The problem Biggie Smalls’ mother had with his music
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The problem Biggie Smalls' mother had with his music

Biggie Smalls was a legendary emcee who produced two groundbreaking projects during his career. His 1994 debut album, Ready To Die, and the posthumous body of work, Life After Death, both received critical acclaim. However, years following his tragic demise, the emcee’s mother, Voletta Wallace, admitted that she didn’t like some things about her son’s material.  

The late rapper (real name Christopher Wallace) was the son of Jamaican immigrants who moved to New York City in the 1960s, with Biggie born and raised in the Clinton Hill neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Although the area had a lot of characters with questionable motives, the lyricist’s mom was somewhat of a maternal figure in the eyes many of the kids who grew up alongside Wallace in the area. 

Voletta Wallace was a teacher who taught at local pre-schools and elementary schools and was known as a caring, loving woman. Although Biggie Smalls was friends with a lot of locals who had dropped out of school for the majority of his educational journey he was a straight-A student. In a 2004 interview with VIBE magazine his mother recalled, “Christopher did very well in high school; it’s just that he talked back a lot. He was a smart-ass.”

Biggie even went to a Catholic school. However, eventually, the people surrounding him convinced him to become a drug dealer. However, it wasn’t a necessity. Unlike many around him, Wallace wasn’t using the money to help his family get by. In fact, his hustle was so unrelated to his family’s financial circumstances his mother didn’t even know he was selling crack until he gave interviews to magazines and started releasing music.

Prior to his 1997 murder, in 1994, Biggie’s mother told The New York Times, “I found out about my son and his little antics through his music and through magazines. I read this thing and said, ‘Huh? I never knew.'”

Biggie began rapping after he left school at 17 and was often seen on Brooklyn’s iconic Fulton Street, a road many hip-hop greats used to frequent before fame. However, unbeknownst to many, some of his raps didn’t reflect his reality, and his anger wasn’t a culmination of any extreme struggle or abuse. 

Following the recording of his legendary demo Microphone Murderer and the creation of local buzz built from street freestyles, Wallace exploded and was quickly on the covers of magazines and rolling with Diddy (formerly known as Puff Daddy).

As such, Voletta Wallace was the mother of a celebrity, and as her son became more affluent, so did she. However, she wasn’t a fan of some things her son was saying on the microphone and found some of his stories strange.

In the 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac, Voletta Wallace reflected on her son’s legacy and discussed some of his most legendary songs, one of which was ‘Juicy’. Unfortunately, she wasn’t a fan of the song when it was first released.

Explaining why it bothered her, Biggie’s mother asserted that the emcee was never poverty-stricken and lived a comfortable life. Unlike other rappers, her son’s house was far from abusive, and they were never broke. As such, she stated, “To me, that’s a part of an alter-ego. That’s the rags-to-riches person that he wants to sing about. In all my son’s life, my son left my home when he was 20, and there was not one single second when I didn’t have food on my table.” 

Although Biggie Smalls was definitely not rich, Voletta Wallace has since confirmed that some of the tracks on Ready To Die and Life After Death had embellishments.