The rapper son of hip hop giant The Notorious B.I.G. and singer Faith Evans says it was inevitable he would end up in the music industry.
Christopher Jordan Wallace was just a baby when his father was shot dead in Los Angeles in 1997 at the age of 24.
He told the Standard: “At a young age I always knew I wanted to do music, it was inevitable. My family have always had my back, whatever I’ve wanted to do they’ve supported. They were always giving me advice on what to do and how to go about things.”
Wallace, 20, is in rap group CJ and Jahad alongside his younger half-brother Joshua Jahad Russaw. They have spent the last few months in the studio recording their debut album, planned for release later this year.
He said the pressure that comes with being the son of one of the world’s most acclaimed hip hop stars “ends up being fuel for me, that’s my advantage”.
He played his father — also known as Biggie Smalls, real name Christopher Wallace — in 2009 biopic Notorious. “I was learning so much new stuff every day and being pushed in ways that I’d never been pushed before,” Wallace Jr said. “I was crying on camera and my acting coach was really getting under my skin and talking about some really personal stuff.”
Despite finding the film a “nostalgic” experience, he said he would not play his father later in life as they “don’t look alike”. After starring in comedy Everything Must Go in 2010, he took a break to finish high school but has made a return to acting in Kicks, about an inner city child who has his trainers stolen.
“Almost every character I could have related to,” he said about the film. “Other than it being a great story, the fact is that it’s a real story.”
The Notorious B.I.G. married R&B star Evans in 1994. His death in a drive-by shooting — which remains unsolved — caused huge grief in the hip hop world and a posthumous album shot to number one in the US.
Meanwhile, I’ll Be Missing You, a track in his memory by Evans and his friend Sean “Diddy” Combs (aka Puff Daddy) became one of the best-selling singles of all time. Wallace Jr was raised by Evans and Todd Russaw, who she married a year after her first husband’s death. They divorced in 2011.
The young rapper and actor is also set to try his hand at filmmaking with a project about autism, which his youngest half-brother has. “I’d like to tell the story of what he is going through. A lot of people don’t understand [the issue]. I want to bring awareness to that and special needs in general,” he said.