December 2005 Archives

Voletta Wallace: My Son, Biggie

December 20, 2005 12:00 AM

Heads might grow tired of artists using and comparing themselves to The Notorious B.I.G., but Voletta Wallace isn\'t. It\'s all good as long as you ask first.

In the eight years since her son was killed, Miss Wallace has retired from teaching and is now dedicating her time to running the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. She has also taken legal action against the LAPD, accusing the department of covering up evidence regarding her son\'s death. The killer has yet to be found and the case was declared a mistrial this past summer. Though the grief persists, Wallace has helped celebrate Big\'s life as of late. She released Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son in late October and co-signed Biggie Duets, which is hitting stores today. In this exclusive, Voletta Wallace remembers her son, and confirms both Diddy\'s support and Lil\' Kim\'s offense. As a Biggie fan, I always have issues with hearing posthumous stuff, but I was speaking to Afeni Shakur once and I realized that if anyone has a say on it, it\'s the artist\'s mother. How do you feel about hearing posthumous releases or hearing collaborations with people that didn\'t know Biggie?

Voletta Wallace: You know when I hear posthumous stuff that makes me feel good because it\'s telling me that they have a great deal of respect for my son. They love his work. They love his art. And they just want to be a part of Biggie, so it makes me feel closer to him. The only time I feel upset or violated is when they use it without asking. So when I hear something on the radio, I have to ask, "Did I give permission for that?" And sometimes they say yes, sometimes they say no. And if they say no, I really feel offended, not only offended but angry. Because I feel that it\'s downright disrespectful. Did you have a hand in Biggie Duets at all?

VW: I did give my utmost approval. The project was brought forth to me. Some of the friends I approved of and some of the friends I wanted to be on it. I know my son didn\'t have enough work for him to just have an album by himself, solo or alone. So when Puffy came up with the idea of duets, I thought it was a wonderful thing. I didn\'t know where it was going, but listening to it and the artists that came, that put their bars on it. They wanted to do it. They enjoyed doing it. This is a project that they all wanted to be a part of. I\'m assuming that Biggie\'s kids listen to his music.

VW: C.J., I don\'t know. Tyanna, my granddaughter does. How old is she?

VW: She\'s 12. I think C.J. does listen to it. They might have clean versions around. I get clean versions. I ask for clean versions. But even with the clean versions a lot of times it\'s easy to fill in the blanks.

VW: But if you have to think negative, you\'re gonna see and feel negative. If you hear a little blank put in a nice word in there. I always [used to] tell my students when I was teaching. Instead of using profanity, just say bottle. "You bottled head." "You book head." I always think positive, so I don\'t even foster the thought of the children or [that] anyone [is] gonna put in the blank with the nasty, nasty words. You said you\'ve listened to the album, is there a particular song that you like?

VW: There are a few of them that I like a lot. I like the Bob Marley piece, the Bob Marley joint. I\'m talking like you guys now. [Laughs] I always wanted Christopher to do something with Bob Marley and Jay-Z. I approached Jay-Z a few years ago and I told him that whenever I do a Biggie project I really would like to... actually I didn\'t tell him I wanted him to be on it. I told him Christopher would like for him to be on it and he said yes. Afeni [Shakur], she and I had a conversation. I gave her some of Biggie\'s work and off course. We just shared. You know you scratch my back and I scratch yours. I definitely wanted to ask you about that. You two [Afeni and Voletta] first met at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. How was the experience? What did you guys talk about?

VW: We yapped backstage like there was no tomorrow. We talked as if we knew each other for years. We\'ve communicated since. How closely do you follow the Hip-Hop scene?

VW: Not as closely as I would want to. Hip-Hop is not my life. I have other things to do. But I have a great deal of respect for Hip-Hop and its artists. But as far as going to bed, sleeping Hip-Hop, waking up with Hip-Hop, no. It\'s a culture along with its music. Music is a big part of its culture, but I\'m not Hip-Hop. But my son\'s work is there, so I\'m gonna make sure it\'s being respected.

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