|Birth Day:||May 21, 1972|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
Wallace was born at St. Mary's Hospital in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on May 21, 1972, the only child of Jamaican immigrant parents. His mother, Voletta Wallace, was a preschool teacher, while his father, Selwyn George Latore, was a welder and politician. His father left the family when Wallace was two years old, and his mother worked two jobs while raising him. Wallace grew up at 226 St. James Place in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill, near the border with Bedford-Stuyvesant. Wallace excelled at Queen of All Saints Middle School, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed "Big" because he was overweight by the age of 10. Wallace claimed to have begun dealing drugs at about age 12. His mother, often at work, first learned of this during his adulthood.
After release from jail, Wallace made a demo tape, Microphone Murderer, while calling himself Biggie Smalls, alluding both to Calvin Lockhart's character in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again and to his own stature and obesity, 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and 300 to 380 lb (140–170 kg). Although Wallace reportedly lacked real ambition for the tape, local DJ Mister Cee, of Big Daddy Kane and Juice Crew association, discovered and promoted it, thus it was heard by The Source rap magazine's editor in 1992.
He began rapping as a teenager, entertaining people on the streets, and performed with local groups, the Old Gold Brothers as well as the Techniques. At his request, Wallace transferred from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Fort Greene to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Downtown Brooklyn, which future rappers DMX, Jay-Z, and Busta Rhymes were also attending. According to his mother, Wallace was still a good student but developed a "smart-ass" attitude at the new school. At age 17, Wallace dropped out of school and became more involved in crime. In 1989, he was arrested on weapons charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to five years' probation. In 1990, he was arrested on a violation of his probation. A year later, Wallace was arrested in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine. He spent nine months in jail before making bail.
On August 8, 1993, Wallace's longtime girlfriend gave birth to his first child, T'yanna, although the couple had split by then. A high-school dropout, Wallace promised his daughter "everything she wanted", in his reasoning that if he had had the same in childhood, he would have graduated at the top of his class. Although he continued dealing drugs, Combs discovered that and obliged him to quit. Later that year, Wallace gained exposure on a remix of Mary J. Blige's single "Real Love". Having found his moniker Biggie Smalls already claimed, he took a new one, holding for good, The Notorious B.I.G.
The "Real Love" remix single was followed by another remix of a Mary J. Blige song, "What's the 411?". Wallace's successes continued, if to a lesser extents, on remixes of Neneh Cherry's song "Buddy X" and of reggae artist Super Cat's song "Dolly My Baby", also featuring Combs, all in 1993. In April, Wallace's solo track "Party and Bullshit" was released on the Who's the Man? soundtrack. In July 1994, he appeared alongside LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes on a remix of hiw own labelmate Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear", the remix reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
On August 4, 1994, Wallace married R&B singer Faith Evans, whom he had met at a Bad Boy photoshoot. Five days later, Wallace had his first pop chart success as a solo artist with double A-side, "Juicy / Unbelievable", which reached No. 27 as the lead single to his debut album.
Ready to Die was released on September 13, 1994. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart and was eventually certified four times Platinum. The album shifted attention back to East Coast hip hop at a time when West Coast hip hop dominated US charts. It gained strong reviews and has received much praise in retrospect. In addition to "Juicy", the record produced two hit singles: the Platinum-selling "Big Poppa", which reached No. 1 on the U.S. rap chart, and "One More Chance", which sold 1.1 million copies in 1995. Busta Rhymes claimed to have seen Wallace giving out free copies of Ready to Die from his home, which Rhymes reasoned as "his way of marketing himself".
AllMusic wrote that the success of Ready to Die is "mostly due to Wallace's skill as a storyteller". In 1994, Rolling Stone described his ability in this technique as painting "a sonic picture so vibrant that you're transported right to the scene". On Life After Death, he notably demonstrated this skill on the song "I Got a Story to Tell", creating a story as a rap for the first half of the song and then retelling the same story "for his boys" in conversation form.
