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The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.

Fact Sheet

Birth NameChristopher Wallace
Musical genre:Rap/Hip Hop  
Birthday21 May 1972
Date of deathMarch 9, 1997 (age 24)
Christopher Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls but best known as The Notorious B.I.G., was a popular Brooklyn-born rapper of the mid 1990s.

He first gained notice for working with Mary J. Blige on What's the 411?, then released Ready to Die, his debut album, in 1994. Ready to Die is regarded as one of the few classic hip-hop albums, with 15 classic songs, one introduction and one interlude, inculding one of the best hip-hop "hustlers"/"playas"/"pimps" anthem of all time: "Big Poppa." The was considered brilliant because of the story-telling style and sharp lyrics: hood lines, political lines, and clever punch lines, such as "I am seeing body after body & our mayor Guiliani ain't tryin to see no black man turn to John Gotti." The album is considered one of the best hiphop albums of all time and in the opinion of some, the best hiphop album of all time.

In 1995, following the "Junior Mafia" shouts in Ready to Die, Biggie released an album called Conspiracy by Junior M.A.F.I.A (Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes) that included some of B.I.G.'s verses, and introduced Lil' Kim and Lil' Ceaser to acclaim. follow this year, One More Chance debuted at #5 on the Pop Charts, tying Scream/Childhood as the highest debut single in music history. "One More Chance" single was a remix version sampled the r&b song "Stay With Me". The R&B singer Ashanti sampled the same source for her song "foolish" on 2002 and also made a remix with biggie's verse from "fucking you tonight" on a another remix called "Unfoolish". Ready to Die brought massive fame to Biggie, and he soon became involved in a heated feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers. Specifically, Biggie was a rival of Tupac Shakur, a Los Angeles rapper. Tupac was murdered in Las Vegas while Biggie was working on his second album. Rumors of a possible Biggie involvement in the murder cropped up almost immediately. On March 9, 1997, Biggie was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Neither murder has ever been solved and at present no-one has ever been charged in connection to them.

Life After Death, Biggie's second album, was released posthumously and debuted at #1 on the charts. the album got out only two weeks after Biggie's murder. It hit number one on the Billboard charts with hit singles in the US. The album sold 10 million copies and it is still the biggest selling hiphop album of all time.

At the end of 1997, Puff Daddy released his debut album "No Way Out" with some Biggie verses and even Biggie singing "Been Around the World" hook over David Bowie's sample ("Let's Dance!") and made a big hit. However, the single that carried this album to the top was "I'll Be Missing You": a tribute, and a massively successful single dedicated to Biggie, the song featured Puff Daddy], Wallace's widow Faith Evans and R+B group 112, and sampled the melody of The Police's hit song "Every Breath You Take." All these artists performed the song with (former Police vocalist) Sting during the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards

Biggie's biggest chart hit was with the song "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," an upbeat number featuring rappers Mase and Puff Daddy, and sampling the disco song "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross for the beat.

1999 was a year for another album by Big. Puff Daddy relesed Big's third album Born Again that year. It had a hit single called "N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S" (interpolation to the Duran Duran's song of the same name) that wasn't a tribute but was a "shout out" to the slain rapper. It featured guest raps from Biggie's friends, Lil Kim and P. Diddy. The video for the song also featured appearances by 98 Degrees and Fat Joe.

In 2003, Puff Daddy gave 50 Cent rights to sample Biggie's verses from "Niggas" (song from "Born again" album) into a song called "To All My Niggas". It got out as a single and hit New York radio stations as a big hit. It was also released on some "Rocafella Records" b-sides and some street "mixtapes" by Eminem's "Shady Records" and some other street mixtapes made by street DJs.

The Notorious B.I.G.'s next album is due fall 2004