WME has inked the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G., the latest signing for the agency since it launched WME Legends, its new division that is focused on managing estates and brands. The deal, unveiled Tuesday, was struck with the Brooklyn-born rap icon’s mother Voletta Wallace and his family.
Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls and real name Christopher Wallace, was of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation when he was shot and killed in 1997 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The four-time Grammy nominee fueled the East Coast rap surge with his 1994 debut album Ready to Die. He was one of the top-selling male solo artists and rappers on the U.S. pop and R&B charts at the time of his death; the killer has never been found.
Several posthumous Biggie albums were released including 1997’s Life After Death, 1999’s Born Again and 2005’s Duets: The Final Chapter, racking up more than 28 million units sold and 5 billion streams globally. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
His life and death has been chronicled in several movies and documentaries including Searchlight’s 2009 pic Notorious, Saban Films’ City of Lies starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker and most recently the estate-sanctioned Netflix doc Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell. All were produced by Voletta Wallace and B.I.G.’s former manager Wayne Barrow.
Phil Sandhaus, a music and entertainment veteran who has worked with the likes of Buddy Holly, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Whitney Houston, runs WME Legends.
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