Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles

Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The murder was thought to be the culmination of an ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier, rapper Tupac Shakur was killed when he was shot while in his car in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Ironically, Wallace’s death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practictioner of “gangsta rap." His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast’s leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York. Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace’s ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.

READ MORE: How Biggie and Tupac Went From Friends to Music's Biggest Rivals

Wallace’s raps about violent street life were not completely fiction. He grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn and had many run-ins with the law growing up. Even after he reached stardom in the music world, his legal woes continued. In the summer of 1996 he was arrested when police found marijuana and firearms at his New Jersey home. He also gave a new meaning to fan appreciation when he assaulted a pair of admirers with a baseball bat. The murder of Wallace has never been solved, though it has been suggested that either Marion “Suge” Knight, the former head of Death Row Records, Shakur’s label, or the Crips gang may be be responsible. Knight was also shot (but not wounded seriously) in the fatal Las Vegas attack on Shakur and is rumored to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Wallace, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Knight has been incarcerated for a fatal hit-and-run since 2018.

READ MORE: Inside Notorious B.I.G.'s Final Days and Drive-By Murder in Los Angeles


Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practitioner of “gangsta rap,” peppering his song with profane, violent and misogynistic lyrics. His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast’s leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York. Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace’s ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.

Wallace’s raps about violent street life were not completely fiction. He grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn and had many run-ins with the law growing up. Even after he reached stardom in the music world, his legal woes continued. In the summer of 1996 he was arrested when police found marijuana and firearms at his New Jersey home. He also gave a new meaning to fan appreciation when he assaulted a pair of admirers with a baseball bat. The murder of Wallace has never been solved, though it has been suggested that either Marion “Suge” Knight, the former head of Death Row Records, Shakur’s label, or the Crips gang may be be responsible. Knight was also shot (but not wounded seriously) in the fatal Las Vegas attack on Shakur and is rumored to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Wallace, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Since Wallace’s death, Knight had been in and out of court and prison on a variety of charges.


Former FBI Agent Claims The Notorious B.I.G. Was Executed in a Hit Arranged by Suge Knight

The Notorious B.I.G.&aposs 1997 murder was commissioned by Suge Knight, according to a former FBI agent with ties to the cold case who is once again coming forward with his claims.

On Saturday (May 29), the New York Post published a report surrounding the nearly 25-year-old murder, in which retired FBI agent Phil Carson, who worked the case for two years, revealed he&aposs seen sealed documents that confirm Biggie was killed at the behest of Knight. The hit was allegedly carried out by Nation of Islam convert Amir Muhammad with the assistance of corrupt Los Angeles police officers.

𠇊ll the evidence points to Amir Muhammad," Carson told the paper. “He’s the one who pulled the trigger. There were plenty of others who helped orchestrate it [and] allowed him to pull the trigger.”

Carson called the alleged cover-up "the biggest miscarriage of justice in my 20-year career at the FBI.” He says his attempts to raise the alarm were ignored by officials. “I had evidence that LAPD officers were involved and I was shut down by the LAPD and city attorneys inside Los Angeles,” Carson added.

The former FBI agent&apossਊssertions are shared by film producer Don Sikorski, and movie director Brad Furman, who both worked on the 2018 film City of Lies surrounding the case. They reportedly have both seen the sealed documents Carson is basing his case on. 𠇊ll the answers are in black and white,” Sikorski said.

Carson filed an FBI report in 2003, with prosecutors, spelling out his conclusions. 𠇊mir Muhammad, AKA Harry Billups, the godparent to LAPD Officer David Mack’s two children, has been identified by several sources as the trigger man,” reads the formal FBI request. “Mack is a registered owner of a 1995 Black SS Impala with chrome wheels, the exact description given as being driven by Wallace’s shooter.”

Carson goes on to claim the initial target of the shooting was Diddy. The former agent says he shared this information with the Bad Boy Entertainment head personally and Puff was “pretty freaked out” after hearing the story.

This isn&apost the first time the Muhammad theory has been brought forth. A 2002 book called LAbyrinth, which was written by author Randall Sullivan and is what City of Lies is based on, makes the same claims. Muhammad has been cleared of all charges, as well as David Mack, the former LAPD officer accused of conspiring to commit the crime. Carson, Sikorski and Furman are now pushing for the case, which is still open but had very little movement, to be renewed.

The Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, was killed on March 9, 1997, in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and South Fairfax Avenue following the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards. In the time since Biggie&aposs death, there has been much speculation as to who committed the crime.

Biggie was in the midst of beef with Suge&aposs artist Tupac Shakur at the time of ’Pac&aposs Sept. 13, 1996 murder, leading some to assume Suge was somehow involved. Suge has maintained his innocence in The Notorious B.I.G.&aposs murder and has never been officially charged for the crime.

