Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), popularly known as Biggie Smalls (after a gangster in the 1975 film Let’s Do It Again), Big Poppa, Frank White (from the film King of New York), and his primary stage name, The Notorious B.I.G. (Business Instead of Game), was an American rapper and hip hop artist.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Biggie grew up during the peak years of the 1980s crack epidemic and started dealing drugs from an early age. When he debuted with the 1994 album Ready to Die, he was a central figure in East Coast hip-hop and increased New York’s viability at a time when the genre was mostly dominated by West Coast artists. The following year, Biggie led his childhood friends to chart success through his protÃ©gÃ© group, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
While recording his sophomore album, Biggie was heavily involved in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud dominating the scene at the time. On March 9, 1997, he was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released fifteen days later, hit #1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified diamond in 2000. Biggie was noted for his “loose, easy flow”, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Since his death, a further two albums have been released and he has been described by the media as one of the greatest rappers.