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									Notorious B.I.G. went from a Brooklyn street hustler to East Coast hip-
hop to a tragic victim of the culture of violence he depicted so
realistically on his records. In a short lived spot, and rise to fame, an
all to premature time of death almost immediately took on mythic
proportions, especially since his murder followed the shooting of rival
Tupac Shakur by only six months. In death, the man also known as Biggie
Smalls became a symbol of the senseless violence that plagued inner-city
America in the waning years of the 20th century. Whether or not his death
was really the result of a much-publicized feud between the East and West
Coast hip-hop scenes, it did mark the point where both sides stepped back
from a inner city rivalry that had gotton too far out of hand.The Hip-hop
image would never be quite the same, and neither would public perception.
The aura of martyrdom that surrounds the Notorious B.I.G. sometimes
threatens to overshadow his musical legacy, which was actually quite
significant. Helped by Sean "Puffy" Combs' radio-friendly sensibility,
Biggie re-established East Coast rap's viability by leading it into the
post-Dr. Dre gangsta age. Where fellow East Coasters the Wu-Tang Clan
slowly built an underground following, Biggie crashed onto the charts and
became a star right out of the box. In the process, he helped Combs' Bad
Boy label supplant Death Row as the biggest hip-hop imprint in America,
and also paved the way to popular success for other East Coast talents
like Jay-Z and Nas. Biggie was a gifted storyteller with a sense of humor
and an eye for detail, and his narratives about the often violent life of
the streets were rarely romanticized; instead, they were told with a
gritty, objective realism that won him enormous respect and credibility.
The general consensus in the rap community was that when his life was cut
short, sadly, Biggie was just getting started. The Notorious B.I.G. was
born Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, and grew up in Brooklyn's
Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. He was interested in rap from a young
age, performing with local groups like the Old Gold Brothers and the
Techniques, the latter of which brought the teenaged Wallace his first
trip to a recording studio. He had already adopted the name Biggie Smalls
at this point, a reference to his ample frame, which would grow to be
over six feet tall and nearly 400 pounds. Although he was a good student,
he dropped out of high school at age 17 to live his life on the streets.
Attracted by the money and flashy style of local drug dealers, he started
selling crack for a living. He got busted on a trip to North Carolina and
spent nine months in jail, and upon his release, he made some demo
recordings on a friend's four-track. The resulting tape fell into the
hands of Mister Cee, a DJ working with Big Daddy Kane; Cee in turn passed
the tape on to hip-hop magazine The Source, which gave Biggie a positive
write-up in a regular feature on unsigned artists. Thanks to the
publicity, Biggie caught the attention of Uptown Records producer Sean
"Puffy" Combs, who signed him immediately. With his new daughter in need
of immediate financial support, Biggie kept dealing drugs for a short
time until Combs found out and laid down the law. Not long after Biggie's
signing, Combs split from Uptown to form his own label, Bad Boy, and took
Biggie with him. Changing his primary stage name from Biggie Smalls to
the Notorious B.I.G., the newly committed rapper made his recording debut
on a 1993 remix of Mary J. Blige's single "Real Love." He soon guested on
another Blige remix, "What's the 411?," and contributed his first solo
cut, "Party and Bullshit," to the soundtrack of the film Who's the Man?.
Now with a considerable underground buzz behind him, the Notorious B.I.G.
delivered his debut album, Ready to Die, in September 1994. Its lead
single, "Juicy," went gold, and the follow-up smash, "Big Poppa,"
achieved platinum sales and went Top Ten on the pop and R&B charts.
Biggie's third single, "One More Chance," tied Michael Jackson's "Scream"
for the highest debut ever on the pop charts; it entered at number five
en route to an eventual peak at number two, and went all the way to
number one on the R&B side. By the time the dust settled, Ready to Die
had sold over four million copies and turned the Notorious B.I.G. into a
hip-hop sensation -- the first major star the East Coast had produced
since the rise of Dr. Dre's West Coast G-funk. Music download
here:http://onlinebus1.gamecity.hop.clickbank.net/Not long after Ready to
Die was released, Biggie married R&B singer and Bad Boy labelmate Faith
Evans. In November 1994, West Coast gangsta star Tupac Shakur was shot
several times in the lobby of a New York recording studio and robbed of
thousands of dollars in jewelry. Shakur survived and accused Combs and
his onetime friend Biggie of planning the attack, a charge both of them
fervently denied. The ill will gradually snowballed into a heated rivalry
between West and East Coast camps, with upstart Bad Boy now challenging
Suge Knight's Death Row empire for hip-hop supremacy. Meanwhile, Biggie
turned his energies elsewhere. He shepherded the career of Junior
M.A.F.I.A., a group consisting of some of his childhood rap partners, and
guested on their singles "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money." He also
boosted several singles by his labelmates, such as Total's "Can't You
See" and 112's "Only You," and worked with superstars like Michael
Jackson (HIStory) and R. Kelly ("[You to Be] Happy," from R. Kelly). With
the singles from Ready to Die still burning up the airwaves as well,
Biggie ended 1995 as not only the top-selling rap artist, but also the
biggest solo male act on both the pop and R&B charts. He also ran into
trouble with the law on more than one occasion. A concert promoter
accused Biggie and members of his entourage of assaulting him when he
refused to pay the promised fee after a concert cancellation. Later in
the year, Biggie pled guilty to criminal mischief after attacking two
harassing autograph seekers with a baseball bat. 1996 proved to be an
even more tumultuous year. More legal problems ensued after police found
marijuana and weapons in a raid on Biggie's home in Teaneck, NJ.
