More About Notorious B.I.G.b. Christopher Wallace, 21 May 1972, New York, USA, d. 9 March 1997, Los Angeles, California, USA. A large, imposing figure in contemporary rap before his murder in 1997, Wallace grew up in the tough district of Bedford-Stuyvesant, in Brooklyn, New York. He soon graduated to a life modelled on the activities of those around him, selling drugs and acting as a teenage lookout. He first rapped, under the name Biggie Smalls, as part of the neighbourhood group the Old Gold Brothers. He also experimented with his own demo recordings, a copy of which was eventually passed to Mister Cee, Big Daddy Kane's DJ. Cee passed the demo on to The Source, America's bestselling rap periodical, which gave it a glowing review in its "Unsigned Hype" column. This attracted the attention of Sean "Puffy" Combs of Bad Boy Entertainment, who signed Wallace. Having now adopted the stage name Notorious B.I.G., Wallace made his recording debut in 1993 backing Mary J. Blige on "Real Love". He also made a guest appearance on Supercat's "Dolly My Baby".
His first solo effort was "Party And Bullshit", included on the soundtrack to the movie Who's The Man. His debut album followed in 1994. Ready To Die became a major hit thanks to the inclusion of singles such as "Juicy", "One More Chance" and "Big Poppa", the latter a US Top 10 hit which was voted Billboard's rap single of the year. He scooped a number of end-of-year awards in The Source, as the album achieved platinum sales. He went to the UK to support R. Kelly at Wembley Stadium in London, and also guested on Michael Jackson's HIStory - Past, Present And Future Book 1. However, despite his elevation to such exalted company, Notorious B.I.G. never left the ghetto behind. He formed M.A.F.I.A. with some of his former hustler colleagues, releasing an album, Conspiracy, in 1995. He was also involved in sundry episodes involving violence, such as a fracas with a promoter in New Jersey and his attempt to take a baseball bat to autograph hunters (for which he received a 100 hours' community service sentence).
He was also involved in a running feud with rapper 2Pac, who was convinced of B.I.G.'s involvement in a 1994 robbery in which he was injured. Their disagreement soon festered into a bitter feud between the east and west coast American rap scenes. When 2Pac was murdered, B.I.G.'s non-attendance at a rap peace summit in Harlem was widely criticized. Instead he began work on a second album, entitled, prophetically, Life After Death. Its cover featured the rapper standing next to a hearse with the number plate B.I.G. He never lived to see its official release. He was gunned down after leaving a party in California in March 1997. Subsequent conjecture indicated that his murder may have been in retaliation for 2Pac's killing. Issued three weeks later, Life After Death went straight to the top of the US charts. Two years later the Notorious B.I.G. was back at the top of the charts with Born Again, a motley collection of unreleased material.