“T’yanna Wallace: The Keeper of Biggie’s Flame”

“T’yanna Wallace: Founder of Notoriouss Clothing and The Biggie Experience, Carrying on a Legendary Legacy”

“Immerse yourself in the life and legacy of Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., at The Biggie Experience Museum, located on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, just a stone’s throw from The Barclays Center. This vibrant hub celebrates the iconic rapper’s impact on hip-hop and invites fans from far and wide to explore his enduring influence. T’yanna Wallace, Biggie’s daughter, founded Notoriouss Clothing in 2017 while studying at Penn State, and later transformed it into The Biggie Experience, driven by her passion to connect with her father’s devoted fanbase. After seven years of growth, the museum finally opened its doors to the public in March 2024, offering an unforgettable experience for all who enter.”

“The Biggie Experience: A Tribute to a Hip-Hop Icon, Curated by T’yanna Wallace”

“Upon entering, visitors are transported to a nostalgic setting, greeted by a meticulously recreated version of Biggie’s bedroom from his 226 St. James Place residence. The room is complete with a TV playing an episode of Martin featuring Biggie, a vintage Mr. Magic Rap Attack poster, and a photograph of his prized 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SL. Further inside, the famous hologram awaits, situated across from the Ready to Die sign wall, where notable hip-hop artists like Jadakiss, Fabolous, Nino Brown, and Banger have left their mark. Next, visitors will discover an immersive exhibit replicating the iconic bodega where Biggie famously freestyled in 1989, located at the corner of Fulton Street and St. James Place, bringing the legendary moment to life.”

“T’yanna Wallace’s dedication to honoring her father’s legacy has culminated in the thriving Biggie Experience museum. On what would have been Biggie’s 52nd birthday, the museum hosted an unforgettable celebration featuring a vibrant fusion of food, drinks, photo opportunities, art, and hip-hop. This milestone event demonstrates T’yanna’s unwavering commitment to preserving her father’s impact. In our recent interview, Wallace shared her unique perspective as Biggie’s daughter, her vision for The Biggie Experience, her collaborative endeavors with brother CJ Wallace, the outpouring of support from her father’s friends and peers, her aspirations for her young daughter’s future, and her connections with other daughters of hip-hop legends, further solidifying her role as a guardian of his legacy.”

Interviewer: As a respected daughter of hip-hop, do you feel the weight of responsibility in maintaining your father’s legacy and the culture surrounding it?

T’yanna Wallace: Honestly, I don’t feel pressured. I understand the significance of my dad’s impact on the culture and community, and I’ve always been driven to carry it forward. I’ve seen how easily legacies can fade when the person is no longer present, and I’m determined to keep my dad’s shine bright. Even though I know he’s already cemented his place in history, I want to ensure his legacy remains accessible and thriving for his fans. Whether through fashion, the museum, or other ventures, my goal is to keep his memory alive and vibrant.

Interviewer: What was your ultimate vision when you launched The Biggie Experience?

T’yanna Wallace: When I operated Notoriouss Clothing on Atlantic Avenue for five years, I noticed a consistent influx of Biggie fans visiting the store. Its proximity to the Barclays Center, where Jay-Z had honored my dad by hanging his jersey, added to the foot traffic. I had displayed some of my dad’s iconic items, like the “Juicy” video jersey and various awards, which sparked immense interest among his fans. They were drawn to his clothing and artifacts, eager to connect with his legacy. This realization during those five years inspired me to create The Biggie Experience museum, a space where fans could immerse themselves in his history and memorabilia.

The Biggie Experience

Interviewer: Did you recognize a dedicated audience eager for merchandise and memorabilia related to your dad?

T’yanna Wallace: Absolutely! Visitors to my clothing store would often share that they had just visited St. James, where my dad grew up and lived. They were hungry for more connection to his legacy. I realized I could provide that by offering a wider range of memorabilia and experiences. Fans would express their desire to explore Brooklyn, visit Biggie’s former home, and immerse themselves in his history. I saw an opportunity to give them a more intimate and personal connection to my dad’s legacy. By creating The Biggie Experience, I aimed to satisfy their cravings and provide a unique experience that would bring them closer to his world.

Interviewer: Beyond satisfying the demand from his devoted fan base and culture enthusiasts, what makes maintaining this space, which chronicles his life, so vital to you?

T’yanna Wallace: For me, it’s essential to preserve this space because my dad is deeply ingrained in Brooklyn’s identity. When people think of Brooklyn, they instantly think of Biggie. This museum needs to be a permanent fixture, not just a temporary pop-up. It’s crucial to have a dedicated space that honors his enduring legacy, his profound impact on the culture, and his significance to the borough. By maintaining this space, we ensure that his influence and contributions continue to inspire future generations.

For me, growing up, Spike Lee was the one who shed light on Brooklyn’s vibrancy, but for younger generations, Biggie and Jay-Z are the first names that come to mind when thinking of Brooklyn. That’s why a permanent tribute to Biggie is crucial – he’s synonymous with Brooklyn.

