May 21st, 2008 | By


On this day in 1972, hip hop was given an icon. Christopher Wallace was born in Brooklyn, New York, the only child to Voletta Wallace.

He got the name BIGGIE, while attending George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, with fellow rappers JAY-Z and BUSTA RHYMES. He stood 6’3 around 250 lbs.. He adopted the name from 70’s gansta film “Let’s do it again”, and his stature played a role as well.

At the age of 17, Biggie dropped out of school and became a full time drug dealer. After a few run ins with the law, Biggie decided to release a demo. He was posted in the undiscovered section of the Hip-Hop magazine, “The Source”.

SEAN PUFFY COMB, an up and comming A&R Rep at Uptown Records, jumped at the chance to work with Biggie. Months later COMBS was fired from Uptown, and started his own label, “BAD BOY”. He took BIGGIE with him, and started taking back Hip-Hop from the WEST COAST.

In the mid 90’s, WEST COAST rap was predominant. Biggie was in New York, still selling drugs to support his new born son, when Sean “Puffy” Combs was getting his label together. Upon finding out how Biggie was making a living, Puffy immediately told him to stop. He had big plans for the Brooklyn rapper.

Biggie appeared on a myriad of remixes, before the release of his first album, “Ready to DIe.” Then he met Faith Evans, and married her ten days later.

1995 marked the birth of Notorious B.I.G., the name Biggie Smalls was taken. That year he recieved Best New Artist(solo), Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and Album of the Year from the SOURCE AWARDS. He also got Rap Artist of the Year from the Billboard Awards.

As Notorious B.I.G. would say, with more money came more problems. East Coast vs West Coast was plastered over the news. TUPAC SHAKUR, West Coast Captain, and Notorious B.I.G., East Coast Captain, were hurled right in the middle.

While TUPAC released numerous diss songs, Notorious B.I.G. said it was out of his character.

Notorious B.I.G. began working on his second CD, “Life after Death”. Before it’s release his life was cut drastically short. On March 9, 1997 Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down while leaving an after party in Los Angelos.

“Life after Death”, was released 15 days after B.I.G.’s death. It debuted #1 on the top 100 Billboard. He was the first artist to go double diamond after his death.

I could’ve wrote about Notorious B.I.G. on the day of his death, but I think he deserves more respect than that. Through his music, he gave us colorful stories of pain and success. We felt “Juicy”, we know “Beef”, and we all understand the “10 Crack Commandments”. We should celebrate his life, instead of constantly talking about the circumstances of his death.

If your heading for a corner today, know that NOTORIOUS B.I.G. made it. He was standing on those corners, but he made it out, and so can you.

I could’ve had a huge section about the beef between NOTORIOUS B.I.G. and TUPAC, but why? Battle rapping is a staple of Hip-Hop. Those who don’t know that made it worse than it was. Nothing is wrong with diss songs as long as they stay on wax.

Fun Fact

Did you know JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A. stands for Junior Masters at Finding Intellegent Attitudes.

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