In 2002, Biggie&aposs mother, Voletta Wallace, filed a wrongful lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming there was a cover-up of police involvement in the rapper&aposs death. Her case was dismissed in 2010.

Suge Knight is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for the 2015 vehicular homicide of Terry Carter.


Mar 9, 1997: Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is Killed in Los Angeles

Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., is shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was thought to be the culmination of an ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier, rapper Tupac Shakur was killed when he was shot while in his car in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Ironically, Wallace’s death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practictioner of “gangsta rap,” peppering his song with profane, violent and misogynistic lyrics. His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast’s leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York. Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace’s ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.

Wallace’s raps about violent street life were not completely fiction. He grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn and had many run-ins with the law growing up. Even after he reached stardom in the music world, his legal woes continued. In the summer of 1996 he was arrested when police found marijuana and firearms at his New Jersey home. He also gave a new meaning to fan appreciation when he assaulted a pair of admirers with a baseball bat. The murder of Wallace has never been solved, though it has been suggested that either Marion “Suge” Knight, the former head of Death Row Records, Shakur’s label, or the Crips gang may be be responsible. Knight was also shot (but not wounded seriously) in the fatal Las Vegas attack on Shakur and is rumored to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Wallace, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Since Wallace’s death, Knight had been in and out of court and prison on a variety of charges.


LAPD unseals autopsy report of rapper Notorious B.I.G.

The Los Angeles Police Department took the unusual step Friday of unsealing the 15-year-old autopsy report of rapper Notorious B.I.G., saying they hope to generate new leads in the murder mystery.

The autopsy report had been kept private at the request of investigators. But on Friday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office released the 23-page document, which provided details about the shooting.

“Investigators decided to release the autopsy to stimulate new interest in the case and hopefully produce new leads,” said Lt. Andrew Neiman.

Notorious B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher George Latore Wallace, died in March 1997 when he was shot four times during a drive-by attack on Wilshire Boulevard. Wallace had been sitting in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban.

He was killed by a shot that entered his right hip before slicing through his colon, liver, heart and part of his lung before wedging in his left shoulder area, according to the report signed by Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Scheinin.

One shot hit Wallace’s left forearm and traveled down to his wrist, while a another hit him in the back and exited his body through his left shoulder, the report said. Another shot hit his left thigh and traveled through to his inner thigh.

Examiners noted they could not determine the sequence of the shots.

The Brooklyn rapper, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where doctors performed emergency surgery. Two medium-caliber lead bullets were recovered from his hospital gurney.

No drugs or alcohol were found in Wallace’s system, according to a toxicology screen.

The unexpected release of the autopsy report after all this time caught the rapper’s family off guard. Family members said they are disheartened the case has still not been solved.

“What legitimate lead could be stimulated by releasing an autopsy that says Mr. Wallace was shot. When everyone knows that. Why don’t they release some of the clues they have? said Perry Sanders Jr., a civil rights attorney who represents Wallace’s mother and other relatives.

The shooting occurred outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Miracle Mile area as the rapper was leaving a music industry party. At the time of his death, Wallace was one of the biggest stars in rap music. Coroner’s officials noted he arrived at Cedar’s in full cardiac arrest and died shortly after.

His slaying shocked the hip-hop community, coming just months after the Las Vegas slaying of another marquee rapper, Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur.

Once friends, the rappers became rivals whose respective camps regularly traded violent barbs in song lyrics and in interviews. Shakur’s slaying also remains unsolved. Various theories have linked the two homicides.

The FBI opened its own probe after Wallace’s family accused the LAPD of covering up how the rapper actually died. Los Angeles police officials last year said they exhaustively searched for answers in the case without an arrest.


Gangsta rap performer Notorious B.I.G. slain

Rap music star Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death along Museum Row in Los Angeles’ Mid-Wilshire district early Sunday as he left a music industry party, a brazen attack that marked the second drive-by murder of a gangsta rap celebrity in the last six months.

B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, was leaving the party at the Petersen Automotive Museum about 12:30 a.m. when police believe someone in a dark car pulled up alongside the passenger side of the GMC Suburban in which he was riding and fired several shots inside.

The 24-year-old rapper, who had earned rave reviews and big sales in giving voice to the violent edge of the streets, was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 1:15 a.m. His body was identified Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles coroner’s office by his ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and his mother, who flew in from New York, officials said.

Although more than 1,000 people were said to be at the party, police said they had few eyewitnesses and even fewer solid leads to the shooting at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.

At the time of the shooting, hundreds of industry executives and musicians were pouring out of the Petersen museum after organizers decided to shut the party down, apparently because of the overflow crowd, according to police. Many of the guests fled in panic as the shots rang out.

Some detectives are worried about a repeat of the stalled investigation into the murder of Tupac Shakur. That rap star--a rival to Wallace--was fatally shot on the busy Las Vegas Strip in September, but police there have complained that witnesses refused to cooperate. The Shakur case remains unsolved.

