Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie, was an American rapper. He is considered by many as one of the best rappers of all time.
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York City’s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led Junior M.A.F.I.A. to chart success, a protégé group composed of his childhood friends. In 1996, while recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album, Life After Death, which was released sixteen days later, rose to number one on the U.S. album charts, and was certified Diamond in 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. It is also one of the best-selling albums in the United States.
Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow”, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities, which revolved around violence and hardship. He is also noted for sometimes changing his pitch on songs. Three more albums have been released since his death, and he has certified sales of over 17 million units in the United States, including 13.4 million albums. Read more