“It was all a dream!” are just a few words to describe Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls) becoming the king of East coast rap music when he released his first album “Ready to Die”. The lyrics “It was all a dream!” are from the albums number one hit single called “Juicy” in which Biggie depicted life growing up in the rough streets of Brooklyn, New York. Biggie smalls rose to fame as a rapper in the 90’s causing an increase in rap popularity, division (rivalry) between East and West coast rap music, and the style of gangsta rap on the East coast.
Biggie Smalls caused an increase in the popularity of rap music in the 1990’s and beyond. Biggie’s debut album “Ready to Die” was released on september 13th, 1994. Ready to Die reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 Chart and was the best selling rap album of the year. Ready to Die was eventually certified 4x Platinum (4 Million Albums were sold) and Biggie was named the “Rap King of New York” as he went on to win New Artist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, and Album of the Year at Source Magazine's 2nd annual hip hop awards ceremony (Marcovitz, 2007, Pg 26). Biggie’s second album “Life After Death” was released on March 25th, 1997, and just 16 days after, Biggie smalls was shot and killed after an award ceremony in Los Angeles, California. Life After Death is currently the 3rd best selling rap music album of all time according to The Source Magazine (Centeno, 2013) . Life After Death later went on to sell 10x platinum or “Diamond” status (Marcovitz, 2007). Only a handful of rappers have a Diamond status album including Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, and Outkast.
Not only were Biggies record sales amazing, but he also influenced a generation of rappers with his smooth flow and rhythmic patterns that matched each beat. In an article by Frannie Kelley on the NPR Website, rapper AZ talked about how Biggie influenced his peers in New York so much that virtually every rapper that recorded a song incorporated at least some bits and pieces of Biggies signature style. AZ said “Big influenced a generation. This whole generation took pieces and bits.” “Everybody took a piece out of Big that's on the charts right now... Everybody.”. One of Biggie’s strengths was his flow, or the way that rappers pace the voicing of their lyrics. AZ described flow a little bit differently, he said “Flow is like water. It's like current. It's the fluidity of your words — and how you can slow it up, pick it up, chop it up. You can take a slow beat and flow fast on it because it's the structure of the words. Or you could take a fast beat and really screw it up and make it slow. Flow is a beautiful thing (Weinstein, 2014)”
During the rise of Biggies career, conflict and rivalry between the East Coast and West Coast rappers increased dramatically. There was an incident involving Biggie Smalls from Bad Boy Entertainment on the East coast and Tupac Shakur from Death Row Records on the West...