Next March marks 20 years since rapper The Notorious B.I.G. was killed, and a slew of commemorative releases are in the works, starting with a new documentary -- and a hologram.
Biggie Smalls, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 during a drive-by shooting -- just 16 days before the release of his second album, “Life After Death,” and six months after the murder of rival Tupac Shakur.
For years, the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and his widow, Faith Evans, have carefully managed his estate and his legacy, and they have plenty of activity planned for the coming year, Wallace told Billboard.
First up will be a documentary created by Evans that features footage of Smalls in the studio and at home. A companion album including duets with Evans, “The King & I,” will also be released. Both are pegged to the March anniversary.
An animated series, “Think B.I.G.,” is also set to air on TBS, with a “‘King of the Hill’ meets ‘Fat Albert’” vibe, according to the rapper’s former manager, Wayne Barrow.
And then there’s a hologram. Much like Shakur before him, Smalls will be immortalized as a hologram, which will make its debut in the first video released by Evans from “The King & I.”
“I remember when my son passed away, as a mother I heard horrible things,” Wallace said. “But you just have to focus on the positive. That’s why the hologram came about -- because I believe there are people out there that want to see it.”
The hologram could also be used for live performances. Of course, it wouldn’t necessarily stop there.
“Hypothetically, if a brand wanted to use it in a commercial, to sponsor a tour or an idea, if it was something in the neighborhood where he grew up or in a venue that was familiar to people or his lyrics -- we’re thinking from that perspective,” Barrow said. “We have the opportunity to take him to places that he’s never been before, but where he’s revered nonetheless: Japan, China, London.”