In Paramount+’s new show MTV’s Family Legacy, CJ Wallace looks back on the iconic moments his father, The Notorious B.I.G., had on MTV. As the son of one of hip-hop’s greats and R&B star Faith Evans, he says he’s been familiar with the word legacy for as long as he can remember.
“To me, legacy means everything,” he tells ABC Audio. “It’s been part of my upbringing since the beginning and since I was really too young to even understand the legacy that I would have to carry or … who my dad, who my mom was.”
“The importance of continuing with the legacy, it’s been something that I’ve been sort of preached since I was really young,” he continues. “So I’ve always been preparing myself for, you know, the moments where I’d be the representation of the legacy.”
CJ doesn’t really have memories of Big, as he was only a baby when he was killed. Yet, he says they “are so connected on another level.” As he continues to understand who his dad was, CJ adds, “It’s helped me sort of come to grips with my position and what I’ve been put on this Earth to do.”
CJ’s also grown to understand his father’s contribution to hip-hop, which he believes includes opening the door for artists to be honest, vulnerable and self-aware.
“I feel like he made it cool to be self-aware and … to be human,” he says. “He talked about suicidal thoughts on his first album … that’s, like, as human as you can be.”
CJ adds, “To talk about you, to be that vulnerable and that young — I feel that was probably his most generous gift to hip-hop … I feel like his honesty was his biggest gift.”
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