In August 1995, Wallace's protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. ("Junior Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes"), released their debut album Conspiracy. The group consisted of his friends from childhood and included rappers such as Lil' Kim and Lil' Cease, who went on to have solo careers. The record went Gold and its singles, "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money", both featuring Wallace, went Gold and Platinum. Wallace continued to work with R&B artists, collaborating with R&B groups 112 (on "Only You") and Total (on "Can't You See"), with both reaching the top 20 of the Hot 100. By the end of the year, Wallace was the top-selling male solo artist and rapper on the U.S. pop and R&B charts. In July 1995, he appeared on the cover of The Source with the caption "The King of New York Takes Over", a reference to his alias Frank White, based on a character from the 1990 film King of New York. At the Source Awards in August 1995, he was named Best New Artist (Solo), Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and his debut Album of the Year. At the Billboard Awards, he was Rap Artist of the Year.
In his year of success, Wallace became involved in a rivalry between the East and West Coast hip hop scenes with Shakur, now his former friend. In an interview with Vibe in April 1995, while serving time in Clinton Correctional Facility, Shakur accused Uptown Records' founder Andre Harrell, Sean Combs, and Wallace of having prior knowledge of a robbery that resulted in him being shot five times and losing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on the night of November 30, 1994. Though Wallace and his entourage were in the same Manhattan-based recording studio at the time of the shooting, they denied the accusation. Wallace said: "It just happened to be a coincidence that he [Shakur] was in the studio. He just, he couldn't really say who really had something to do with it at the time. So he just kinda' leaned the blame on me." In 2012, a man named Dexter Isaac, serving a life sentence for unrelated crimes, claimed that he attacked Shakur that night and that the robbery was orchestrated by entertainment industry executive and former drug trafficker, James Rosemond.
Following his release from prison, Shakur signed to Death Row Records on October 15, 1995. This made Bad Boy Records and Death Row business rivals, and thus intensified the quarrel.
Wallace began recording his second studio album in September 1995 over 18 months in New York City, Trinidad, and Los Angeles. The recording was interrupted by injury, legal disputes, and a highly publicized hip hop dispute. During this time, Wallace also worked with pop singer Michael Jackson on the album HIStory. Lil' Cease later claimed that while Wallace met Jackson, he was forced to stay behind, with Wallace citing that he did not "trust Michael with kids" following the 1993 child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. Engineer John Van Nest and producer Dallas Austin recalled the sessions differently, saying that Wallace was eager to meet Jackson and nearly burst into tears upon doing so.
On March 23, 1996, Wallace was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub for chasing and threatening to kill two fans seeking autographs, smashing the windows of their taxicab, and punching one of them. He pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. In mid-1996, he was arrested at his home in Teaneck, New Jersey, for drug and weapons possession charges.
In June 1996, Shakur released "Hit 'Em Up", a diss track in which he claimed to have had sex with Faith Evans, who was estranged from Wallace at the time, and that Wallace had copied his style and image. Wallace referenced the first claim on Jay-Z's "Brooklyn's Finest", in which he raps: "If Faye have twins, she'd probably have two 'Pacs. Get it? 2Pac's?" However, he did not directly respond to the track, stating in a 1997 radio interview that it was "not [his] style" to respond.
Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, and died six days later. Rumors of Wallace's involvement with Shakur's murder spread. In a 2002 Los Angeles Times series titled "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?", based on police reports and multiple sources, Chuck Philips reported that the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang, the Southside Crips, to avenge a beating by Shakur hours earlier, and that Wallace had paid for the gun. Los Angeles Times editor Mark Duvoisin wrote that "Philips' story has withstood all challenges to its accuracy, ... [and] remains the definitive account of the Shakur slaying." Wallace's family denied the report, producing documents purporting to show that he was in New York and New Jersey at the time. However, The New York Times called the documents inconclusive, stating:
On October 29, 1996, Evans gave birth to Wallace's son, Christopher "C.J." Wallace Jr. The following month, Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Kim released her debut album, Hard Core, under Wallace's direction while the two were having a "love affair". Lil' Kim recalled being Wallace's "biggest fan" and "his pride and joy". In a 2012 interview, Lil' Kim said Wallace had prevented her from making a remix of the Jodeci single "Love U 4 Life" by locking her in a room. According to her, Wallace said that she was not "gonna go do no song with them," likely because of the group's affiliation with Tupac and Death Row Records.
