It’s been over two decades since the murder of Notorious B.I.G, but his legacy remains alive through his music and grown-up kids, who have made sure to preserve their dad’s name while working on their projects.
Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G, was one of the most representative rappers of East Coast hip-hop culture. His music increased New York City's visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip-hop dominated the mainstream.
During his younger days, Wallace began selling drugs at the age of 12, before stepping up his game after quitting school. This got him into trouble with the law, and he received a five-year probationary sentence in 1989 after being arrested on weapons possession charges.
Notorious BIG attends the 1995 Billboard Music Awards, New York. | Source: Getty Images
HIS MUSIC INDUSTRY BEGINNINGS
In succeeding years after his first run-in with the law, he was arrested a couple more times, even spending nine months in jail while waiting to make bail. After getting out, he decided to make a demo tape under the alias "Biggie Smalls."
Although he started rapping as a teenager to entertain people in his neighborhood, he never really had plans to pursue a career in music. However, his tape found its way to The Source magazine, and, impressed, they featured him on their Unsigned Hype column in 1992.
WORKING WITH DIDDY
After the feature, Biggie was invited to record with other unsigned rappers. This caught the attention of Sean "Diddy" Combs, an A&R executive and producer who worked for Uptown Records. He arranged a deal for Biggie but soon after left the label.
Combs went on to set up his own Bad Boy Records, and in the middle of 1992, Biggie joined him. As he worked on music for his debut album, Biggie Smalls met Tupac. He ended up mentoring Biggie whenever they saw each other.
Biggie, who was then already known as The Notorious B.I.G., then asked Tupac to be his manager. He declined, asking him to stay with Combs whom Tupac believed would make him a star.
Unfortunately, Biggie was actually concerned about money, as in August 1993, he became a dad to T'yanna, his daughter with his high school sweetheart Jan. He reportedly went back to drug dealing at the time, but Combs made him stop.
SURVIVED BY HIS KIDS
Sadly, his life was cut short in March 1997, when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. To this day, the case remains unsolved, and no arrests were made concerning his death. He was 24 years old and a father of two at the time of the crime.
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE
T’yanna and C.J. were too young to understand the magnitude of their father’s legacy, but now that they are adults, both siblings are working hard to leave their mark in the world while keeping Notorious’ name alive.
Although both his children opted to go a different route when it came to their careers, they still make sure to keep their father's legacy alive, especially with his life tragically cut short at just 24.
T’yanna, a Penn State College graduate, is the owner and creator of Notoriouss, a boutique clothing store in Brooklyn, New York. Every piece she puts out pays homage to the late rapper, whether it's with his lyrics, pics or his name. She shared:
“I wanted to do something where I could keep his name alive and also have me included in it.”
C.J. AND THE SPOTLIGHT
T’yanna also stated that she couldn’t be prouder of her late father for leaving his mark on the world at such a young age. She hopes to do the same on her own terms.
And while T’yanna prefers to lead a business out of the spotlight and the media attention, her brother C.J. inherited Notorious’ love for the flashes, the cameras, and the music.
C.J.'S NUMEROUS PROJECTS
C.J. was only five months old when his dad died, but he decided to follow in his footsteps into the entertainment industry. He is an actor, having starred on numerous projects like "Notorious" and "Scream."
He is also a businessman, having founded a cannabis company called "Think Big." The company aims to introduce plant-based products that can be used for curiosity, creativity, contemplation, and healing.
FOLLOWING HIS DAD'S FOOTSTEPS
“We’re taking the music more seriously now. We go by C.J. and Jahad. He’s a producer, and he sings and raps, and I rap.”
Even after two decades, Notorious B.I.G is still considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. Now, C.J. and T'yanna can't help but be proud to be his kids as they continue to keep his legacy alive.
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