Born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, the Notorious B.I.G. led a very short but very successful career that left him as one of the most influential rappers in the game. Being murdered shortly after hitting his peak as a musical artist, we celebrate the legend for his contributions to music and aiding in solidifying Hip-Hop as a major force in popular culture.
Although involved in a life of crime during his teenage years, Biggie was always an entertainer. He would rap on the streets and with local rap groups. After being released from a jail sentence, he released a mixtape that DJ Mister Cee began promoting. Eventually, an editor from the legendary hip hop magazine, The Source, heard the mixtape and Biggie was featured in the March 1992 Unsigned Hype column. This lead to that A &R from Uptown Records, aka Puff Daddy, discovering the rapper and eventually meeting with him to discuss a record deal. Unfortunately, Puff Daddy was fired from Uptown Records shortly after, but went on to create his own label, Bad Boy Records. Believing in his talent and capabilities, he signed Biggie.
1993 brought Biggie some clout with the increasing success of Puff’s record label as well as features on very notable songs. Take “Flava in Ya Ear” remix for example. Also “Real Love” and “What’s the 411?” by Mary J. Blige. These hits alone placed Biggie on the Billboard charts without any solo material. The following year was the turning point for the emcee’s career. His song, “Juicy/Unbelievable” went on to be number 27 on the Billboard charts.
His first album Ready to Die was released later that year and went on to become certified four times Platinum. This album was a pivotal moment of bringing the focus of hip hop back to East Coast artists – as West Coast rappers were receiving a lot of recognition. In 1995, Biggie went on to record Conspiracy, his album with group Junior M.A.F.I.A., was on the cover of The Source, won The Source Awards Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and Album of the Year, and won the Billboard Awards Rap Artist of the Year.
The following years saw some trouble for The Notorious B.I.G. with the heated rivalry between him and Tupac, the death of Tupac, a car accident that left Biggie in a wheel chair for a little bit, and some legal issues. On March 9th, 1997, Biggie was murdered in Los Angeles after returning from a party. His album Life After Death was released shortly after on March 25th. Biggie’s influence and rap credibility still reigns supreme when discussing East Coast rap, 90’s Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop/Rap overall.
Also, if you’re interested in saving the mural of Biggie located on Bedford and Quincy Street, you can find out more about it and sign the petition here.