The Notorious B.I.G.
“Birthdays was the worst days, now we pop champagne when we thirsty.” This simple lyric exemplifies the development of Christopher Wallace from a troubled boy living in the ghetto to The Notorious B.I.G., one of the most successful rappers of all time. He was a man of many names- The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, Big Poppa, etc. - but even more talent. His ability to take a simple scene and paint such a vivid picture was unprecedented and has never been matched. But as Malcolm Gladwell made clear in his book Outliers, no one ever makes it on talent alone. Biggie’s talent combined with his cultural legacy, being born at the right time, practice and a few lucky breaks allowed him to achieve greatness in his field. Despite only rapping until he was 24, Biggie Smalls is still the epitome of a successful rapper as he sold more than 5,000,000 copies of his album Ready to Die and sold more 10,000,000 copies of Life After Death.
Obviously one of the things needed to be successful in any field is being smart enough, because if one does not have at least a little brain power, he or she would not be able to see opportunities when they present themselves. As a rapper, the important thing is to have good language arts skills- rapping is poetry with a beat. He or she also has to be quick thinking, as most rappers, like Biggie, start off free styling (rapping without having written it out previously). Despite his ghetto neighborhood, Biggie did get a private school education, won many essay contests his school held, and got straight A’s up until he dropped out of high school, so he clearly had more than enough wit to become a successful rapper. His natural poetic and almost artistic mind made it easy for him to make up rhymes off the top of his head. He received great praise from some of the best rappers of his day, like mentor and long-time friend Puff Daddy who said, “He was such a...