As the son of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. and singer Faith Evans, C.J. was thrust into stardom at an early age. He is one of the celebrated rapper’s two children, and the last child Biggie was able to conceive before his untimely death in 1997 at the age of 24.
The “Hypontize” rapper rose to fame in the 90s with songs that provided gritty depictions of his rough upbringing in Brooklyn, NY. Going from street hustler to a breakout rap superstar helped B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, go from “ashy to classy,” as he infamously rapped in his 1997 single “Sky’s The Limit.”
In the wake of his passing, his two children, son C.J., 26, and daughter T’yanna Wallace,29, have carried on the late rapper’s legacy in the form of business and fashion with their lines Frank White and Notorious clothing.
While some would debate the two celebrity kids had business opportunities handed to them, thanks to their late father, C.J. spoke with BLACK ENTERPRISE about the significance of multigenerational wealth within Black families.
“It’s legacy. At the end of the day, we don’t have a lot of great examples of Black legacy,” he told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Or black wealth being built throughout generations. It’s one of those things that we have to make out ourselves. We have to be our own examples.”
C.J. was able to digest some of his late father’s most memorable TV moments on MTV’s “Family Legacy” which premiered on Paramount+ on April 25. The entrepreneur and actor, who played the child version of B.I.G. in the 2009 “Notorious” biopic, was able to relive moments he unfortunately never got to experience after losing his father when he was just shy of six months old.
For kids like C.J. and T’yanna Wallace, continuing their father’s legacy is of greater importance as they work to keep B.I.G.’s memory alive.
“Unfortunately, a lot of our examples get killed,” he explained. “They don’t get to see their wealth materialized through generations. It’s unfortunate.”
“It’s one of those things that we have to talk about. We have to tell our stories about it. My sister and I are living examples of that. It’s one of the things we do not talk about to each other. It’s a new thing now, just being able to be open and vulnerable about some of these things. I love it though. I think it’s beautiful.”
When it comes to being the offspring of two celebrities, C.J. acknowledges the responsibility he feels to combat stigmas about being a nepo baby.
“I would say the biggest misconception, there are a lot of them. I’m trying to break a lot of those stigmas myself,” he said. “One of them being that we don’t work for anything, or we don’t work hard.”
“I can speak for myself and my sister. I know. She’s one of the hardest young women I know,” he continued. “She also inspired me to get into fashion, pursue my own brand. For us, it’s always been about proving the haters wrong, proving the doubters wrong. Continuing the legacy is the most important thing for us.”