Brooklyn legend Biggie Smalls (also known as The Notorious B.I.G.) is widely considered one of the best emcees ever to touch a microphone who has left an imperishable legacy. Biggie Smalls had an exciting rise to fame during the mid-’90s, and at his peak, he was untouchable.
Born to Jamaican parents, the rapper (real name Christopher Wallace) was raised by his mother, Voletta Wallace, in the Clinton Hills area of Brooklyn. Raised on reggae music as well as funk and soul, Wallace grew up in Brooklyn during the late 1980s and early-’90s when the area was a musical hotspot and bustling hip-hop hub. During the 1980s, Brooklyn was home to iconic figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Tony Touch. That said, the borough was full of hidden gems, and Biggie was one of them.
During his formative years, Wallace saw his mother struggle to make ends meet and admitted he began dealing drugs at 12. However, this was a life-or-death hustle. With kids hedging bets and battling for money, Wallace quickly realised he was a skilled rhymer. As such, he began to take the art form seriously and ambitiously made a demo. Entitled Microphone Murderer, the tape spread like wildfire locally.
The various recordings eventually wound up in the hands of DJ Mister Cee. Cee was a highly influential New York tastemaker with associates across the city and beyond. With Biggie Smalls’ recordings receiving regular underground radio play, Wallace was swiftly picked up by Diddy, who signed him to Bad Boy Entertainment. This was when Wallace’s ascent to superstardom began.
Biggie was the face of New York during the ’90s and grew to become a multi-platinum artist. However, the ‘Juicy’ rapper, unfortunately, got caught up in the East Coast vs West Coast beef. For the most part, he didn’t engage with Tupac Shakur and continued to make quality music for his fans and to this day His 1994 album Ready To Die, is considered a classic. Wallace gave various interviews throughout his career and even performed on-camera raps. However, there was one freestyle that would end up being his last before his horrific 1997 murder. Below you can see the freestyle Biggie Smalls gave a week before his death.