Hypnotizing Facts About the Notorious B.I.G.

February 14, 2018 | Scott Mazza

Hypnotizing Facts About the Notorious B.I.G.

A violent death, a famous feud, that “Hypnotize” song…think you know it all about the Notorious B.I.G.? Think again!

Notorious B.I.G. Facts

24. Nicknames

Born Christopher George Latore Wallace, the rapper who would go on to be known as the Notorious B.I.G. was nicknamed “Big” in school due to his large size. When Wallace started releasing mix tapes, he christened himself “Biggie Smalls,” a lighthearted reference to his large stature (6 foot, 3 inches, and over 300 pounds). He changed his stage name after finding out that “Biggie Smalls” was already in use.

Jay-Z factsFlickr, InSapphoWeTrust


23. Failed Friendship

The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac actually started out as friends. Prior to their falling out, the two rap stars collaborated several times, including on a 1994 track called “Let’s Get It On.” The two even freestyled together in 1993.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, Michael Galpert

22. All Up Here

Given the complexity of his lyrics, listeners might assume that Biggie’s archive would be filled with heavily marked-up drafts of his songs, but this isn’t the case. He composed and edited all of his lyrics in his head without writing them down.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, The Come Up Show

21. Graduating Class

The Notorious B.I.G. went to the same high school as two other famous New York rappers: Busta Rhymes and Mr. Beyoncé himself, Jay Z.

Jay-Z factsFlickr, Rich Thane

20. Style and Flow

Biggie is known for his distinctive style and flow, and he almost always rapped in a deep, distinctive voice. His lyrics were notable for their complex, multisyllabic rhyme scheme and the natural way that Wallace could deliver intricate lines. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest rappers of all time; music critic Steve Huey writes that Biggie’s “raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking—he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession.”

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, Takeshi

19. Biggie and Mikey

Biggie and Michael Jackson worked together on a track called “This Time Around.” The lyrics deal with fame and stardom, something both artists were intimately familiar with.

Jay-Z factsWikimedia Commons

18. Nice Threads

Before his death, Biggie had been promoting a clothing line called “Brooklyn Mint.” After his murder, Biggie’s managers and his friend Jay Z launched the clothing line, selling shirts with Biggie’s face on them. Some proceeds from the shirts go to both Biggie’s and Jay Z’s charitable foundations.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, We Are Social

17. No Big Thing

Allegedly, when Biggie started making demo tapes, he wasn't trying to enter seriously into the rap world as a musician.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, Wicker Paradise

16. Hoop Dreams

Did you know that basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal had a rap career? And that one of his songs featured none other than the Notorious B.I.G.? It seems unbelievable, but it’s true. Biggie had a verse on the song “You Can’t Stop the Reign” off of Shaq’s third (!) studio album, also called You Can’t Stop the Reign. The song was not a huge success.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsWikimedia Commons, John Mathew Smith


15. East Coast vs. West Coast

Although both Biggie and Tupac were born in New York City, the latter became the most recognizable face of the West Coast in hip hop’s infamous coastal rivalry. It all started with a diss track released by New York rapper Tim Dog, and Biggie got in on the action with his song “Who Shot Ya?” Tupac interpreted (to this day, some say he misinterpreted) the song as a jab at his experience being robbed and shot in Manhattan, and the beef between the two was born.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. factsFlickr, InSapphoWeTrust

14. Controversial Deaths

The East Coast–West Coast rivalry ended in tragedy: Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996, and although Biggie maintained his total innocence, an influential story in the LA Times suggested that Biggie had had something to do with Shakur’s death. Six months after Tupac’s death, Biggie was shot and killed in Los Angeles, and there were (unsubstantiated) rumors that there was a link between Tupac’s murder and Biggie’s.

Eliot Ness FactsPiqsels

13. Stylish Canes

A car accident in 1996 shattered Biggie’s leg, permanently damaging his limb. He was forced to walk with a cane for the rest of his life, but he managed to do so with style (for evidence, just look at his swagger in the video for “Hypnotize”).

Notorious B.I.G. FactsShutterstock

12. Isley Brothers

One of Biggie’s biggest hits—and the song that marked a change in his style to a more relaxed flow—is “Big Poppa,” which sampled the Isley Brother’s 1993 hit “Between the Sheets.”

Notorious B.I.G. FactsWikimedia Commons, John Mathew Smith


11. Like Father, Like Son

Biggie’s life was immortalized on the silver screen in the 2009 biopic Notorious. The actor who played the young Biggie in the movie was none other than Biggie’s own son, Christopher Wallace Jr.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsGetty Images


10. Life After Death

Biggie is the only artist on the Billboard Hot 100 to have two #1 hits posthumously: “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Hypnotize,” both off his album Life After Death.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsFlickr, jaroh

9. Whirlwind Marriage

Biggie met Faith Evans, a rising star contracted to Bad Boy Records, at a photo shoot, and it was an instant connection. The two were married in just over a week, but it was a troubled marriage: Biggie had multiple affairs throughout his time with Evans.

Tupac FactsWikimedia Commons

8. Violent Affairs

Biggie had a long affair with rapper Lil' Kim, even during his marriage to Evans. The relationship was tempestuous, to say the least: once during an argument, Wallace held a gun to Lil' Kim’s head, a story that Lil' Kim has confirmed.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsShutterstock

7. Runs in the Family

Biggie’s son, Christopher Wallace Jr, is part of a rap group called CJ and Jahad, and is planning to release an album.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsGetty Images

6. Four Shots

During the attack that killed him, Biggie was shot four times—and only the fourth and final bullet was fatal.

History's Creepiest People factsPxHere


5. Mafia Man

Biggie is known as one of the all-time best “Mafioso rappers,” an artistic tradition so named for lyrical content that focussed on stereotypes associated with organized crime: violence and street life, yes, but also lavish lifestyles and conspicuous markers of wealth like expensive champagne and cars.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsGetty Images

4. Genovese Family Ties

Biggie was a Mafioso rapper, but that’s not where his connections to the mafia ended: FBI files on his murder reveal that the Bureau suspected that Wallace had ties to the New York based Genovese crime family, but that they were unable to find hard evidence to prove it.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsGetty Images


3. What Did I Just Hear?

Partway through the song “Respect” on the album Ready to Die, you can hear Wallace engaging in sexual activity with an anonymous woman. This was no sound effect: In a 2009 interview, Sean Combs (AKA “Puff Daddy” or “P Diddy”) confirmed that Biggie was receiving real oral sex during the recording. "These are questions that nobody's ever asked,” Combs said, “and I think Big would be alright with it."

Homes of the Rich FactsWikimedia Commons

2. Ghostwriter

A respected lyricist in the hip hop community, Biggie also wrote songs for other rappers, including one for his on-and-off again love interest Lil' Kim. He wrote “Queen Bitch” for her.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsWikimedia Commons

1. Investigation

After the murders of Tupac and Biggie, theories flew around about who was involved, but the FBI actually discovered that there were certain individuals who were present at the deaths of both rappers and that Biggie was shot with a rare gun, a Gecko 9mm, that is only made in Europe and only sold in certain stores in California and New Jersey. The heavily redacted papers released by the FBI reveal that the bureau also suspected corrupt LAPD involvement: some LAPD officers on duty at the party Biggie left before his murder were also, against LAPD policy, employed by rival Death Row record label. Ultimately, however, they couldn't make those hunches stick, and the mystery still lives on.

Notorious B.I.G. FactsGetty Images


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.