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Biggie Smalls

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by

Shayla Jacquot

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Biggie Smalls

Christopher George Latore Wallace was born on May 21, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. Measuring at 6 feet and three inches, and tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds. Biggie Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G. started experimenting with music as a teenager. At an early age, he was surrounded by drug addicts and dealers. So by his early teens, Biggie had joined the life that was all around him. He once said "Hustlers were my heroes, everything happened on the strip I grew up in. It didn't matter where you went, it was all in your face." At the age of 17, Biggie was arrested for selling crack, and spent nine months in a North Carolina prison before making bail. He began experimenting on his own after he hooked on with a crew called the "Old Gold Brothers". After a tape of his landed in the hands of Mister Cee, a well-known DJ, Biggie Smalls was featured in the hip-hop publication, The Source. The article caught the attention of Sean "Puffy" Combs, a young producer at Uptown Entertainment, a New York-based label specializing in hip-hop and rhythm and blues. When Combs split off from Uptown to start his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment, he brought Biggie with him. In 1994, Notorious B.I.G. released his debut album, Ready to Die. This told the story of his life, from drug dealer to rapper. It featured hits like Juicy and Big Poppa, the record went platinum and the young hip-hop artist became a full-fledged star.

That same year, The Source named Notorious B.I.G. Best New Artist, Best Live Performer, and Lyricist of the Year. Biggie Smalls collaborated with other stars such as R. Kelly and Michael Jackson. By the end of 1995, Biggie was one of music's best-selling and most sought after performers. His success and wealth hardly brought peace to Biggie's life. In the immediate aftermath of Ready to Die's popularity, the rapper found himself in constant fear. In 1994, he told The New York Times that he was disliked for having more money, which came with his fame. Biggie said that he jumped whenever the door to his apartment building opened, fearing that someone might want to hurt him. This fear led to anxiety, which led to spurts of aggression.
Biggie Smalls's most famous battles occurred with others in the hip-hop industry, most notably with Tupac Shakur, Marion "Suge" Knight and Death Row Records. The rivalry turned into an East Coast-West Coast feud (with Combs and Biggie representing the East), and the tension escalated in 1994, when Tupac and a member of the Wu-Tang Clan were shot and robbed. The two men survived and Shakur accused Biggie and Combs of the attack.

Shakur added fuel to the flames with a pointed slam on the East Coast rap world in the single, "Hit 'Em Up," in which he claimed to have slept with Biggie's wife, Faith Evans. In September 1996, East Coast-West Coast battle heated up even further, when Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Rumors of Biggie's involvement immediately began to make the rounds. On March 9, 1997 Biggie was sitting in an SUV after just coming out of the Soul Train Music Awards when another vehicle pulled up to his car, opened fire and killed him. Biggie was only 24 years old at the time of his death. The murder of Biggie smalls was viewed as retaliation for Tupac's murder for many fans.
Biggie's death shook the music world, prompting fears that the hip-hop world might erupt into a full-fledged war. Biggie's friends, family and fans never received any answers regarding his death. Despite years of theory regarding the identity of the gunman, Biggie's case was never solved. Biggie's death came just as the rapper was about to put out his second album, Life After Death. The record sold nearly 700,000 copies in its first week of being released.
Born Again, an album of unreleased material from Biggie, was released two years later. A third album of extra material, Duets: The Final Chapter, was released in 2005.

Today, Biggie is still one of the music industry's most admired hip-hop artists. His talent as a writer and rapper will continue to be acknowledged for decades to come.
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