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#VitalFactz: Rest In Peace - The Notorious B.I.G.

It was 21 years ago today on a Sunday morning that the Hip Hop industry suffered yet another tragic loss as the 24 year old Brooklyn, NYC native Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Nororious B.I.G. was gunned down in Los Angeles. This shooting would happen just 6 months after the fatal shooting of fellow NYC native Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas. To this day both murders remain unsolved. Wallace first made a name for himself as a freestyle BEAST in Bedford-Stuyvesant where he grew up & hustled to support himself & his young daughter. Needless to say this didn't sit too well in his mother's stomach when she found out about his "pharmaceutical" business. By the Grace of God he was introduced to an up & coming intern at Uptown Records whom the world came to know (at the time) as Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. After enduring trials & tribulations of his own, Puffy got his Bad Boy label off the ground & signed Chris to his label. His first video appearance was on Super Cat's remix single Dolly My Baby. In 1994 he released his highly anticipated debut album Ready To Die, with production contributions from Legends Easy Moe Bee & DJ Premier. This album exceeded all expectations as it was certified Quadruple Platinum. Its debut single Juicy went Gold & the follow-up single Big Poppa, with Warning as The B-Side went Platinum. His next single One More Chance / Stay with Me (Remix) also went Platinum & was his highest charting single at the time. In September of '95 he began work on his sophomore Double Album Life After Death, which included a wider range of producers & more guest appearances than the first album. The album was completed by January of '97. This album did better than the first album as it was Certified Diamond (10 Million plus units sold) & peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart & Billboard's R&B Albums Chart. Sadly, he was unable to enjoy the success of his work as his untimely demise occurred just 16 days before this albums release date which was March 25th. The lead single from the album Hypnotize would become his most successful single ever as it reached Platinum & peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles Chart, the R&B Singles Chart and The Hot Rap Singles Chart. The follow-up single Mo Money Mo Problems also went Platinum & nearly duplicated Hynotize's Chart success as it peaked at #2 on The R&B Singles Chart. His follow up posthumous album Born Again reached Double Platinum status & (as expected) peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart & R&B Albums Chart. With the loss of Mr. Wallace, as well as the loss of Mr. Shakur 6 months prior, there have been endless debates concerning the state of Hip Hop had he not been taken from us on that fateful Sunday morning all those years ago. His contributions to the game cannot be denied as he played a huge role in putting East Coast Hip Hop back on the map at a time when The West Coast (mainly Death Row) had the game locked down. It would be outright blasphemous to talk about Hip Hop & not mention Biggie as one of the best to ever do it. Rest In Peace Christopher George Latore Wallace, May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997. Gone but never forgotten.

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