Remembering Biggie

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 3:05 p.m.
From the moment a baby is born, its mother, after she counts up fingers and toes, wants to devote her life to making sure her child gets everything he needs.
The thing is, the worry and work of bringing up a child never ends as long as the child walks the same earth as the mother who raised him.
Voletta Wallace was surprised when she was told that she was going to be a mother, and she says that she tried to pray the baby away. Once he was born, she hoped to give her son everything he could ever want, but that wasn't enough to protect him forever.
In "Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G," she writes about her life with and without her only child.
Growing up in Jamaica, Voletta Wallace dreamed of going to America. She says she read everything she could about it, so when she received a "once in a lifetime" chance to fly to New York, she boarded the plane with her dreams.
In the Big Apple, Wallace quickly found a job and an apartment. She says that she put herself on a five-year plan to get an education, make money and buy a nice house. She focused on this goal until she met a man and accidentally became pregnant. The baby was not in the five-year plan but she gave birth anyhow. She named her son "Christopher," a name she said she always liked.
When he was young, Christopher Wallace was his mom's "buddy" but when he entered high school, things changed. Though he was a good student, he started skipping school. He hung out with people that his mother definitely did not approve of, but it was all part of his own big plan.
Christopher Wallace - by this time known as "Biggie" - was a rapper who was making a name for himself.
Fame for Biggie Smalls came literally before his mother knew about it. Wallace says she first heard her son's music when she accidentally turned on the radio. She was enormously proud of Christopher and his success, but she still worried. Two children by two different women, a "bad boy" image, a failed marriage, and violence in this music industry gave Wallace some concern.
Her worries were well-founded.
Biggie Smalls was a poet, and - judging by this book - he inherited his writing talent from his mother. Author Voletta Wallace writes with poetry and passion about her son's life and about her own battle with breast cancer, and she has a few choice (and not so complimentary) things to say about Biggie's "friends."
You'll be surprised at the accusations Wallace makes toward Lil' Kim, Puffy and Lil' Cease, and you'll want to read what she says about Biggie and his relationship with Tupac.
If you want to read an honest biography, or if you still can't get enough of Biggie's music, then read this book. "Biggie" is a skinny little book, but it's big on story and I think you'll like it.

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