In 1996, Wallace started putting together a hip hop supergroup, the Commission, which consisted himself, Jay-Z, Lil' Cease, Combs, and Charli Baltimore. The Commission was mentioned by Wallace in the lyrics of "What's Beef" on Life After Death and "Victory" from No Way Out, but a Commission album was never completed. A track on Duets: The Final Chapter, "Whatchu Want (The Commission)", featuring Jay-Z, was based on the group.
In January 1997, Wallace was ordered to pay US$41,000 in damages following an incident involving a friend of a concert promoter who claimed Wallace and his entourage beat him following a dispute in May 1995. He faced criminal assault charges for the incident, which remains unresolved, but all robbery charges were dropped. Following the events, Wallace spoke of a desire to focus on his "peace of mind" and his family and friends.
In February 1997, Wallace traveled to California to promote Life After Death and record a music video for its lead single, "Hypnotize". On March 5, he gave a radio interview with The Dog House on KYLD in San Francisco. In the interview, he stated that he had hired a security detail since he feared for his safety, but that this was due to being a celebrity figure in general and not specifically because he was a rapper.
Its lead single, "Hypnotize", was the last music video recording in which Wallace would participate. His biggest chart success was with its follow-up "Mo Money Mo Problems", featuring Sean Combs (under the rap alias "Puff Daddy") and Mase. Both singles reached No. 1 in the Hot 100, making Wallace the first artist to achieve this feat posthumously. The third single, "Sky's The Limit", featuring the band 112, was noted for its use of children in the music video, directed by Spike Jonze, who were used to portray Wallace and his contemporaries, including Combs, Lil' Kim, and Busta Rhymes. Wallace was named Artist of the Year and "Hypnotize" Single of the Year by Spin magazine in December 1997.
In December 1999, Bad Boy released Born Again. The album consisted of previously unreleased material mixed with new guest appearances, including many artists Wallace had never collaborated with in his lifetime. It gained some positive reviews, but received criticism for its unlikely pairings; The Source describing it as "compiling some of the most awkward collaborations of his career". Nevertheless, the album sold 2 million copies. Wallace appeared on Michael Jackson's 2001 album, Invincible. Over the course of time, his vocals were heard on hit songs such as "Foolish" and "Realest Niggas" by Ashanti in 2002, and the song "Runnin' (Dying to Live)" with Shakur the following year. In 2005, Duets: The Final Chapter continued the pattern started on Born Again, which was criticized for the lack of significant vocals by Wallace on some of its songs. Its lead single "Nasty Girl" became Wallace's first UK No. 1 single. Combs and Voletta Wallace have stated the album will be the last release primarily featuring new material.
Sixteen days after his death, Wallace's double-disc second album was released as planned with the shortened title of Life After Death and hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, after making a premature appearance at No. 176 due to street-date violations. The record album featured a much wider range of guests and producers than its predecessor. It gained strong reviews and in 2000 was certified Diamond, the highest RIAA certification awarded to a solo hip hop album.
Considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, Wallace was described by AllMusic as "the savior of East Coast hip-hop". The Source magazine named him the greatest rapper of all time in its 150th issue in 2002. In 2003, when XXL magazine asked several hip hop artists to list their five favorite MCs, Wallace appeared on more rappers' lists than anyone else. In 2006, MTV ranked him at No. 3 on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time, calling him possibly "the most skillful ever on the mic". Editors of About.com ranked him at No. 3 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). In 2012, The Source ranked him No. 3 on their list of the Top 50 Lyrical Leaders of all time. Rolling Stone has referred to him as the "greatest rapper that ever lived". In 2015, Billboard named Wallace as the greatest rapper of all time.
