Biggie Smalls is a deceased American rapper who, although he hadn’t had any new music since the 90s, is still considered one of the greatest rappers of all time and the savior of East Coast hip hop.
The infamous B.I.G. or Biggie, as he is commonly known, was revered for his ability to tell stories about the hustler’s lifestyle with his powerful baritone and effortless flow.
Biggie Smalls was born Christopher George Latore Wallace, son of Voletta Wallace and Selwyn George Latore, on May 21, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where he was raised only by his mother after his father, who worked as a welder, left the family when Biggie was just two years old.
Biggie was already a gifted student as a child. He attended the Queen of All Saints Middle School, where he won several prizes, especially in the English class. During this time he was also given the nickname “Big”, which came from his height. He then attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School before moving on to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, where future rappers such as Jay-Z, DMX, and Busta Rhymes happened to be going at the time.
Wallace continued to excel in school, but after he began selling drugs and becoming involved in a life of crime, he dropped out of school at the age of seventeen. When Biggie was 18 years old, he was arrested and sentenced to five years of probation for illegal possession of a gun. The following year he was arrested for violating his parole, and the following year he was arrested again for dealing crack cocaine in North Carolina. This time he spent nine months in jail before he was able to post bail.
During his time in jail, Biggie honed his rap skills, having previously rapped to entertain people at school and on the streets. After his release, he recorded a mixtape under the nickname Biggie Smalls, a name he got from the movie Let’s Do It Again (1975). Although he had no intention of pursuing a record deal or rap career, the mixtape made waves in the underground hip-hop scene and was heard by Sean Combs, who was working as an A&R for Uptown Records at the time.
Combs hired Biggie at Uptown, but after he was fired, he founded Bad Boy Records, and the rapper followed him to the new label. After a lawsuit Biggie Smalls had to change his record name to The Notorious B.I.G., under which he released his first song as a solo artist in 1993, entitled Party and Bullshit.
In September 1994, The Notorious B.I.G. released his debut album “Ready to Die”, which was acclaimed by critics and advertisers. The album went gold within two months of release, before finally selling over four million copies. Meanwhile, the single “Big Poppa” earned him a Grammy nomination, as he single-handedly brought East Coast hip-hop back to the forefront, moving away from the gangster rap that was prevalent on the West Coast.
Between 1996 and 1997, Biggie Smalls recorded his second album, Life After Death, which was due for release on March 25, 1997. On March 8th the rapper took part in the Soul Train Awards, from which he went to an after-party. Around midnight the party was closed by the fire department and Biggie Smalls and his entourage left the hall. On the way back to his hotel he stopped at a red light and was shot four times. He was immediately taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
However, his album was released as planned and sold over 10 million copies by the year 2000.
Biggie Smalls’ Family – Mom, Wife, Son, Daughter
The mother of Biggie Smalls, Voletta Wallace, is of Jamaican origin. She was born in 1953 and worked as a preschool teacher when her son was still a child. After the death of her son, Mrs. Wallace took control of his estate and established the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. She is currently said to have an estimated net worth of $40 million.
Biggie Smalls was married to R&B singer Faith Evans, who was his label mate on Bad Boy Records. The couple met at a Bad Boy photoshoot and married shortly afterward on August 4, 1994. Their marriage was marked by infidelity on Biggie’s side, which prompted Evans to separate from her husband.
During their time together, the couple had a son named Christopher Jordan Wallace on October 29, 1996. Wallace Jr. is today an actor who is best known for portraying his father in the biopic Notorious (2009), as well as for his appearances in movies like Everything Must Go (2010) and Kicks (2016).
Before Christopher, Biggie had a daughter named T’Yanna with his longtime girlfriend and high school sweetheart, Jan Jackson. T’Yanna, who was born on August 8, 1993, is today a fashion designer and owner of Notorious Clothing.
Height, Weight, and Other Facts
Birth Name: Christopher George Latore Wallace
Nick Name: The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, Biggie
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Date of Birth: May 21, 1972
Height: 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m)
Weight: 300 to 380 lb (140–170 kg)