‘Biggie Smalls is gone, but never forgotten’: Dem Rep raps ‘It Was All A Dream’ on House floor
New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries paid tribute to the Notorious B.I.G on the 20th anniversary of his death, March 9, 2017, while speaking on the House floor. He represents New York’s 8th congressional district in Brooklyn and Queens. Jeffries rapped the lyrics of “It Was All A Dream,” and referred to Biggie as the “King of New York.”
“He died 20 years ago today in a tragedy that occurred in Los Angeles. But his words live on forever. I’ve got the privilege of representing the district where Biggie Smalls was raised,” said Jeffries. “We know he went from negative to positive and emerged as one of the world’s most important hip-hop stars.”
“Biggie Smalls is gone, but never forgotten,” Jeffries said. “Rest in peace, Notorious B.I.G. Where Brooklyn At.”
20 years later, Biggie Smalls’ murder remains rap’s great mystery
After 20 years, the Mafia-style murder of Biggie Smalls remains one of the most baffling mysteries in rap history.
The Brooklyn-born hip-hop legend was shot dead by a bow-tied assassin March 9, 1997, while sitting in a green Chevy Suburban parked on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
He was struck with four GECO bullets — rare, metal-piercing 9mm ammo manufactured in Europe and sold only in certain California and New Jersey shops.
The drive-by hit was a major salvo in a brutal East Coast-West Coast rap feud that had claimed the life of Biggie’s rival Tupac Shakur six months earlier.
But investigators hit roadblock after roadblock as they pursued Biggie’s case. Months of dogged investigation turned into years, and then decades, despite even the FBI’s help.
The fact that her son’s murderer has yet to be caught continues to haunt Smalls’ mother, Voletta Wallace.
“It still hurts that nothing has been done,” Wallace, 64, told The Post on Tuesday.
Biggie was born Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, and grew up in Apartment 3L at 226 St. James Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
His mom, a Jamaican immigrant, worked as a school teacher. His dad abandoned the family when Biggie was young.
The chubby-faced boy was just 12 when he hit the corners selling crack to drifters in the neighborhood.
“My customers were ringing my bell, and they would come up on the steps and smoke right here,” Biggie told the New York Times from the family’s apartment in 1994.
The prepubescent drug-peddler was bright, eventually earning a spot at prestigious Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, which counts former Mayor Rudy Giuliani among its albums.
But formal education wasn’t his forte. Biggie soon switched to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School — which future rappers Jay Z and Busta Rhymes were attending. Then he dropped out altogether in favor of dealing drugs.
At 17, Biggie spent nine months in a North Carolina jail after getting busted for selling crack, adding to a list of previous arrests on drug and weapons raps.
It was by sheer luck that the troubled youth got attention for his rapping sideline.
In the late 1980s, he recorded himself rhyming over beats for fun. He used the name Biggie Smalls, after Calvin Lockhart’s gangster character in the 1975 flick “Let’s Do It Again.’’
At 6-foot-3 and nearing 300 pounds, Biggie’s new moniker seemed more than fitting.
One of his mixtapes landed on the desk of an editor at the hip-hop magazine The Source. The amateur recording quickly earned him recognition in the mag’s “Unsigned Hype” section in 1992.
Biggie’s poetic flow also caught the attention of another person.
Sean “Puffy” Combs, then working for Uptown Records, signed the budding artist to the label before bringing him over to his newly formed Bad Boy Records.
Biggie’s earliest official credits included a featured verse on Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love (Remix)” and a solo cut, “Party and Bulls–t,” off the soundtrack for the 1993 film “Who’s the Man?”
He released his debut album, “Ready to Die,” in September 1994.
But he had to work under a new stage name — he chose The Notorious B.I.G. — because Lockhart sued him over “Biggie Smalls.”
The 19-track album — which featured the hit singles “Juicy,” “One More Chance” and “Big Poppa” — would go on to sell more than 4 million copies.
Life was good for Biggie. A month earlier, he had married R&B singer Faith Evans.
Just as Biggie was getting his big break professionally, he was also forging a personal friendship with Tupac Shakur.
The pair met in 1993 in Los Angeles during a weed-fueled get-together at Tupac’s house. While partying, Tupac suddenly pulled out a bag of guns for entertainment, according to Dan Smalls, a former Uptown Records intern.
“So now, here we are, in this backyard running around with guns, just playing. Luckily, they were all unloaded,” Dan recalled in music magazine The Fader.
“While we were running around, ’Pac walks into the kitchen and starts cooking for us. He’s in the kitchen cooking some steaks. And we go into the kitchen, and he had steaks, and French fries, and bread and Kool-Aid, and we just sittin’ there eating and drinking and laughing.
“And you know, that’s truly where Big and ’Pac’s friendship started.”
Biggie and Tupac were soon hanging out whenever they were on the same coast, including at the now-epic “Where Brooklyn At” freestyle rap-off at Madison Square Garden.
