Every Stage Name Used By Biggie Smalls Explained

More often than not, the name of the rap game is any name but one's real name. Some artists can get away with using their birth names, like Kendrick Lamar or Tupac Shakur, but others have to rely upon more creative titles to distinguish themselves. In the case of Biggie Smalls, more is better than less, it would seem.

The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, Biggie Smalls, Frank White ... we all know him by various names. After rising to fame in the mid-90s, the forefather of gangsta rap carved a legacy that, following his untimely death in 1997, maintains its reigning prowess within the genre to this day. 

Born Christopher Wallace, the rapper adopted an alias early on in life. Amongst his childhood friends, he was known as "Big," which he attached to his rapper name later on as an homage to his early years (via Capital Xtra). As for the rest of the names, each has its own backstory. 

The names explained

Wallace is most commonly referred to by fans as The Notorious B.I.G., but his official title was originally Biggie Smalls, which was inspired by a fictional character in the gangster film, "Let's Do It Again." However, the name became a copyright issue after it was established that west coast rapper "Biggy Smallz" had already laid claim to it (per Showbiz CheatSheet).

He settled on The Notorious B.I.G. Smalls explained that B.I.G., in addition to being a nod to his childhood nickname, stood for "Business Instead of Game" (via Capital Xtra).

But why stop there? He also was known by friends and other hitters in the genre as Frank White. The name, inspired by another movie character, was that of one played by Christopher Walken in the 1990 film "King Of New York." Walken portrayed a drug lord who ran the narcotic circuit in New York City. The character's diabolical power enticed Smalls, so he took on the title in addition to the others. Finally, "Big Poppa" would be added to the roster after the release of the aptly named track and music video, according to Capital Xtra.