The late Christopher Wallace, known to the world as The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie/Biggie Smalls, is often touted as one of the greatest rappers of all time. B.I.G. was involved in the streets as a teen in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. At 17, a brief stint in jail for selling drugs would push him to change his course, and he soon began his attempt at turning rapping into a career. With his unique wordplay, charismatic wit and laidback flow, he quickly garnered a local buzz, and his demo tape landed in the hands of popular DJ Mister Cee. Cee was so impressed with the then 19-year-old, that he secured Big a feature in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype, sparking the interest of Uptown Entertainment A&R Sean Puffy Combs. Puffy brought Big in and signed him to Uptown, but it wasn’t long after that Puffy lost his job there. Undeterred, Puff launched Bad Boy Entertainment, and was able to convince Big to sign with him. Biggie would appear on two Mary J. Blige singles that year, before releasing his own, Party and Bullshit. In 1994, his award-winning debut album Ready to Die was released, selling over one million units and solidifying his place within hip-hop’s elite. He’d later lend his star power to launch his group, Junior M.A.F.I.A., sparking the solo careers of Lil Kim and Lil Cease. By 1997, the East Coast-West Coast feud was at its height, and Biggie was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9. Just 16 days later, his sophomore effort, Life After Death, was released as a double-disc, immediately hitting number one on the Billboard 200. Today, B.I.G.’s US sales exceed 17 million, and his unsolved murder remains one of hip-hop’s darkest mysteries.

Biggie Smalls: You know not really. I mean when Puffy asked me to do this he told me to take my life and put it into an album you know what I'm saying. That's what I did and that's what I'm going to continue to do. I mean I'm not saying anything wrong, I'm just telling the truth you know what I'm saying. The truth hurts, and that's just the way it has to be. I mean my music has a sticker on it so anybody underage shouldn't really have it. If they do have it, they have it because they like it and they understand it, or they just want to be disobedient, one of the two. I don't really think I have to watch what I say. I have the foulest mouth in hip hop to me.
Speaker 1: Yeah for real and you know you've got explicit lyrics and explicit content on the album. People may not always see the positivity, you want to tell them where it is?
Biggie Smalls: The positivity is me making the money to take care of my child and my mother, and my people. That's the positivity, and also opening the door for other rappers that may have wanted to do it, but were just scared to death. Opening the eyes to labels you know what I'm saying, that this was not try to let rappers come out because they were too hard core.
Speaker 1: What kind of shot was that man? That was weak.
Biggie Smalls: Yeah you know, I got to chalk up you know.
Speaker 1: [Laughs].
Biggie Smalls: Well I think you have seven balls on the table.
Speaker 1: Okay all right. Don't even go there, don't go there, don't go there.
All right, because money's the bottom line.
Biggie Smalls: In my eye?
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Biggie Smalls: No. Not everything. I think the strength, the strength of it. The power, like when you've go the power, you can get all the money, or you just need the strength behind it you know what I'm saying. We was broke. My clique was broke, and we were just moving like we had money, and it was enough to get us over to we got money you know what I'm saying. You don't need a million to look like a million, you know what I'm saying. So you don't really need the money but like I was saying man, it's so hard growing up in the hood. People don't really understand. Everybody got their mom and their pop, and they got their Catholic schools, and they got their brothers, and their little dog Scruffy in the backyard, but it's not like that in Brooklyn.
Speaker 1: How was it in Brooklyn?
Biggie Smalls:It's hard, hard. Sardines, sardines for dinner. Black and white TV's. No dog, no fish [laughs].
Speaker 1: You've got shadow dogs.
Biggie Smalls: Yeah, you know what I'm saying. Imaginary friends.
Speaker 3: You know what's cool.
Biggie Smalls: Remember those?
Speaker 3: When I was going to school.
Biggie Smalls: Remember those imaginary friends? It was real. Oh good.
Speaker 1: It's all good except my shooting.
Biggie Smalls: Yeah anytime you're ready to just put a ball in the whole, I'm with you.
Speaker 1: It's the cue, Big.
Biggie Smalls: Yeah, uh-huh (affirmative).
Speaker 1: It's the cue.
Biggie Smalls: The cue, the table.
Speaker 1: The lights too, Big.
Biggie Smalls: The lights, my load, Big.
Speaker 1: [Laughs].

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