Biggie was still a relative unknown, but Tupac, who stylized his stage name as 2Pac, was on the fast track to stardom.
The 22-year-old had already released two well-received albums, “2Pacalypse Now” and “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.,” and had a budding movie career after starring in “Juice” and “Poetic Justice” with Janet Jackson.
Within a year, the two rappers’ bond went bust.
Tupac took five bullets during a robbery at a Times Square recording studio, when Biggie and Combs were also present.
The wounded rapper immediately blamed the two men for orchestrating the attack.
“Fear got stronger than love, and n—as did things they weren’t supposed to do,” Tupac told Vibe magazine.
Biggie and Combs denied any involvement.
“I ain’t never did nothin’ wrong to Tupac, I ain’t never did nothin’ wrong to Faith, nothin’ wrong to Kim, nothin’ wrong to nobody,” said Biggie, who was rumored to have been cheating on Evans with his protégée, Lil’ Kim, according to The Source.
“And I kept quiet. I kept my mouth shut. I figure if I had been the one sittin’ here riffin’, it’d seem like I’d had a point to prove. I know I ain’t do nothin’ so it don’t make no sense for me to say nothin’, ” he said.
Biggie’s beef with Tupac — who was signed to Bad Boy’s nemesis, Death Row Records — simmered for years after the studio shooting, heating up the rap industry’s coastal rivalry.
In 1996, Tupac released the raunchy diss song “Hit ’Em Up,” in which he alluded to sleeping with Biggie’s wife, Evans.
“First off, f–k your bitch and the clique you claim. Westside when we ride, come equipped with game. You claim to be a player but I f—-d your wife. We bust on Bad Boys, n—as f—-d for life,” Tupac raps on the song.
As their feud raged, Biggie’s career continued to soar.
He produced a gold-certified debut album for his protégée group, Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose members included Lil’ Kim.
Biggie also worked with Bad Boy groups 112 and Total and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, on his 1995 album, “HIStory.”
Biggie’s debut album also earned a slew of awards such as Billboard’s Rap Artist of the Year and Rap Single of the Year.
On top of it all, he and Evans had a son, Christopher “CJ” Wallace Jr., in 1996. Biggie already had a 3-year-old daughter, T’yanna, with a different woman.
Yet Biggie couldn’t seem to escape trouble.
He was arrested numerous times after becoming famous, including for threatening to kill two fans and on weapons and drug-related charges.
Then Tupac was wounded in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 13, 1996, in Las Vegas. Six days later, the 25-year-old rapper died.
Evans told MTV News that her husband was distraught over the death — and she appeared to be laying the groundwork for an alibi should anyone think Biggie had a role in the killing.
“I know for a fact he was in Jersey,” she said of her husband. “He called me crying because he was in shock. I think it’s fair to say he was probably afraid, given everything that was going on at that time and all the hype that was put on this so-called beef that he didn’t really have in his heart against anyone.”
She later recalled that Biggie feared for his own life.
“I think it would be some element of fear that would kind of run through his mind, given the fact that his name was involved in a lot of the situations involving Tupac before his murder,” Evans said.
“He was already getting threatening phone calls. I’m sure for all he thought, he could be next. Which, ironically, months later, he lost his life as well.”
Biggie had dreamed of quitting the rap game altogether.
“I swear, it’s a headache,” he told The Source in 1997, shortly before his death. “Sometimes as of late, I’ve really been talkin’ about quittin’. I really want to stop. If I was financially stable, I would.”
Biggie was killed after attending a music industry party.
Witnesses described the murderer as a black man wearing a suit and bow tie and driving a Chevy Impala.
An autopsy released in 2012 showed that Biggie was struck four times but that only one bullet was fatal. That shot entered his right hip and tore through several organs before stopping in his left shoulder.
No arrests were ever made in his or Tupac’s murders.
Biggie is set to be posthumously heard with his widow on a duet record, “The King and I,” that will be released in May.
Johnny Depp also is on tap to star as the lead investigator in a film about the murder case, “Labyrinth.”
And Voletta Wallace is producing an upcoming documentary about her son, called “Notorious B.I.G.: One More Chance.”
She said her grandkids, CJ, 19, and T’yanna, 23, are carrying on their father’s legacy.
“My grandkids are beautiful,” she said. “They remind me of their father. Both of them are smart and strong.”
CJ lives in LA and is following in his father’s footsteps by studying music at college, she said. T’yanna lives in Bed-Stuy and works on a clothing line.
Wallace plans to honor her son at a Brooklyn Nets game March 12 — but said she will be keeping quiet on the actual anniversary of his slaying.
“His death is not something I want to celebrate,” she said. “But I am grateful to everyone who remembers him.”
She said that if her son had lived, he would have been pushing himself to the limit, no matter what.
“Either he’d be in jail or he might be a multimillionaire roaming the Earth and vacationing in Bora Bora,” she said.
But “whatever the world sees him as, I just see him as my son. He may not be here, but his memory is etched in me for life.”