Interviewer: How often do visitors from beyond New York City or even the United States travel to experience The Biggie Experience?

T’yanna Wallace: We welcome people from all over! Just recently, we had a visitor from Dublin. I adore meeting fans from out of state; they’re incredibly enthusiastic. We’ve had visitors from Europe, Switzerland, Africa, Jamaica, and even a family from Trinidad, who were thrilled to explore the museum. I’m grateful for their genuine interest in learning about my dad’s legacy. Even before The Biggie Experience, when it was just The Notorious Store, we cherished our out-of-state fans. Their passion is what makes this journey so rewarding.

The Biggie Experience Hologram COURTESY OF T’YANNA WALLACE

Interviewer: As the daughter of a hip-hop legend, you carry a unique responsibility. Your father’s life and legacy are forever etched in hip-hop history, shaping the culture and influencing its evolution. How do you feel about being the guardian of this legacy, which is both a cherished family treasure and a valuable cultural commodity?

T’yanna Wallace: The responsibility of carrying my father’s legacy is a heavy burden, but it’s one I embrace for the sake of my daughter. I’m driven to ensure she understands the magnitude of her grandfather’s impact and influence. I want her to witness the enduring legacy he built at such a young age, and I’m committed to keeping his memory alive so she can experience the same admiration and admiration from others that I did growing up. I remember walking outside and strangers would express their love for Biggie; I know my daughter will encounter the same admiration in New York and beyond. I’m dedicated to preserving his legacy so she can proudly carry the torch and continue his impact for generations to come.

“To be honest, I believe my father’s legacy would endure even if I didn’t actively work to preserve it, given the immense impact he had at such a young age. However, I’m driven to ensure everyone understands the full extent of his influence. I want people to know that his music and message continue to resonate, even with new generations. It’s amazing to see young fans, like the ten-year-olds who message me on Instagram, discovering and appreciating his work. It’s surreal to think that kids born decades after his time are still drawn to his music and legacy. As someone who’s 30, it’s incredible to see how his impact transcends time and generations.”

(L-R) Lil Cease and T’yanna Wallace

Interviewer: How much support have you received from the hip-hop community, particularly from individuals from your father’s era, regarding The Biggie Experience and your other ventures like The Notoriouss Clothing?

T’yanna Wallace: I’ve received an overwhelming amount of support! When my grandmother visited the museum, she was so impressed that she immediately wanted to share it with Busta Rhymes. She called him and said, “You have to come see this!” And he responded, “Yeah, mom, I gotta check it out.” Jadakiss has also been a constant supporter. If I don’t invite him to an event, he’s like, “Tee Tee, how could you not invite me?” But I never want to be a bother to anyone. The support from the hip-hop community has been incredible, and I’m grateful for their encouragement and enthusiasm.

“It’s heartwarming to see how many people from my dad’s era and younger generations want to support me and be part of my life’s milestones. Busta Rhymes, who went to school with my dad, is like a family member to me. Many of these individuals have been like pillars of strength, offering unwavering support and encouragement. They’re always eager to be present at special moments, like my daughter’s baby shower and first birthday, and I’m grateful for their enthusiasm. Having strong male influences in my life has been crucial, especially after losing my dad at a young age. I’ve been fortunate to have people like Junior Mafia, Jadakiss, Busta, and others who have been like a surrogate family to me, offering guidance and support throughout the years.”

Interviewer: How did having that support impact your transition from adolescence to womanhood and motherhood?

T’yanna Wallace: It’s been incredibly empowering. My mom, in particular, has been a rock for me – the strongest person I know. She’s always been there to offer guidance and encouragement. When I started my business at 21, I felt a sense of independence, living in New York and navigating adulthood. But I never felt alone, thanks to my supportive network. I have my brothers and other close figures in my life who are always just a phone call away. In fact, I was on FaceTime with my brother and Cease just this morning, and we talk almost daily. I feel grateful to have such a robust support system. I never feel like I’m lacking in help or support because I know I can count on them to be there for me.

“I’m incredibly thankful to have a support network that’s always available to me. Whether I need advice, guidance, or just a listening ear, I can count on my brother, Cease, Jadakiss, and many others who were close to my dad to be there for me. It’s a blessing to know that the people who were important to my father during his life continue to have my back to this day. Their unwavering support means the world to me, and I’m grateful for their enduring presence in my life.”

(L-R) CJ Wallace and T’yanna Wallace at The Biggie Experience

Interviewer: Have you and your brother CJ collaborated on any projects, particularly with regards to The Biggie Experience?

