In a rather short-lived career that barely lasted five years, The Notorious B.I.G. revolutionized the world of rap with their unique style. Also popular as Biggie Smalls or Biggie, The Notorious Brooklyn became known for attracting many fans with his unparalleled narrative ability about the lifestyle of a hustler with his powerful baritone and effortless flow. His talent was overwhelming and was also reflected in his debut album, which went down with a bang in 1994 and made the rapper an international figure.
More than two decades after Biggie Smalls’ death, albums still fall in his name and his popularity shows no sign of waning. The rapper’s name surfaced during the nomination of the initiates to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the 2020 set. This shows how strong his legacy is in the industry and why he is considered the greatest ever to have lived in different neighborhoods.
Here is a look at his family life and how he lost his life at such a very young age.
Birth Family Background Of The Notorious B.I.G
Christopher George Latore Wallace, who became known as The Notorious BIG, was born on May 21, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York into the family of Voletta Wallace and Selwyn George Latorre, both of Jamaican descent. When he was only two years old, his father left the family and so Christopher was raised as an only child by his mother, Voletta, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
While the rapper’s father was a welder and local politician in Jamaica, his mother worked as a preschool teacher. Since she had to raise her child all by herself, Mrs. Wallace was forced to shift two jobs. Since Biggie’s death, his mother has been involved in many things besides managing his estate and establishing the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. She wrote her memoirs “Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.”, which she wrote in 2005. In order to preserve her son’s legacy, she produced the biographical drama film Notorious together with Wayne Barrow in 2009.
His Marriage To Faith Evans And Children
As for his personal life, The Notorious BIG was a married man. In 1994 he went to the altar with the R&B singer and label colleague of Bad Boy Records, Faith Evans.
Their relationship seemed to be on the fast track because shortly after they met at a Bad Boy photoshoot, they decided to share the rest of their lives together, which led to their marriage. Unfortunately, the relationship was not without problems, as Biggie Smalls was accused of infidelity, which caused his wife to break up with him.
On October 29, 1996, Evans gave birth to the couple’s only child, Christopher Jordan Wallace. The younger Wallace also chose the path of show business today, but as an actor. He is best known for having played his father in the aforementioned Biopic Notorious (2009). He has also starred in other films, including Everything Must Go (2010) and Kicks (2016).
Three years before the birth of Christopher Jr., T’Yanna was born too late legendary rapper Jan Jackson by his long-time girlfriend and high school sweetheart. Born on August 8, 1993, T’Yanna decided to become a fashion designer. She owns The Notorious Clothing.
Musical Beginnings And Breakthrough
The Notorious BIG had started a rather dangerous lifestyle from an early age. Although he went beyond the average student when he attended the Queen of All Saints Middle School and even took home several awards in English classes, he later became involved in crime. This was after attending Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School and then George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, from which he eventually dropped out.
While still in school and continuing his education, Wallace chose to sell drugs and become involved in criminal activities until he dropped out at the age of 17. A year later he was arrested and sentenced to five years probation for illegal possession of a gun. This caught up with him a year later when he was arrested for violating his parole. At 19, he was arrested again for trafficking crack cocaine, for which he spent nine months in jail before bail was posted.
During his time in prison, The Notorious BIG honed his rap skills, just as he had rapped before to entertain people in school and on the streets. After his release, he started his career with a mixtape under the name Biggie Smalls. The mixtape was too good to be ignored by Sean Combs, who decided to give him a deal with Uptown, who he was working with at the time.
Not long after that Combs was shown the way out of Uptown and so he decided to start his own record label; Bad Boy Records. As expected, he took Smalls with him, but due to legal problems, the rapper now changed his name to The Notorious B.I.G., signaling the birth of a new thing in rap music.
In 1994 The Notorious B.I.G. released his debut album “Ready to Die”, which was celebrated by critics and advertisements. Just two months after the album was released, it received a gold certificate before effortlessly selling over four million copies. Later it received a Grammy nomination for the single “Big Poppa”.
How The Notorious BIG Was Assassinated
As his music career continued to skyrocket, things slowly turned sour in the background when one of his closest friends, Tupac Shakur, got into the East Coast versus West Coast feud.
In 1994, an attempt was made on the life of Tupac, his rival and arch-enemy at the time, who was shot five times. Even before he was fully recovered, Pac made it clear that he believed Combs and Smalls were behind the attack.
Although efforts were made to settle the dispute between the two rap giants, everything fell apart as they continued to release titles that called each other names.
When Tupac released their track “Hit Em’ Up,” in which the west coast rapper claimed to have slept with Biggie’s wife and said the east coast rapper was marked, it was clear that the feud had taken a different turn.
On September 7, 1996, news came that Pac had been shot. Again, fingers pointed at The Notorious BIG and Combs, who both denied having been involved in the tragic event. No one was arrested for the murder.
On March 9, 1997, an SUV drove right next to Small’s car and shots were fired at Biggie, just like Pac. The Notorious BIG died before the release of his second album Life After Death, which was to be released the same month.
Although no one was arrested for the deaths of Pac and Biggie, their ending caused the end of the feud between the West Coast and the East Coast.