Today I’m calling all the hip-hop heads to ‘throw their hands in the air’ and raise a glass to toast what would’ve been ‘Brooklyn’s Finest‘, the late great Notorious B.I.G.’s 40th birthday.
At school Christopher earned the nickname “Big” because of his large frame and heavy weight. As a teenager, Christopher got into the hustling game which led to him spending a brief period in prison. Throughout this time he was writing lyrics and spitting rhymes with his Brooklyn friends, who would later become known as Junior M.A.F.I.A. After his work was presented to Uptown Records CEO, Andre Harrell in 1992, Biggie became a hip-hop sensation with a career that would overshadow his large frame. His debut album ‘Ready To Die’ (1994) told of his struggles with poverty, hustling and the ladies. The classic ‘Juicy’ had (and still does) heads bopping in the clubs worldwide and all the ladies loved the fabulous ‘One More Chance‘.
In 1994 he married R&B singer/songwriter Faith Evans. Their marriage was turbulent as noted by Faith in her autobiography ‘Keep The Faith’ Grand Central Publishing 2009. They had one child together, a son Christopher “CJ” Wallace Jr, Biggie had a daughter, T’yana (both pictured above) from a previous relationship and was also step-father to Chyna, Faith’s daughter from a previous relationship.
Biggie won 4 awards for his music during his short-lived career and had just completed his second album Life After Death…Till Death Do Us Part (1997) (renamed Life After Death after Biggie’s passing) and released smash single, ‘Hypnotise’. In March of 1997, just days before Life After Death’s scheduled release date, Biggie was fatally shot in the early hours of March 9th after attending the 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. His death shook and left a huge hole in the hip-hop community, especially coming just six months after the murder of fellow rapper Tupac Shakur.
Biggie and Tupac’s ‘war’ is well publicised and Biggie’s birth date is not the time to go into that drama. His music is as popular and as influential to aspiring rappers today as it was back then in the 90s. Life After Death earned him six music awards posthumously and has sold, along with Ready To Die, multiple platinum copies worldwide.
Biggies legacy also continues with The Christopher Wallace Foundation which raises money for equipment in schools. A BIG man ( he stood at 6ft 3inches), a HEAVY impact and LARGELY missed by his family, friends and fans.
Christopher Wallace, have a “Happy Birthday!” wherever your spirit is. We’ll Always Love Big Poppa!
© Donna Woolcock 2012 Lady Syxess Publications