17 years ago today, one of hip hop’s living legends was gunned down on the streets of Los Angeles. The music industry had seen its fair share of legends make their transition to the grandest stage of all stages. Artists like Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Bobby Blue Bland, David Peaston, Albertina Walker, George Duke, Tupac and of course Notorious B.I.G.
Born Christopher George Latore Wallace May 21, 1972 to Voletta Wallace and George Latore primarily residing in Brooklyn, NY. Attending a state funded high school after requesting to be transferred from private school. Who knew he would be in school with the likes of Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes before their hey day. He began rapping as a teenager entertaining people on the street and occasionally performing with local groups. In March 1992, Wallace was featured in The Source‘s Unsigned Hype column, dedicated to aspiring rappers, and was invited to produce a recording with other unsigned artists in a move that was reportedly uncommon at the time. he demo found its way into the hands of then Uptown Records A&R/Producer Sean Combs.
Originally being signed to Uptown Records and appearing on his label mates Heavy D The Boys projects, until Sean Combs was released Signing with Bad Boy Records spearheaded by Sean Combs in 1992, gaining exposure on projects with Mary J Blige, Neneh Cherry under the name Notorious B.I.G. due to Biggie Smalls was already taken. In 1993 Wallace and then girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl. Still dabbling in drug selling, Combs forced Wallace to quit if he wanted to remain a signed artist.
In 1994 B.I G. & labelmate Faith Evans were married just as his single “Juicy” from his debut album “Ready To Die” was making headway on the charts. The couple gave birth to their son Christopher Wallace, Jr. in 1996 in the midst of B.I.G. having a love affair with Lil Kim from Junior M.A.F.I.A. In the same year Lil Kim also released her debut album Hard Core
As the years moved on Notorious B.I.G. has endured success and trials including his unintentional involvement in the East Coast – West Coast feud. Fan from both coasts has taken sides thus resulting in the biggest hip hop beef ever in the history of the genre. Unfortunately the feud took the lives of two of the greatest hip hop artist known to the genre. Tupac’s life was lost to a violent end in September 1996 and it is sad that B.I.G and Tupac were never able to have a sit down talk to squash the nonsense beef that had brewed such hate between the east and west coasts.
Only a mere 6 months later the world would lose another hip hop artist to gun violence. While in Los Angeles attending the Soul Train Awards, it was only after Wallace attended the after party, shut down for overcrowding, B.I.G. and how entourage would leave to go back to their hotel. Traveling down the streets of Los Angeles on Wilshire & South Fairfax, stopped at the traffic light a black car pulled along side the SUV carrying B.I.G. and fired 4 shots of one proved to be fatal.
It is very ironic that Biggie Smalls’ second album Life After Death was scheduled to be released on March 25th of the very month that he lost his life. Sometimes we have to keep in mind that our thoughts become words, our words become actions and our actions become habits and losing lives by violence is an action that I pray I pray is quickly ceased.
In the words of my favorites Notorious B.I.G song Sky’s The Limit f/112:
“Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on
Just keep on pressin on
Sky is the limit and you know that you can have
what you want, pressin what you want”
REST IN PEACE: CHRISTOPHER “NOTORIOUS B.I.G” WALLACE