Depending on who you ask, Christopher Wallace, AKA The Notorious B.I.G., AKA Biggie Smalls might be the greatest rapper of all time.
And as it turns out, the Brooklyn-native actually grew up on country music.
According to a new interview from Entertainment Weekly, his mother Voletta Wallace credits country music, in part, to his development as a storyteller and lyricist. The interview was done in conjunction with the new Netflix documentary about his life:
“There are things about me that accentuate him that nobody knows. So in this documentary, they let me yap a little bit. I hope what I’m sharing is of interest to people watching, and maybe there will even be some people that can relate to me.”
So when I first heard country music, what I liked was how it told a story through music, they were touching and heart-wrenching. That was it for me; I’m a country girl at heart. I became very attached to the beautiful voices and the stories they were telling.
When he was a little boy and was growing up, I always had the radio on and tuned in to the country music station. I love my Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings. He listened to it all with me because he had no other choice.”
Voletta’s brothers also brought Reggae into the mix, and their saxophonist neighbor introduced Biggie to Jazz legends like Cannonball Adderley and Ella Fitzgerald. All of which, combined to lay the groundwork for Biggie’s career in music.
Who would’ve thought that one of the greatest rappers of all time grew up listening to Willie Nelson in Brooklyn?
Netflix’s new documentary, Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell, was released yesterday.