his hotel in Los Angeles after a Soul Train Award party when another car pulled up beside his G.M.C Suburban in front of the Peterson Automobile Museum and opened four gunshot??™s through the side door where Biggie was seated and it left the world wide loved rapper unconscious and tragically dying as he was rushed to a near by hospital. Biggie??™s death was a vicious shock to the entire music industry and sent shock waves around the world. The Notorious B.I.G.??™s public funeral, however, was anything bus peaceful. Thousands flooded in his Brooklyn neighbourhood to catch a glimpse of his hearse, jumping on cars and clashing with the police; ten people were arrested. A private funeral held earlier was more cordial, with Queen Latifah and members of Public Enemy and Naughty by Nature in attendance. The casket was open from the waist up and the rapper had bee fitted into a double breasted white suit and matching hat.
Many people paid homage to the Notorious B.I.G. especially his own label mates who dedicated and released the mournful song ???I??™ll Be Missing You??? as their gratitude and respect??™s to Biggie??™s short but very prosperous life. The single itself went onto sell more then three million copies and funds from the single went to charities he left behind. When clubs and concert??™s feature Biggie, he always blew up the show with his lyrical tales of his life experiences and voyages into the realms of stardom and fame. Biggie said in an interview that his major role models while growing up in the streets of New York were the local drug dealers of the block and added that they gave him a view of what life was about on the streets.
Christopher Wallace was undoubtedly one of the greatest rappers of all time and is a legend in his own right. Still today, many want to learn more about the late great rapper as many remember what he accomplished as well as gained in his very young, bright, successful career. Notorious B.I.G might be physically gone but spiritually he will always be alive through his works that are still showcased today. The murder investigation of Christopher Wallace is still active to this day but there still have been no arrests in the murder case. Nevertheless he was larger than life itself, and will always be known as one of the greatest rappers to ever step foot on this planet.