Who is Biggy Smallz? Meet the man behind The Notorious B.I.G.'s name change

26 February 2021, 15:24

Who is Biggy Smallz? Meet the man behind The Notorious B.I.G.'s name change
Who is Biggy Smallz? Meet the man behind The Notorious B.I.G.'s name change. Picture: Getty

Biggie Smalls had to change his stage name to The Notorious B.I.G. because of another young rapper.

The Notorious B.I.G. is widely known as one of the greatest rappers of all time, and now, his life has been celebrated in a new Netflix documentary, Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell.

Notorious B.I.G facts: 26 things you didn't know about Biggie Smalls

The 'Juicy' rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, performed under a number of stage names, including Biggie and Biggie Smalls at the beginning of his career.

The Notorious B.I.G. had to change his name ahead of the release of his debut album.
The Notorious B.I.G. had to change his name ahead of the release of his debut album. Picture: Getty

On his original demo tape for Uptown Records, a young Wallace presented himself as Biggie Smalls, named after a character from Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier's 1975 film Let's Do It Again.

But, prior to the before the release of his debut album Ready To Die in 1994, Wallace changed his moniker from Biggie Smalls to The Notorious B.I.G. Why? Because there was already another Biggie on the block.

The complete history of Tupac and Biggie’s complicated relationship

According to reports, a young rapper from the West Coast was already recording music under the name Biggy Smallz.

Smallz was either white or latino and only released a small number of song publicly, including 'Save Mr. Perkins,' 'Cruisin,' and 'Nobody Rides For Free'.

Tupac (centre) and Biggie (left) were friends before their friendship took a turn for the worst.
Tupac (centre) and Biggie (left) were friends before their friendship took a turn for the worst. Picture: Getty

In an interesting turn, this Biggy Smallz also shared a connection to Wallace's friend-turned-foe Tupac through a producer named Johnny J, who would go on to produce 'How Do U Want It' for Pac.

During the early stages of Wallace's career, Tupac acted as a sort of mentor towards him. So, rumour has it, Tupac suggested Wallace changed his name from Biggie Smalls as a favour to Johnny J.

Biggy Smallz is said to have seen a small boost in sales of his own music after The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready To Die was released due to the confusion between their names. Some reports claim Smallz died sometime after, but this isn't confirmed.

To make things even more confusing, Tupac also referred to one of his producers, Big D., as Biggie Smalls.

There was once a time when Tupac and Biggie were running the scene together, before their relationship turned sour and both rappers met their untimely deaths just months from each other.

But, regardless of the name changes and the other 'Biggies', facts are facts: nobody did it like The Notorious B.I.G.

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