AKA Christopher G. Wallace
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Murder
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: I love it when you call me big poppa
Raised by his mother in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn, Christopher Wallace started out with aspirations of establishing himself as a graphic artist, but was inevitably drawn into the hustling life of the streets. By the age of seventeen he had dropped out of high school to take up full-time duties as the neighborhood crack dealer, taking time off occasionally to rap for fun at house parties and with the local crew The Old Gold Brothers. After serving a nine-month sentence in a North Carolina jail on drug charges, Wallace returned home and put together a demo tape of material; although no serious attempt at a recording career was intended, the tape began to move around and generate interest in east coast rap circles. With the support Big Daddy Kane's DJ Mister Cee, it was submitted to The Source magazine, where it won their "Unsigned Hype" competition. Eventually it ended up in the hands of Uptown Records A&R head Sean Puff Daddy Combs, who immediately signed Wallace to a record deal.
In the weeks after his signing, Combs put the young rapper (now re-christened "Notorious B.I.G.") to work on several remix projects, amongst which were tracks by Mary J. Blige, Neneh Cherry and Super Cat. As work on the first B.I.G. effort was completed, both Combs and Wallace were dropped in succession from the Uptown roster; Combs moved on to create Bad Boy Entertainment and brought his friend on board as one of his first signings. Party and Bullshit, a contribution to the soundtrack of "the first hip-hop whodunnit" Who's The Man? (1993), added enough to the hype so that upon its release the following year the debut Ready to Die made a rapid climb up the charts. A U.K. tour opening for R. Kelly and an appearance on Michael Jackson's HIStory - Past, Present And Future Book 1 subsequently cemented his standing in the music industry.
Following the success of Ready to Die, Wallace gathered together some friends from his hustling days and created Junior M.A.F.I.A., releasing the album Conspiracy with the group in 1995. Effort during this period was also devoted towards helping to move the careers of other associates, such as pint-sized menace Lil' Kim, and his new wife, soul singer Faith Evans. The previous year, the negative aspects of this new-found fame began to escalate when a feud with one-time friend Tupac Shakur was instigated after Shakur claimed B.I.G. had been complicit in a shooting/robbery incident that had nearly claimed his life; this feud gradually spread to include both performer's record labels, and then expanded into a large-scale rivalry between the entire east and west coast rap scenes. Wallace was also generating a lot of negative press through the variety of assault and weapon/drug possession charges levied against both him and some of his M.A.F.I.A. colleagues. By the time work began on his second solo release, the rapper was eager to shift the focus back onto his music and away from his personal scandals.
The east/west rivalry finally escalated out of control with the murder of Shakur in September of 1996. Media speculation that Wallace was somehow responsible created fears of some form of retaliation; with the intention of easing tensions Wallace arranged a series of promotional events on the west coast in 1997, including an appearance at the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. While waiting in traffic following an after-show party, an assailant in another car pulled up and opened fire, resulting in Wallace's death shortly afterwards. A tribute record, I'll Be Missing You, produced by Combs and featuring an appearance of his estranged wife Evans, was issued in the wake of the incident.
Three weeks after his shooting, the completed sophomore album Life After Death was released, and immediately climbed to the number one position. A posthumously-assembled collection of previously unreleased material and remixes titled Born Again later surfaced in 1999.
Mother: Voletta Wallace (pre-school teacher)
Wife: Faith Evans (musician)
Son: Christopher Wallace Jr. (b. 1996)
Girlfriend: Lil' Kim (rapper)
Junior M.A.F.I.A. Vocalist (1995-97)
Drug Possession: Marijuana Brooklyn (1996)
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1996
Drug Possession 1996
Shot Los Angeles, CA (9-Mar-1997)
Endorsement of Pabst Brewing Company St. Ides
Risk Factors: Obesity, Marijuana
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Rhyme & Reason (5-Mar-1997) · Himself
The Show (25-Aug-1995) · Himself
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