Meanwhile, Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Kim released her first solo
album under Biggie's direction, and the two made little effort to
disguise their concurrent love affair. 2Pac, still nursing a grudge
against Biggie and Combs, recorded a vicious slam on the East Coast scene
called "Hit 'Em Up," in which he taunted Biggie about having slept with
Faith Evans (who was by now estranged from her husband). What was more,
during the recording sessions for Biggie's second album, he suffered
rather serious injuries in a car accident and was confined to a
wheelchair for a time. Finally, in September 1996, Tupac Shakur was
murdered in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas strip. Given their very
public feud, it didn't take long for rumors of Biggie's involvement to
start swirling, although none were substantiated. Biggie was also
criticized for not attending an anti-violence hip-hop summit held in
Harlem in the wake of Shakur's death. Observers hoped that Shakur's
murder would serve as a wake-up call for gangsta rap in general, that on-
record boasting had gotten out of hand and spilled into reality. Sadly,
it would take another tragedy to drive that point home. In the early
morning hours of March 9, 1997, the Notorious B.I.G. was leaving a party
at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, thrown by Vibe magazine
in celebration of the Soul Train Music Awards. He sat in the passenger
side of his SUV, with his bodyguard in the driver's seat and Junior
M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Cease in the back. According to most witnesses,
another vehicle pulled up on the right side of the SUV while it was
stopped at a red light, and 6-10 shots were fired. Biggie's bodyguard
rushed him to the nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but it was already
too late. As much as Shakur was mourned, Biggie's death was perhaps even
more shocking; it meant that Shakur's death was not an isolated incident,
and that hip-hop's highest-profile talents might be caught in the middle
of an escalating war. Naturally, speculation ran rampant that Biggie's
killers were retaliating for Shakur's death, and since the case remains
unsolved, the world may never know for sure. In the aftermath of the
tragedy, the release of the Notorious B.I.G.'s second album went ahead as
planned at the end of March. The eerily titled Life After Death was a
sprawling, guest-laden double-disc set that seemed designed to compete
with 2Pac's All Eyez on Me in terms of ambition and epic scope.
Unsurprisingly, it entered the charts at number one, selling nearly
700,000 copies in its first week of release and spending a total of four
weeks on top. The first single, "Hypnotize," went platinum and hit number
one on the pop charts, and its follow-up, "Mo Money Mo Problems,"
duplicated both feats, making the Notorious B.I.G. the first artist ever
to score two posthumous number one hits. A third single, "Sky's the
Limit," went gold, and Life After Death was certified ten times platinum
approximately two years after its release. Plus, Combs -- now
rechristened Puff Daddy -- and Faith Evans scored one of 1997's biggest
singles with their tribute, "I'll Be Missing You." In 1999, an album of
previously unreleased B.I.G. material, Born Again, was released and
entered the charts at number one. It eventually went double platinum. Six
years later, Duets: The Final Chapter (studio scraps paired with new
verses from several MCs and vocalists) surfaced and reached number three
on the album chart. Download Music
here:http://onlinebus1.gamecity.hop.clickbank.net/In the years following
Christopher Wallace's death, little official progress was made in the
LAPD's murder investigation, and it began to look as if the responsible
parties would never be brought to justice. The 2Pac retaliation theory
still holds sway in many quarters, and it has also been speculated that
members of the Crips gang murdered Wallace in a dispute over money owed
for security services. In an article for Rolling Stone, and later a full
book titled Labyrinth, journalist Randall Sullivan argued that Suge
Knight hired onetime LAPD officer David Mack -- a convicted bank robber
with ties to the Bloods -- to arrange a hit on Wallace, and that the
gunman was a hitman and mortgage broker named Amir Muhammad. Sullivan
further argued that when it became clear how many corrupt LAPD officers
were involved with Death Row Records, the department hushed up as much as
it could and all but abandoned detective Russell Poole's investigation
recommendations. Documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield used Labyrinth as
a basis for 2002's Biggie and Tupac, which featured interviews with Poole
and Knight, among others. In April 2002, Faith Evans and Voletta Wallace
(Biggie's mother) filed a civil suit against the LAPD alleging wrongful
death, among other charges. In September of that year, the L.A. Times
published a report alleging that the Notorious B.I.G. had paid members of
the Crips one million dollars to murder 2Pac, and even supplied the gun
used. Several of Biggie's relatives and friends stepped forward to say
that the rapper had been recording in New Jersey, not masterminding a hit
in Las Vegas; the report was also roundly criticized in the hip-hop. His
records still are tops in the music ratings today. Down load

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