Notorious B.I.G.'s Son C.J. Wallace Says 'People Often Forget' Dad 'Was Human With a Good Heart'
The Notorious B.I.G. and his boundless contribution to music history will be forever immortalized.
On Saturday, hip hop, rap legend Christopher George Latore Wallace (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls) will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to commemorate his more than 25 years of musical excellence — he was killed in 1997 at age 24.
Biggie's only son C.J. Wallace (Christopher Jordan) — whom he shares with singer Faith Evans — opens up to PEOPLE about how incredible it feels to witness his dad receive such an esteemed honor. The late star is also dad to one daughter, T'yanna Wallace.
"It's a huge year and for it to end this way — if he were here, he would be delighted," C.J. says while speaking with Lawrence K. Jackson for PEOPLE (the TV Show!) ahead of Saturday's induction ceremony. "It's about time. He deserves it. He's an icon in his own and he deserves to be mentioned among other icons."
RELATED: Biggie Smalls' 20-Year-Old Son Pays Tribute to His Father in Rare Appearance: 'I Live My Life by His Words'
A special presentation of the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air Saturday at 8 p.m. local time on HBO and stream on HBO Max. A live celebration was originally scheduled for May 2, but plans changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"People often forget that he was human. He was a regular guy," C.J. says of his father. "He loved to make people laugh. He loved to care for his people and do as much as he could for his friends and family. The Hip Hop Mount Rushmore — he is for sure on that list."
"He is this huge iconic figure and it's hard to separate the human from the icon sometimes," says the actor. "If the world doesn't know anything about Christopher Wallace, it's definitely that he had a good heart and he was a great spirit."
C.J. tells PEOPLE that his dad would have had an amazing reaction to his Rock Hall induction if he were still alive: "Other than making a joke because he had the biggest sense of humor, he would be proud to see how far hip hop, Black culture and the inspiration of Black culture has come."
The Notorious B.I.G. is part of the 2020 class of honorees alongside: Whitney Houston, the Doobie Brothers, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and T.Rex.
C.J. is ecstatic to see his dad memorialized alongside Houston, a late star who is also dear to his heart. She died in 2012.
He tells PEOPLE: "Whitney is close family to our family. It's beautiful to have almost two family members in the same class. He would be honored and happy to have this incredible class. I lived in Atlanta when we were little and we all lived in the same country club. Bobby and Whitney stayed in the same country club as me, my mom, dad and the rest of my siblings so they would often come over."
"Bobbi Kris was really close friends with my older sister, Chyna," the actor recalls. "They were like best friends and we were always around each other. It was kind of weird how closely connected we all were at a young age. God rest Bobbi Kris's soul. I'm sure Bobby, the man, is really happy that they are finally honoring the late, great Whitney."
Biggie, the original King of New York, was incredibly close to another music legend — Sean "Diddy" Combs (a.k.a. Puff Daddy) — who signed him to his label, Bad Boy Records, in 1993.
"Without Puff, there is no B.I.G., there really isn't," C.J. tells PEOPLE. "I feel that Puff doesn't get a lot of credit when it comes to how he was able to build B.I.G.'s character."
"They were brothers man. [My dad] didn't have a lot of people that he could trust at that time and they linked together, along with his Junior M.A.F.I.A. brothers, and they changed the world," he adds.
"[My dad's] talent is still there, but would it have been able to reach the masses without Puff? Who knows," C.J. admits. "So much love to Puff, I was actually with him not too long ago. That's uncle Puff, man."
He also tells PEOPLE that his pops always loved his native Jamaican food and stayed in touch with his Caribbean roots. "My grandma always tells me stories about him calling her at strange hours of the night asking for her rice and peas recipe," he warmly recounts.
For the late extraordinaire's son C.J. and daughter T'yanna, what's most meaningful to them is to continue their dad's legacy.
"It's important, especially for our family," he tells PEOPLE. "It's why I started my company. It's why I'm doing Think BIG and all of these different things to really keep [his] name alive and continue to take it to new heights."
Adds the entrepreneur: "It means everything [to us]. [Like] my sister's clothing line, Notoriouss Clothing, she's killing it and always doing really dope stuff and collaborating with really cool underground people. There's a lot of great artists [and] painters. I have so many pieces that I need to frame, [like] dope Biggie art and collectible items."
C.J. also cherishes his dad's personal items bestowed from his grandma including clothing from the rap star's iconic wardrobe. Biggie's legendary crown — famously worn in his last photo shoot in '97 before he was killed — recently sold to a bidder for $594,750 during an auction at Sotheby's in New York.
"I have a lot of his clothes and stuff that my grandma gave to me," says C.J. "[We're] working on a lot of different ways that we can show [his items] to the world. It's got to be done the right way. We're definitely going to take our time and make it as big as he would [if he were alive] because it would be huge. Wow."
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