Detectives said they are investigating whether Wallace’s death is linked to bicoastal tensions within the rap world, but had nothing solid to go on. Other theories are being pursued as well.

Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Jason Lee said: “We’re not ruling out anything at this time. . . . It could be anything. It could be a gang, it could be ties to something, it could be a random shooting. We don’t know.”

LAPD Det. Raymond Futami said he suspects that witnesses in the Wallace case are afraid to talk.

“It’s frustrating,” said Futami, one of nearly a dozen detectives on the case. “I think there’s a lot of people who are not coming forward. I’m sure there’s a little bit of an intimidation factor . . . because of the reputation of some of the people who are involved in this case.”

Wallace, a 6-foot-3 man who weighed 380 pounds and also went by the name Biggie Smalls, lived in New Jersey and was in Los Angeles to record music and to attend Friday night’s Soul Train Music Awards and related festivities. His next album was scheduled to come out in two weeks. Its title now seems grimly ironic: “Life After Death . . . ‘Til Death Do Us Part.”

Wallace had said in an interview with The Times last week that his injuries in a car accident a few months ago had convinced him to “slow down . . . and think about what you’re gonna do with the rest of your life.” But he remained stoic about his future, saying he had stopped believing that his stature in the rap industry could insulate him from its volatility.

“There’s nothing that protects you from the inevitable. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, no matter what you do,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you clean up your life and present yourself differently, what goes around comes around, man. It’s crazy for me to even think . . . that a rapper can’t get killed just because he raps. I’m stupid for even thinking that it couldn’t.”

An ex-crack dealer from Brooklyn who had several brushes with the law, Wallace often found himself at the center of speculation about a cross-continent feud between himself and West Coast rap players such as Shakur and industry mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Last year at the awards show, Wallace’s bodyguard brandished a weapon and got into a scuffle with an armed member of Shakur’s entourage outside Shrine Auditorium.

Capping off this week’s activities was the Saturday night party at the Petersen for artists and music executives, including many from the rap and R&B set who had attended the awards show. The party was thrown by Vibe Magazine and Qwest Records--both founded and operated by Quincy Jones--and by Tanqueray Gin, police said.

Jones, a 40-year entertainment industry veteran, could not be reached for comment Sunday. His daughter Kidada, who was engaged to rapper Tupac Shakur and was with him the night he was gunned down, attended the party Saturday.

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, editor-in-chief of The Source Magazine, the rap industry’s leading publication, talked with Wallace for a few minutes at the party. “We just did a cover article on him and he wasn’t crazy about the cover,” he said.

Hinds said he and others from his magazine left the party and were just outside the museum at a red light at Wilshire and Fairfax--the intersection where police said the shooting took place--when he heard a series of shots.

“It sounded like it was at least 10,” he said. “When we heard the shots, we looked up and saw what looked like a big black Jeep. The doors started popping open on the Jeep and it became bedlam, a frantic circle of activity. I saw a guy holding his hands to his face. I couldn’t see if the guys around the car had just rolled on the Jeep or they were from inside the car.”

Not knowing if the shots would continue, Hinds said he sped off, thinking little of the incident until hours later. Early Sunday morning, his pager began going off and he learned of the shooting. “I was stunned and shocked,” he said. It “seemed like Biggie was in such a good mood when I saw him. The whole vibe this weekend after the Soul Train Awards was so peaceful.”

Dozens of concerned friends and fans gathered in the hospital parking lot early Sunday. Wallace’s sport utility vehicle, riddled with at least five bullet holes, remained in view there until detectives impounded it.

At hip-hop radio stations, record shops and other venues in Los Angeles that had embraced Wallace’s music, his death was met with both shock and anger Sunday, as fans deplored the loss of two of the industry’s biggest talents.

“People have been calling me up crying. . . . Every phone call is someone crying,” said Russell Simmons, CEO of Def Jam Music Group and Rush Communications, who was sitting at a table with Wallace just hours before he was shot.

At Tempo Records on Hoover Street across from USC, the shop doubled its order for Notorious B.I.G.'s March 25 album release to meet an expected rush.

“We did the same thing when Miles Davis and Tupac died,” said manager Raymon Comeaux. “Whenever an artist dies, we’ve got to pack the shelves.”

Police pursued initial reports that the gunman was riding in a black utility vehicle and, about two hours after the shooting, stopped a man in the area whose vehicle fit that description, Futami said. The man had a gun, and police booked him on suspicion of firing it into the air shortly after the slaying--but they do not consider him a suspect in the killing, he said. Based on other witnesses’ accounts, police now believe the assailant’s vehicle was a dark full-sized car, not a truck or sport-utility vehicle, he said.

“We can safely say it was a male black who did the shooting,” Futami said. He declined to say whether the gunman was alone in the vehicle.

