• The Notorious B.I.G.'s Son C.J. Wallace Talks His 'Global Legacy' on the 25th Anniversary of Rapper's Death

    "I have no memory of my dad, but I've been told so many stories about him and how much we are similar," C.J. Wallace tells PEOPLE of his late father Biggie Smalls, who died when he was a baby. It's five days before the 25th anniversary of the Notorious B.I.G.'s death on March 9, and his son, C.J. Wallace, is running errands for the dinner party he's throwing to commemorate it. "I'm trying to make sure everything's put together correctly," Wallace tells PEOPLE over the phone from his car. "It's going to be close family, friends and everybody who really knew my dad. I'm just trying to show people a good time and celebrate." The Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls and born Christopher George Latore Wallace, died in a drive-by shooting at age 24 in 1997, when C.J. was just five months old.

    "I have no memory of my dad, but I've been told so many stories about him and how much we are similar," C.J. says. "Now that I'm 25, it's really starting to sit with me that I was able to pass the age that he died. It's a very special feeling because I'm starting to really grow into my own as a man."

    As he paves his own path forward, C.J. is also making sure to honor his dad's past. Sales from his health, wellness and performance company Frank White (named after one of Biggie's aliases) go towards his Think BIG initiative, which advocates for equitable cannabis legalization, criminal justice reform and economic reinvestment into communities most harmed by the war on drugs.

    "I know my dad would've gotten into the cannabis space," says C.J.

    C.J. first learned about the healing effects of CBD through his brother Ryder, his mom Faith Evans' son from her relationship with Todd Russaw. Ryder has autism, and "since he was about 5 or 6 years old, we'd use different CBD products to help treat Ryder," C.J. says. "Then, once I really got educated on the benefits of cannabis and CBD and THCA, I felt it was important to share that information."

    Among the people C.J. shared his findings with was his grandma, Biggie's mom Voletta, who has dealt with several health issues in recent years.

    "She's battled breast cancer, and she's also been dealing with bone marrow issues as she's gotten older," he says. "So I've been educating her on the benefits of cannabis."

    "About four years ago, she was super anti-cannabis," he adds. "I can say now that she's actually interested in the space and has used some of the products that I've gifted to her. Showing her and my great-grandmother in Jamaica who has arthritis the healing powers of cannabis has been a dream that I never thought I could bring to fruition."

    As he continues his work in the cannabis space, C.J. is hoping the impact of Frank White and Think BIG will extend far beyond his own family.

    "It's about me and what I'm going to leave for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren someday," he says. "It was always about, 'How can I create generational wealth for my kids and for my grandkids?' Cannabis was always at the top of that list for me. I'm a lover of film, music and sports too, so Frank White is my version of blending all of those things together."

    While C.J. admits his last name has certainly opened doors for him, his father's ever-present legacy can at times be looming.

    "Anything that my dad touched turned to gold, so it's very easy to mess that up and screw things up," he says. "I'm always aware of how certain decisions I make can damage the brand that is the Notorious B.I.G."

    C.J. felt the weight of that pressure when he played a young version of his dad in the 2009 film Notorious when he was just 13.

    "Man, that was terrifying," he says. "It was scary. I was in seventh grade at that time, and it was my first time acting and being on a big set like that. Luckily, I'm basically him reincarnated."

    While scary, C.J. says that his eyes were opened to the film world through that experience.

    "Overall, it was amazing," he says. "It's really what started getting me into acting, and I really fell in love with being behind the camera and directing. Now I'm very interested in creating a new story — a story that's separate from Notorious B.I.G. Let's tell the Christopher George Latore Wallace story."

    Through the years, C.J. says he's learned a lot about what his dad was like as a person, not just the legend.

    "I know if he wasn't a rapper, he definitely would've been comedian," he says. "Everybody tells me his sense of humor was never-ending. He was always cracking jokes on his friends and was a great person to be around. I know that."

    In addition to his humor, C.J. says he had a keen fashion sense.

    "I definitely get a lot of that from him and my mom," he says. "I have to credit her as well. My mom loves the best of the best, and I'm the same way. I feel like once my mom and dad found each other, they really were a force to be reckoned with."

    Despite all of Biggie's fame, C.J. says his dad always made time to call Evans.

    "If he had any type of question or needed help with a certain recipe, he would call her," he says. "She tells me the same thing, like, 'Just call me if you need anything.' She's just the sweetest person ever, and I'm appreciating each day of having her around still."

    Not only is C.J. a loving grandson, but he's also a devoted uncle to his sister T'yanna Wallace's 6-month-old baby girl.

    "She's adorable," he says. "My sister had been planning to have a kid, and I always knew she was going to be the first of my siblings with a kid. It's great because I get to be there, but it's not my responsibility. I have two dogs. That's all the responsibility I need right now!" One would say maintaining his dad's legacy is a full-time job in itself.

    "He had a global legacy," he says. "My dad reached across every corner of this world. I see the reaction that I get when people recognize me, and the DMs I get on Instagram and on Twitter show me that even people younger than me have been inspired by my dad. It's crazy."

    "I've always felt just extremely blessed to be in the position I am which is why I want to try to do some good in the world and continuously spread positive energy," he continues. "I want to continuously push his name into a positive light because people have tried to put it in a negative light for so many years."