Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. He was noted for his loose and easy flow, dark and semi-autobiographical lyrics, and storytelling abilities which focused on crime and hardship.
Born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Wallace signed to Sean "Puffy" Combs' label Bad Boy Records in 1993 and gained exposure with features on several singles the same year. His critically acclaimed debut album Ready to Die (1994), considered his magnum opus, made him a central figure in East Coast hip hop and increased New York City's visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop dominated the mainstream. The following year, he led Junior M.A.F.I.A.—a protégé group composed of his childhood friends—to chart success.
In 1996, while recording his second album, The Notorious B.I.G. was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud. Following Tupac Shakur's death by a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, rumors of his involvement with Shakur's murder spread. On March 9, 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His second album, Life After Death (1997), released two weeks later, reached number one on the Billboard 200 and became one of the few hip-hop albums to be certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Three more albums have been released since The Notorious B.I.G.'s death, and he has certified sales of over 28 million records in the United States, including 21 million albums. Rolling Stone has referred to him as the "greatest rapper that ever lived" and Billboard named him as the greatest rapper of all time. In 2020, The Notorious B.I.G. was selected as an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.