May 21: On this day in history, rap legend Biggie Smalls is born to Jamaican parents

‘I love it when you call me Big Papa! Throw your hands in the air, if you’s a true player’ (Photo: Biography.com)

Notorious B.I.G. may have lived a short life but his music has transcended generations and he’s still ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all time.

On what would have been his 48th birthday, BUZZ presents some interesting tidbits about Biggie Smalls:

  • The rapper was born Christopher George Latore Wallace in Brooklyn, New York on May 21, 1978, to Jamaican parents Selwyn Latore, a welder and Voletta Wallace, a preschool teacher. He was the child born out of the relationship and the elder Latore left the family when Christopher was a toddler.
  • Over his career, B.I.G released two critically acclaimed studio albums, Ready to Die (in 1994) and Life After Death (in 1997). The rapper also has two projects released posthumously, Born Again (in 1999) as well as Duets: The Final Chapter (in 2005).
  • Biggie Smalls was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, earlier in 2020
  • Rolling Stone and Billboard have both ranked the MC as the greatest rapper of all time.
  • Not wanting to stain his memory and dedicating the project to his fans, Bad Boy Records released Wallace’s double-disc second album, Life After Death, as planned. The album, which came out sixteen days after his death, hit number one on the Billboard 200 charts. It gained strong reviews and in 2000 was certified Diamond, the highest RIAA certification awarded to a solo hip hop album.
  • The records continued to tumble as Hypnotize and Mo Money Mo Problems contributed to his biggest success on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Both singles reached number one on the Hot 100, and made Wallace the first artist to achieve this feat posthumously. What’s more, Hypnotize was the last music video recording in which Wallace took part in before he was assassinated.
  • He had two children T’yanna and C.J Wallace and was married to R&B songstress Faith Evans for three years.

Rest well, Biggie, still the greatest to ever hit the mic. Period.