Behind the Poster: The Notorious B.I.G. Hall of Fame
On January 15, 2020, The Notorious B.I.G. scored a significant win for his legacy after the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced his induction for the Class of 2020. Biggie's mom, Voletta Wallace took to Instagram after his submission was confirmed, expressing her thanks and excitement that her late son will finally be honored.
“Brooklyn we did it!!! This is so long overdue. Thank you to everyone that helped make this happen for Christopher. Love you all.”
In a phone interview with Billboard Magazine, Wallace said "As a mother, I'm extremely proud of his accomplishments. You know, I still see such a young man at a young age, and sadly, he's not here to witness all this. But it's an astute honor, and as a mother, I'm just elated for that."
"Many of [his songs] speak truth," she said. "It might be gritty, and maybe the language is so out there, but he was honest. There was nothing fake about what he was doing. I think for such a young man to resonate such honesty in his lyrics is awesome."
Biggie's transcendent career rocketed in the '90s with the release of his 1994 debut album Ready to Die. The lyricist chiseled his way onto the rap scene with songs such as "Big Poppa," "Juicy" and "One More Chance," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His meteoric career came to a screeching halt when he was shot and killed in 1997. Following his demise, 16 days later, Biggie's sophomore album, Life After Death, was released. The double-album soared to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Luke Martin took on the assignment of creating an illustration that honors Biggie Smalls' legacy, and this historic achievement that is so special to his fans and family:
"How do you create a poster for one of the greatest - if not THE greatest - rappers of all time? I was trying to answer this question when I started this project, and I’m still trying to answer this question even as it’s done. Christopher Wallace was so larger than life, I quickly learned that it would be impossible to capture his presence and force in one singular image. but... I was still gonna try anyways.
For this piece, my main intent was to capture that energy and power that Biggie encapsulated through his music - and then sent out into the rest of the world. I wanted the focus to be on Brooklyn - BIGGIE’S BROOKLYN. the city molded him just as much as he molded it, I feel that the two are so synonymous to each other. and if you’ve heard his music then you know - his love for brooklyn was evident in every single line he wrote." - Luke Martin