This Day in Black History: May 21, 1972

Hip-hop icon Christopher Wallace, later known as the rapper Notorious B.I.G., was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Posted: 05/21/2012 07:00 AM EDT

Christopher Wallace, who would go on to be known as the rapper Notorious B.I.G, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Known for his semi-autobiographical storytelling and distinct flow, Wallace started rapping as a teenager. He eventually made his recording debut on Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records in 1994, putting out the now iconic album Ready to Die, which would go on to sell more than four million copies.


Wallace’s run-ins with the law and involvement in the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud of the mid-'90s would cast a dark shadow over his promising career. Tragically, his life was cut short on March 9, 1997, when he was killed at the age of 24 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His murder remains unsolved. On March 25, 1997, his final album, Life After Death, was released posthumously and hit No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.

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