Christopher George Latore Wallace better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G.,Biggie or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper. Wallace began rapping when he was a teenager. He entertained people on the streets and performed with local groups the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques.
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‘s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream.
The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. 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 set Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification.
Since his death, Wallace’s lyrics have been sampled and quoted by a variety of hip hop, R&B and pop artists including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Fat Joe, Nelly, Ja Rule,Eminem, Lil Wayne, Game, Clinton Sparks, Michael Jackson and Usher. On August 28, 2005, at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Sean Combs (then using the rap alias “P. Diddy”) and Snoop Dogg paid tribute to Wallace: an orchestra played while the vocals from “Juicy” and “Warning” played on the arena speakers.
There is an oversize portrait mural of Wallace as Che Guevara on 108 S Portland Ave & Fulton Street in Brooklyn a half mile west from the star’s old block.