In case you missed the memo, it’s Black Music Month.
And to help commemorate The Notorious B.I.G., and what would’ve been his 50th birthday, his son, C.J. Wallace, has partnered with Lexus to premiere a beautiful mini-doc in which Wallace explores the life and legacy of his father by visiting his old stomping grounds in Brooklyn. It’s the exact type of thing that’s sure to elicit a tear or 27—the moving reunion between Wallace and Respect for Life barber Charles Minter in particular is 100-percent guaranteed to dropkick you right in your feels—so prepare your box of Kleenex and emotional stability accordingly.
Wallace was kind enough to extend an exclusive invite to The Root to attend the premiere of his film, as well as an insightful discussion with It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him author Justin Tinsley (which you should read ASAP) that immediately followed. During their conversation, Wallace touched on the emotional weight of retroactively learning about a father he barely knew (Biggie was gunned down when C.J. was only five months old), the creation of the mini-doc, and how his father’s profound influence still resonates today.
“If I’m honest, it’s been tough,” Wallace admitted about his lifelong journey to learn as much as possible about his father. “I have a lot of his close friends who are still here. That’s probably the best thing. Obviously, having my grandmother (Voletta Wallace, B.I.G.’s mother) still here; having T’yanna (Wallace’s sister), who has memories of him still and T’yanna’s mother, Jane; having my mom (Faith Evans); having people here that can tell me stories about him and give me more insight into who the human was, as opposed to telling me those same stories about how he was this amazing artist. I want to know the regular stories.”
When asked about his father’s influence, and how B.I.G.’s legacy still manifests in today’s music, Wallace cited Pusha T as one of the countless direct descendants of a style his father introduced to the rap game.
“He’s constantly inspiring everyone,” Wallace said. “If you listen to Pusha T’s new album, the way he’s trying to rap, the inflections in his voice, you’d be crazy if you think he wasn’t trying to sound like Big. And the amount of samples that people have used over the years of my dad’s voice, of certain beats that he wrapped on. Just certain cadences that rappers try to do. I can tell. I hear it. [...] If you listen to his verses, you can tell the influence and hear the inspiration that he’s been giving for 25-plus years. [...] He’s basically the gold standard for rap. So that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Check out C.J.’s new mini-doc, co-produced by Lexus and Complex, right here, and remember: we’ll always love Big Poppa.