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  • 5 minutes with ... Biggie's mom

    Turns out, the rough-and-tumble Notorious B.I.G. was just a mama's boy. Big Poppa's mother has just released "Biggie," a controversial tell-all. In the book, Voletta Wallace describes her close-knit relationship withher larger-than-life son, as well as quite a few bumps and scrapes along the way. After Biggie Smalls' 1997 murder, which was never solved, Voletta was thrust into the cutthroat underbelly of the music industry. "Biggie" defines the confessional genre, even detailing her tussles with rap headliners Lil' Kim, Diddy and Lil' Cease. It's been quite a journey from her humble childhood in Trelawny, Jamaica.

    You used to be an elementary-school teacher. How'd you make the jump to published author?

    Everybody was writing a book [about Biggie] and benefiting from it. And I decided, let me write one. Who better to write a book about Biggie than his own mother? It was trying and painful, but I'm glad I did it.
    You talk about the investigation into Biggie's murder, saying, "There are just too many damn questions that need to be answered." Do you still feel this way?
    Yes, I do. There are people out there who know, but they're not saying. They're afraid of their reputation or their status. That kinda hurts. I'm not hating them, I'm [just] frustrated.

    What advice would you give to a young kid just starting his own rap career?
    Be honest and keep a very clean heart. Express yourself in the most honest way, and don't hide anything.

    After all your own mixed experiences, to say the least, have you stayed in touch with anyone in the rap world?

    The last person I spoke to was Jay-Z. I talk to Jay-Z a lot. And Puffy and I spoke recently. I spoke to Busta [Rhymes]. I meet a lot of them — we hug, and we say hello and goodbye. I'm very, very close with Faith [Evans] — we're partners in business together. We co-administered Biggie's estate. And she's the mother of my grandson.

    You mention in the book that you started to appreciate rap music. Would you ever consider your own career in music?

    Oh no! Oh no, no, no, no! Absolutely, positively NOT.

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