T’yanna Wallace: Absolutely! CJ has his own brand, Frank White, while I have Notoriouss and The Biggie Experience. Although we have separate entities, we always collaborate and support each other. Our brands often overlap, as we both focus on celebrating our dad’s legacy. My main objective is to cross-promote our brands, so you’ll find his products in my store, and we feature each other’s merchandise on our websites. We regularly team up for various initiatives, and we’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Our partnership is built on mutual support and a shared passion for honoring our father’s memory.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 27: Mister Cee attends Iconic Records: Life After Death Launch Event on April 27, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Warner Music Experience)

Interviewer: Mister Cee, a legendary producer who worked with your father, was a significant figure in your life. How much did he support you over the years, and how impactful was his support following his recent passing?

T’yanna Wallace: Mister Cee was my rock, my biggest supporter. After his passing, I was overwhelmed with emotion, reflecting on the countless memories we shared. He was always repping Notoriouss, my clothing line, proudly wearing our gear. His support was unwavering; he’d visit my home, eager for new merchandise, and constantly checked in on my well-being and my mom’s. What resonates deeply is that during times when others weren’t supportive, Mister Cee was consistently there for us, ensuring we were okay. His support meant everything, and his legacy lives on in my heart.

T’yanna Wallace: I miss him dearly. His passing still feels so recent, and I’m uncertain how we’ll navigate the future without him. Mister Cee was an integral part of our events, serving as our DJ at every March 9th party and Biggie celebration. This upcoming year will be the first without him, and I confided in CJ, “How will our gatherings feel without his presence?” It’s going to be a significant adjustment.

Interviewer: How do you embody The Biggie Experience as both a hip-hop brand and a Black woman-owned business?

T’yanna Wallace: As a business owner, I take immense pride in being a Black woman. I’m passionate about empowering fellow females and Black individuals. I actively promote ownership and encourage people of color to strive for it. Unity and mutual support are crucial; we should stand together and uplift one another.

“My role is to be a pillar of support and solidarity, lifting up others because that’s what we need as people of color and women. I’ve experienced firsthand the pain of lacking support from others, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate the power of having a sisterly figure who has your back. My mom, my rock and best friend, has been my greatest source of support, and I strive to be that same beacon of encouragement for my daughter. Without a sister, I’ve cherished the bonds I’ve formed with supportive female friends. Now, I’m dedicated to being that supportive figure for others. When I see a Black woman entrepreneur building her own business, I make a conscious effort to support her with my time, resources, and money, because I understand the challenges of turning a vision into a reality.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 08: C.J Wallace, Lil Cease, and T’yanna Wallace attend The Biggie Experience: “The Return Of The King” Private Launch on March 08, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Interviewer: Considering the scarcity of Black female-owned hip-hop brands that endure, your five-year milestone is truly impressive.

T’yanna Wallace: I’m proud to support fellow Black female entrepreneurs like my close friend Destiny, Nas’s daughter, who founded Lipmatic, a lip gloss brand. I showcased her products in my store to help her succeed. As young, Black, and female, we face added scrutiny due to our famous fathers, but we’re dedicated to putting in the work and proving ourselves.

“I told Destiny, ‘Send me the lip gloss, and I’ll take care of the rest.’ I believe in simplicity, so I just gave her the money, and whatever profit we made from selling her products, I sent it her way. I want to support my friends, and she’s an amazing person. When I had my brick-and-mortar store, it was a no-brainer to feature her lip glosses. I value our friendship and want to see her succeed.”

Interviewer: Do you make a conscious effort to connect with other daughters of hip-hop legends?

T’yanna Wallace: Absolutely! I’ve formed a close bond with Tyra, Jam Master Jay’s daughter. We collaborated on Juicy Pizza and even opened a pizza store in California together. That’s what it’s all about – building meaningful connections with people who understand your journey. When we come together, it’s truly special.

“What’s remarkable is that I’ve never actually met Nas, but his daughter Destiny and I have formed an incredibly strong bond. We’ve spent time together on multiple occasions, and she’s become close with my brother, friends, and even my mom. It’s a beautiful reminder that genuine connections can be made with people regardless of their family ties or famous parents. Sometimes, you just click with someone, and that’s what happened with Destiny and me.”

The Biggie Experience Bodega

Interviewer: What’s next for The Biggie Experience?

T’yanna Wallace: My vision is to create a lasting legacy with The Biggie Experience, making it a destination that fans will want to revisit time and again. To achieve this, we’ll be hosting diverse events every month, each offering a unique experience. For instance, in July, we’ll commemorate the anniversary of one of my father’s iconic albums with a special event at the museum. Even if you’ve visited us before, you’ll want to come back, as we’ll have new exhibits and surprises in store.

“I envision hosting a special event in the museum, dedicated to supporting children who have been impacted by gun violence or parental incarceration. This initiative aims to provide a safe space for these young individuals to connect, heal, and find community. By curating diverse events that cater to different groups at various times, my goal is to create a dynamic and inclusive environment that encourages repeat visits to the museum, even for those who have already experienced it. By doing so, we can foster a sense of belonging and create a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve.”

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