Christopher George Latore Wallace was an American
rapper. He was popularly known as Biggie Smalls (after a character
in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again), Big Poppa, Frank White (after
the main character of the 1990 film King of New York), and by his
primary stage name The Notorious B.I.G.
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When
Wallace released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became
a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene and increased New
York's visibility at a time when West Coast artists were more common
in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood
friends to chart success through his protege group, Junior M.A.F.I.A..
While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in
the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud, dominating the scene at
the time. On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant
in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life
After Death, released 15 days later, hit #1 on the U.S. album charts
and was certified Diamond in 2000 (one of the few hip hop albums
to receive this certification). Wallace was noted for his "loose,
easy flow", dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling
abilities. Since his death, a further two albums have been released.
MTV ranked him at #3 on their list of The Greatest MCs (Rappers)
of All Time. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United