The Notorious B.I.G. Biography
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York's visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification.Wallace was noted for his "loose, easy flow", dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Two more albums have been released since his death. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States.
During the recording sessions for his second album, tentatively named "Life After Death... 'Til Death Do Us Part", later shortened to Life After Death, Wallace was involved in a car accident that shattered his left leg and temporarily confined him to a wheelchair. The injury forced him to use a cane. He and Lil' Cease were arrested for smoking marijuana in public and had their car repossessed. Wallace chose a Chevrolet Lumina rental SUV as a substitute, despite Lil' Cease's objections. The vehicle had brake problems before the accident but Wallace dismissed them.According to Lil' Cease, Wallace's leg was shattered when they hit a rail along with Lil's Cease's jaw. Wallace spent months in a hospital following the accident and had to complete therapy. Despite his hospitalization, he continued to work on the album. The accident was referred to in the lyrics of "Long Kiss Goodnight": "Ya still tickle me, I used to be as strong as Ripple be / Til Lil' Cease crippled me."
In January 1997, Wallace was ordered to pay US$41,000 in damages following an incident involving a friend of a concert promoter who claimed Wallace and his entourage beat him up following a dispute in May 1995. He faced criminal assault charges for the incident which remains unresolved, but all robbery charges were dropped. Following the events of the previous year, Wallace spoke of a desire to focus on his "peace of mind". "My mom... my son... my daughter... my family... my friends are what matters to me now".