10 Things You May Not Know About Notorious B.I.G.
A lot has been said about the late great Notorious B.I.G., a man whose life was as large as his frame and whose lyrical prowess is well-documented in hip-hop history books. But how well do you know Big Poppa? In commemoration of the 14th anniversary of Biggie's death, here are some interesting things you probably didn't know about the late icon.
10. He Had Several Stage Monikers: Artists typically go through a laundry list of monikers in the early stages of their careers. Christopher Wallace changed his name more times than Lil Kim changed her nose. Biggie started out as M.C. Quest, and later adopted Biggie Smalls after a character in the 1975 Sidney Poitier/Bill Cosby flick Let's Do It Again.
When another rapper claimed he had the name first, he became Notorious B.I.G. But he loves it when you call him Big Poppa.
9. His Jamaican Roots: Biggie's parents were Jamaican immigrants. His Jamaican heritage, punctuated by his mom's thick accent, was often a source of ridicule in his childhood. His father wasn't around to witness any of it - he left when Biggie was a 14-month baby.
8. His Pen Game: Contrary to popular belief, Biggie didn't always rhyme off the top. He kept a rhyme book handy at the beginning of his career. Shortly after signing a record deal with Bad Boy, Big Poppa ditched his notepad and retired his pen for the rest of his abbreviated career.
7. The Commission: Before his sudden death, Big envisioned a hip-hop supergroup dubbed The Commission. The crew would have comprised of B.I.G, Jay-Z and Charli Baltimore.
6. Turn Me Up: You always hear stories about music celebs making ridiculous studio demands: Bubbly delivered by angels, a blunt rolled by God himself. All Biggie wanted was for his mike levels to be turned all the way up. "That was his biggest complaint," says Easy Mo Bee, Biggie's longtime friend and collaborator.