Wallace's lyrical topics and themes included mafioso tales ("Niggas Bleed"), his drug-dealing past ("Ten Crack Commandments"), materialistic bragging ("Hypnotize"), humor ("Just Playing (Dreams)"), and romance ("Me & My Bitch"). In 2004, Rolling Stone named him as "one of the few young male songwriters in any pop style writing credible love songs". In the book How to Rap, rapper Guerilla Black described how Wallace was able to both "glorify the upper echelon" and "[make] you feel his struggle". According to The New York Times journalist Touré in 1994, Wallace's lyrics "[mixed] autobiographical details about crime and violence with emotional honesty". Marriott of The New York Times wrote in 1997 that Wallace's lyrics were not strictly autobiographical and that he "had a knack for exaggeration that increased sales". Wallace wrote that his debut album was "a big pie, with each slice indicating a different point in [his] life involving bitches and niggaz... from the beginning to the end".
Wallace had begun to promote a clothing line called Brooklyn Mint, which was to produce plus-sized clothing, but it fell dormant after he died. In 2004, his managers Mark Pitts and Wayne Barrow launched the clothing line with help from Jay-Z, selling T-shirts with images of Wallace on them. A portion of the proceeds go to the Christopher Wallace Foundation and to Jay-Z's Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. In 2005, Voletta Wallace hired branding and licensing agency Wicked Cow Entertainment to guide the estate's licensing efforts. Wallace-branded products on the market include action figures, blankets, and cell phone content.
Notorious is a 2009 biographical film about Wallace and his life that stars rapper Jamal Woolard as Wallace. The film was directed by George Tillman Jr. and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Producers included Sean Combs, Wallace's former managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts, as well as Voletta Wallace. On January 16, 2009, the movie's debut at the Grand 18 theater in Greensboro, North Carolina was postponed after a man was shot in the parking lot before the show. The film received mixed reviews and grossed over $44 million worldwide.
In early October 2007, open casting calls for the role of Wallace began. Actors, rappers and unknowns all tried out. Beanie Sigel auditioned for the role, but was not picked. Sean Kingston claimed that he would play the role of Wallace, but producers denied it. Eventually, it was announced that rapper Jamal Woolard was chosen to play Wallace while Wallace's son, Christopher Wallace Jr. was cast to play Wallace as a child. Other cast members include Angela Bassett as Voletta Wallace, Derek Luke as Sean Combs, Antonique Smith as Faith Evans, Naturi Naughton as Lil' Kim, and Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur. Bad Boy also released a soundtrack album to the film on January 13, 2009; the album contains many of Wallace's hit singles, including "Hypnotize" and "Juicy", as well as rarities.
Around the time of the album's release, Wallace became friends with fellow rapper Tupac Shakur. Cousin Lil' Cease recalled the pair as close, often traveling together whenever they were not working. According to him, Wallace was a frequent guest at Shakur's home and they spent time together when Shakur was in California or Washington, D.C. Yukmouth, an Oakland emcee, claimed that Wallace's style was inspired by Shakur. Wallace also befriended basketball player Shaquille O'Neal. O'Neal said they were introduced during a listening session for "Gimme the Loot"; Wallace mentioned him in the lyrics and thereby attracted O'Neal to his music. O'Neal requested a collaboration with Wallace, which resulted in the song "You Can't Stop the Reign". According to Combs, Wallace would not collaborate with "anybody he didn't really respect" and that Wallace paid O'Neal his respect by "shouting him out". In 2015, Daz Dillinger, a frequent Shakur collaborator, said that he and Wallace were "cool", with Wallace traveling to meet him to smoke cannabis and record two songs.
A duet album, The King & I, featuring Evans and Notorious B.I.G., was released on May 19, 2017, which largely contained previously unreleased music.
In August 2020, Wallace's son, C.J., released a house remix of his father's hit "Big Poppa."
Currently, Notorious B.I.G. is 48 years, 8 months and 3 days old. Notorious B.I.G. will celebrate 49th birthday on a Friday 21st of May 2021.
Find out about Notorious B.I.G. birthday activities in timeline view here.