Immediately making good on its promise to sign superstar estates, WME’s Legends Group has brokered a deal to represent the assets of late rapper the Notorious B.I.G.
Born Christoper Wallace, the Brooklyn-raised icon’s enduring brand and all subsequent transactions around it will flow through the agency, which launched the speciality unit in March under Phil Sandhaus.
The deal was made with B.I.G.’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and family members, joining existing estate clients like Andy Kaufman, Eartha Kitt, Peter Tosh, the CBGB brand and Ram Dass’ Love Serve Remember Foundation.
Noted as one of the greatest rappers of all time, B.I.G. was a four-time Grammy nominee who gained solo success after releasing his first single, “Juicy,” followed by his 1994 debut solo album, “Ready to Die.” The album produced two further hits, which helped east coast hip-hop gain prominence in a chart landscape dominated by west coast stars.
He is also credited with discoveries like Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Lil Kim. In March 1997, he was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Numerous posthumous releases were set — including “Life After Death” in 1997, “Born Again” in 1999 and 2005’s “Duets: The Final Chapter” — and have powered the artist to 21 million RIAA-certified albums sold and five billion streams worldwide.
Rappers including Jay-Z and Eminem have sampled and quoted from B.I.G.’s work. Filmed adaptations of his life include Searchlight’s 2009 feature “Notorious” and the Wallace family-sanctioned documentary “Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell,” released last month on Netflix. His murder is also the subject of the feature “City Of Lies,” starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker. All projects were produced by Voletta Wallace and B.I.G.’s former manager, Wayne Barrow.
Additional WME estate clients across theater, books and music include Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Donna Summer, August Wilson, Isaac Asimov, Edward Albee, Abe Burrows and Terrence McNally.