Notorious Big, mythical rap figure out of his time

Notorious Big (BIG) or Biggie Smalls, whose real name is Christopher Wallace, this rapper has built a real myth even after his death. Who is he ? What made Notorious Big (Biggie Smalls) more iconic than ever? Was it the line he left through his lyrics, or the underground culture he was able to impose in Brooklyn, New York, his hometown? What is certain is that he has inspired many cultures including underground, popular, Afro-American culture, Afro-Asian culture or Blasian culture, just like his “friend” and “rival” Tupac Shakur. Currently, Notorious Big (Biggie Smalls) has reincarnated in the Blasian clothing culture as the one that BDFLVL Gallery Concept Store has been able to impose across Europe and Africa. So, if the story of Notorious Big aka Biggie piques your mind, find out more details through this article.

Notorious BIG: how was its legend born?

Born Christopher Wallace, Notorious Big or Biggie Smalls is one of the rare rappers, alongside Tupac Shakur, to still be talked about even a quarter of a century after his death.

The infamous Biggie Smalls or Notorious Big is a unique case in the epic of music. Releasing just two albums, Notorious Big (Biggie Smalls) is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, and 25 years ago he became a lifelong legend after his assassination. In such a short time, he became an icon beyond the realm of music, even if he released few titles. If this descendant is made possible thanks to his incredible talent, his unique line, his unique charisma and his overwhelming influence, it is an impressive work on his heritage, whether musical or more broadly cultural.

It's no secret that the documentary titled Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, released on Netflix on March 1, 2021, a week and a few days after his assassination was commemorated (March 9, 1997). Produced by his mother and his producer Puff Daddy, this documentary is a fine emblem of their work to immortalize the New York rapper who has become a global icon, especially for African-Americans and Afro-Asians or Blasians.

Notorious Big, the pride of New York

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 7, 2020, Notorious Big aka Biggie Smalls and her friend and rival Tupac were the only hip-hop artists to receive such an honor. Tupac received his honor 3 years before Biggie Smalls or Notorious BIG (in 2017). It is therefore a rare honor for a rap and hip-hop artist. On occasion, his mentor and friend Puff Daddy said, "No one ever came close to Biggie's rap and sound. Tonight, the famous Notorious BIG (Biggie Smalls), the greatest rapper of all time was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, iconic figure of Brooklyn New York” . While Biggie has long been a global figure in pop culture, Puff Daddy describes him primarily as representing New York, and Brooklyn in particular.

Indeed, Notorious BIG (Biggie Smalls) was the representative of Brooklyn and New York during the golden age of rap, before the takeover of the South.

Against his will, Notorious BIG also represents the East-West conflict (East coast and west coast) which brutally shaped the 90s. Christopher Wallace was in fact the champion of his city, the best representative and the icon of New York . The fact that New York has since lost its grip on hip-hop culture only adds to the nostalgia for the days when it was unabashedly dominant. Biggie is New York and New York is Biggie forever and indefinitely, “ ad vitam æternam” .

From a musical heritage to a clothing heritage

This Brooklyn heritage takes many forms whether at home, in New York, or around the world through Bourgeois-bohemian or boho culture, in Blasian culture and Afro-Asian culture, or French-style Bobochic Bourgeois. . That's especially true for Notorious Big (Biggie Smalls) recurring City honors, as envisioned by the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. A special "City Series" jersey was marked by a performance by New York rapper Joey Bada$$, which draws a lot of inspiration from Biggie Smalls. The Nets also took advantage of the event to unveil a mural in honor of the late rapper, commissioned by local artist David Hollier. That same year, the corner of Fulton Street and St. James' Place in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where the rapper grew up, became a street named after him, the Christopher "Notorious Big" Wallace Way. Something the rapper will forever engrave in the history of his Brooklyn neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant. But not only them, the Viclambart designers also thought of sweatshirts and pants, mixed with the Blasian culture in honor of Notorious Big.

