09 March 2011

Remembering Notorious B.I.G.

Today marks the day rapper Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-by shooting following a Soul Train Awards party in 1997. The killing was believed to be in retaliation for the death of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas in September 1996. B.I.G., who was born Christopher Wallace, was 24.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT NOTORIOUS B.I.G At the Queen of All Saints Middle School, Biggie actually excelled in class, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed "Big" because of his size before he turned ten years old.

Biggie attended the George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, where Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes were also students. At 17, Biggie dropped out of high school.

Biggie was arrested in 1989, 1990 and 1991 – at which point he spent nine months in prison in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine. Biggie stood at 6'3" and weighed between 300 and 380 pounds by varying accounts.

By the end of 1995, Biggie was the top-selling male solo artist and rapper on the U-S pop and R&B charts.

In July 1995, Biggie appeared on the cover of The Source with the caption "The King of New York Takes Over." At the Source Awards, he was named Best New Artist, Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and his debut LP won for Album of the Year. At the Billboard Awards, he was named Rap Artist of the Year.

In June 1996, former friend Tupac Shakur released "Hit 'Em Up," a song in which he claimed to have had sex with Biggie's wife, Faith Evans.

On October 29, 1996, Faith gave birth to Biggie's first son, Christopher "CJ" Wallace, Jr.

During the recording sessions for his second record, Biggie was in a car crash that shattered his left leg and temporarily confined him to a wheelchair. The injury forced him to use a cane for the rest of his life.

Biggie’s double-disc set, Life After Death, which was released 15 days after his murder, hit number one on the U-S album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, making it the highest-selling solo hip hop album.

Since his death, Biggie's lyrics have been sampled and quoted by a variety of hip hop, R&B and pop artists including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Nas, Fat Joe, Nelly, Pharrell Williams, Lil' Wayne, Ludacris, Big Pun, Beanie Sigel, Juelz Santana, Usher, Ashanti, Alicia Keys and Nelly Furtado.

The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation holds an annual black-tie dinner called B.I.G. Night Out to raise funds for children's school equipment and supplies and to honor the memory of the late rapper. "B.I.G." is also said to stand for "Books Instead of Guns."

Facts compiled from FoxSearchlight.com
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