Mp3bullet TBT!!! – The Notorious B.I.G

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Biggie Smalls, also known as “The Notorious B.I.G.,” was revered hip-hop artist and face of East Coast gangsta rap. He was shot and killed on March 9, 1997.

Early Years

American hip-hop star Biggie Smalls was born as Christopher George Latore Wallace on May 21, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. He was nicknamed “Big” because of his overweight size by age 10. Biggie Smalls, became drug dealer at young age. He started experimenting with music as a teenager and, not long after, befriended Sean “Puffy” Combs.

At 17, Biggie was arrested for selling crack, and spent nine months in North Carolina prison before making bail. As he navigated his young, uncertain life, Biggie started making music. He hooked on with crew called the “Old Gold Brothers,” and began experimenting on his own.

Commercial Success

Around his neighborhood, Biggie Smalls, as he called himself then, began building reputation as musician. After a tape of his landed in the hands of Mister Cee, well-known DJ, Smalls was featured in the hip-hop publication,The Source.

The article was enough to catch the attention of Sean “Puffy” Combs, young producer at Uptown Entertainment, 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 Smalls with him.

In 1994, The Notorious B.I.G. released his debut album, Ready to Die, which told the story of his life, from drug dealer to rapper. Backed with 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 the rapper “Best New Artist,” “Best Live Performer” and “Lyricist of the Year.”

Troubled Times

However, 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. The large rapper—at 6 feet and three inches, and tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds—said that he jumped whenever the door to his apartment building opened, fearing that someone might want to hurt him.

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, and when the rapper was one of the few hip-hop artists not to make an appearance at an anti-violence summit that was held in Harlem a few weeks later, the finger-pointing intensified.

Murder and Speculation

Shakur‘s death amplified Biggie‘s fears about his own life, and his concern was tragically validated on March 9, 1997. Biggie, who had just come out of the Soul Train Music Awards, was sitting in an SUV when another vehicle pulled up to his car, opened fire and killed him. Biggie was only 24 years old at the time.

For many fans, the murder was viewed as retaliation for Shakur‘s murder. Biggie‘s death shook the music world, prompting fears that the hip-hop world might erupt into a full-fledged war, ending numerous other lives. That didn’t happen, fortunately, but Biggie‘s friends, family and fans never received any answers regarding his death.

Legacy

Biggie‘s death came just as the rapper was about to put out his second album, Life After Death. In the wake of Biggie‘s killing, the record was a giant hit, selling nearly 700,000 copies in its first week. Two years laterBorn Again, an album of unreleased material from Biggie, was released. 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. Several musicians have paid tribute to Biggie by mentioning him in their songs, and his musical style has been emulated by countless up-and-coming artists. Undoubtedly, Biggie‘s talent as a writer and rapper will continue to be acknowledged for decades to come.

Download top hits by Biggie here:

DOWNLOAD: The Notorious B.I.G. – Mo Money Mo Problem

DOWNLOAD: The Notorious B.I.G. – Niggas Bleed

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