Saturday, May 21 is a special day in hip-hop history; it is the birthday of Notorious B.I.G. This hip-hop superstar was known by many names including: Biggie Smalls, Big Poppa and The Black Frank White. In the early 90s, Christopher Wallace, which was the name given to Biggie at birth, took the hip-hop industry by storm. Before becoming a star, Biggie Smalls had a rough childhood growing up in Brooklyn, New York. He started dealing drugs at 12 years old, which caused him to spend some time behind bars.
In 1994, Biggie finally got his break and released his first album titled, “Ready to Die” on Puff Diddy’s (on purpose) Bad Boy record label. The album included such memorable hits as “Juicy” and “Big Poppa.” Biggie’s second album titled, “Life After Death” gave us such tracks as “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” which we still hear at clubs today. Biggie was even recognized for his work by being nominated for four Grammy Awards.
In honor of Biggie, I decided to re-watch the movie “Notorious,” which chronicles his life before and during his fame and ends with his tragic death. What’s interesting about this movie is that it also shows the rise to fame of Puffy, Lil Kim, and Faith Evans.
One of my favorite parts of this film is when Biggie is simply rapping on the streets, before he had a record deal. A woman named Kim Jones spotted him on her way to work. She was watching him like she knew he was eventually going to be famous. Kim Jones began an affair with Biggie and she secured a record deal out of the relationship. Kim Jones eventually became Lil’ Kim.
At the early age of 24, Biggie was in California promoting his “Life After Death” album. After leaving a club, he was tragically shot on March 9, 1997.
Biggie summed up his rise to fame in a five-minute song titled, “Juicy.” The song chronicles his life from living on the streets of Brooklyn to becoming a major success with his hip-hop career. The first line of the song states, “It was all a dream.” Considering how short of a time Notorious B.I.G was in the music business and our lives, it did seem like it was all just a dream.
Happy Birthday Biggie Smalls, we miss you.