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Who Was Notorious B.I.G.? The Life and Legacy of a Hip-Hop Icon



When you study music at university and you think about: “Who can write my paper about rap icon?”, you must try it by yourself, because many of legends lived to 30 like Christopher George Latore Wallace.

Christopher George Latore Wallace was born on May 21, 1978 in Brooklyn New York, better known by his nicknames The Notorious B.I.G, Biggie, Biggie Smalls. He was an American rapper, considered one of the most influential in the history of rap.

Because his father, Selwyn George Latore, abandoned him, he was raised alone by his mother Voletta, a preschool math teacher.

Wallace an excellent student, winning several awards as an English major. He started dealing drugs around the age of twelve, something his mother did not find out about until Christopher’s adulthood, as he came home very late.

At 17, he dropped out of school and became fully involved in his life of crime. In 1989 he was arrested for weapons possession and sentenced to 5 years’ probation. In 1991 he was arrested for selling cocaine and crack cocaine, and spent 9 years in prison until he posted bail.

During his teenage years he liked to rap a lot, entertaining people in the streets and different bars. When he got out of prison he recorded his first demo under the name Biggie Smalls, the tape was not made very seriously but DJ Mister Cee promoted it.

The tape reached the ears of producer Sean Combs, better known as Puff Daddy or P. Diddy, who arranged a meeting and hired the rapper. In the meeting Diddy tells Biggie, “We want you to talk about the street not be the street.” Combs then formed his own label, Bad Boy Records, which would receive Biggie in 1992.

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In 1994 he released “Juicy,” his first hit single. He also recorded Ready to Die, his debut album, considered one of the all-time classics of hip hop and East Coast rap. The album includes one of his most famous tracks “Big Poppa”.

During his career a rivalry developed between Biggie and rapper Tupac Shakur, which turned into a gang war between the East Coast represented by Wallace and the West Coast represented by Tupac. These two were good friends, recorded several songs and did many concerts together. The friendship would come to an end when Tupac was shot 5 times at point blank range outside a studio in Times Square. Although no evidence was found, Tupac always blamed Combs and Wallace for the incident. The artists would release songs provoking each other with their lyrics.

On September 7, Shakur was shot in Las Vegas Nevada, after attending the boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon at the MGM. He died on September 13 from complications from bullet wounds, an event that was attributed to Wallace and denied by him. This only further complicated the tense situation between the East and West Coast gangs.

On March 9, 1997 Biggie attended the Soul Train Music Awards at the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles. After the party, the artist was leaving in a black suburban with his friends when 45 meters from the museum, they stopped at a traffic light waiting for the light to move forward and a Chevy pulled up next to him, the driver of the Chevy rolled down the window and fired multiple times, 4 bullets hit Biggie’s chest, who died sometime later when he arrived at the hospital. The person responsible was never found.

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