To understand what Biggie meant to his city in terms of rapping, and in particular the storm his death caused in the city, just ask Nas, the other great solo artist of that time in New York. Of Big's death, the New York artist said: “I was very sad when he died. His death left my mind in a sorry state. Me and Biggie were the greatest artists in New York.”

Biggie's shadow still hangs over New York, from tributes to JAY-Z concerts, NBA jerseys, murals and the street that bears his name. It's about both the huge influence on Notorious BIG (Biggie Smalls) and his desire to continue his legacy.

And for today's younger generation, who didn't know the rapper during his lifetime, it clearly helped create an icon that existed beyond his generation and the music, as evidenced by the style of dress. bearing his name “Notorious Big” in the BDFLVL Gallery concept Store collection, in streetwear styles, such as hoodies, pants, sweatshirts etc.

Tupac, a perfect enemy of Biggie in posterity

Arguing that the career of The Notorious Big aka Biggie Smalls would be completely different without his rivalry with Tupac is an exaggeration. If this clash considerably shortened his career, since he was probably behind the assassination, it was also he who took the career of the rapper from Brooklyn to a higher level in the media and cultural charts.

When they were still friends, Tupac and Biggie Smalls came to an opposite that everyone knows. What the public is perhaps less aware of is that the two artists were not of the same caliber at the time of this clash. Throughout his life, Tupac was a figure beyond music. He was, and still is, what Americans consider "larger than life." He's an utterly powerful pop culture icon, surpassed only by Michael Jackson in music today. And when we think of Tupac, we necessarily think of Biggie Smalls or Notorious Big.

It is clear that this association has contributed to creating the legend of the New York rapper in the eyes of the public, not necessarily a connoisseur of rap. If he has nothing to envy him musically, then Biggie is far from being as iconic as Tupac, especially since the latter met with commercial success before him and died before him. The fact that the story has linked them irreparably further solidifies Biggie's standing in posterity and underground culture. A status will not be possible with only two albums, as great as they are.

Notorious Big and his more successful posthumous career

Between the release of his first single, the title "Party and Bullshit" and his assassination, only 3 years and 9 months have passed. In this time frame, it is usually not possible to build a legendary career. But due to lack of time to shape a rich music scene, Notorious Big or Biggie Smalls would release the Ready To Die album and the Life After Death album, considered timeless and flawless classics. His career before that was quite different: his line was dense, but not perfect. However, this allowed to perpetuate his legend and to continue to create news around the artist. With 5 posthumous albums, a 2009 film, a series about his murder investigation and thus a recent Netflix documentary, a lot of content regarding the rapper's death has been created.

Death is the best marketing tool in the music industry. That of the career of Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious Big is the living example. This is a particularly sad fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. The infamous Notorious BIG is no stranger to it. Also, the series “Les Enquêtes extraordinaires” (The Unsolved Mysteries) is a very good example. Indeed, an episode devoted to the unsolved investigation into the murders of Tupac and The Notorious Big (Biggie Smalls) is available on Netflix. Seen by millions of people, this kind of documentary is unparalleled, creating a phenomenon in the blink of an eye. When they take an interest in artists already considered legends, they can only reinforce this position and, above all, bring their stories to the public without necessarily starting from the hip-hop culture of the 1990s.

On the musical level, the post-apocalyptic career of Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls, or Notorious Big) has been prolific for an artist who will ultimately bring in very little. It started a few months after his death, when
Puff Daddy released his first album No Way Out, in which we find 5 collaborations with Biggie Smalls. Among them, "I'll Be Missing You" a title in tribute to the deceased artist to whom Puff Daddy, the ex-wife of Biggie Smalls Faith Evans and 112 pay tribute to him.

This posthumous practice would continue until 2017 with the album The King and I featuring works by Notorious and Faith Evans as a duo. While the overall quality of all of these releases is clearly questionable, it's still a great way to build news around a proven name. And even if the public is not a customer of these posthumous releases, seeing the name of Biggie (Notorious Big) in the news could well make you want to come back to hear his monuments which are the album Ready To Die and the Life After Death album. And thus to bring its musical catalog to life.