Wallace’s slaying triggered instant debate in the rap community over whether he may have been the latest victim of a bicoastal rap feud, possibly linked to Shakur’s death.

Wallace was considered a rival of Shakur, who had accused him of involvement in a November 1994 robbery in which Shakur was shot several times and lost $40,000 in jewelry. Wallace denied having anything to do with that crime and few in the rap community except Shakur believed that he did.

Shakur escalated his verbal attacks in 1995 after joining Death Row Records, regularly ridiculing both Wallace and Sean “Puffy” Combs, the owner of Bad Boy Entertainment, the New York label for which Wallace recorded. Shakur even wrote a song about his hatred for East Coast rappers in which he taunted Wallace, calling him a “fat mother ------" and claimed that he had sex with Wallace’s wife.

But sources close to Bad Boy and Death Row dismissed speculation that Wallace’s slaying was an act of retaliation.

“It’s ludicrous for anyone out there to blame Death Row,” said Norris Anderson, who took over as general manager of Death Row after Knight was jailed on a probation violation in October. “We do not condone this kind of activity, and Death Row certainly had nothing to do with it. Snoop and Biggie and Puffy have been in the press recently trying to quash all this media madness.”

“This is a terrible tragedy,” Anderson said. “I got woke up with the news at 5 a.m. this morning and I am still blown away. Death Row knows how bad something like this can feel. It happened in our own backyard with Tupac just a few months ago. My condolences go out to Biggie’s family. I feel horrible for them. This killing has to stop.”

Contributing to this story were Times staff writers John M. Gonzales and Frank B. Williams.


Former FBI Agent Claims Suge Knight Financed Notorious B.I.G's Murder

Decades after the murder of Notorious BIG, new details continue to emerge.

According to a recent New York Post report, there’s new details in the death of the famous Brooklyn rapper. The report states that according to former FBI agent Phil Carson, the Death Row Records founder Suge Knight financed Biggie’s murder on March 9, 1997 in Los Angeles.

The former agent said that according to the evidence found, a man by the name Amir Muhammad pulled the trigger that killed Biggie.

“All the evidence points to Amir Muhammad. He’s the one who pulled the trigger,” recalled former FBI agent Phil Carson, who worked the case for two years. “There were plenty of others who helped orchestrate it [and] allowed him to pull the trigger.”

He also stated that the main target was not Biggie, but Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Former agent Carson further explains how the cover-up “was the biggest miscarriage of justice in my 20-year career at the FBI. I had evidence that LAPD officers were involved and I was shut down by the LAPD and city attorneys inside Los Angeles.”

What do you think about this? Do you believe these new allegations into Notorious BIG’s murder? Let us know.


How the Unsolved Murder of Notorious B.I.G. Became an Obsession-Worthy Mystery for the Ages

Des Willie/Redferns

On April 12, 1997, Life After Death hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, skyrocketing from No. 176 in the course of a week—the biggest one-week leap ever in the chart's history.

Prompting the meteoric rise of the double-disc release, still the third best-selling rap album of all time with more than 10 million copies sold, was the arrival into the mainstream consciousness of the artist responsible, Notorious B.I.G., who had been murdered March 9, 1997, at the age of 24, two weeks before Life After Death's release.

Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls and born Christopher George Latore Wallace at St. Mary's Hospital in Brooklyn, was already a hip-hop mega-star, his 1994 debut Ready to Die also cited as one of the most influential releases of its time, having shifted the epicenter of the rap world back to the East Coast—where it arguably stayed until alternative capitals of the hip-hop world started cropping up in other regions of the country in the late 1990s.

But Biggie's murder, coming six months after rival Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas, propelled the late rapper, his label Bad Boy Records and its founder Sean Combs (Puff Daddy back in the day, then Diddy), and the concept of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry into the center of the pop culture universe, turning gangsta rap from a specialty genre into the stuff all the kids—including the white ones in the suburbs—were listening to, on CD and Top 40 radio.

Here's betting (going by personal experience) that half the teenagers who were snatching up copies of Life After Death in the summer of 1997 didn't know much about what had happened to Notorious B.I.G., or maybe even that he was dead. They just knew that they were loving the likes of "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money Mo Problems." (Just as Tupac's "California Love" became a SoCal anthem for the blissfully unaware as much as it did for the rapper's die-hard fans.)

Subsequently, Puff Daddy & the Family's No Way Out, anchored by the massive Police-sampling hit "I'll Be Missing You," featuring Biggie's widow Faith Evans—the first rap single to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100—also became one of the best-selling hip-hop albums of all time.

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Obviously the lyrics that were Biggie's trademark—all about pushing drugs, packing heat, rolling in new money and defying the specter of death that loomed over those who lived the hardcore life but chose to live fast and maybe die young anyway—proved eerily prescient.

Even before the funereal imagery of Life After Death, in which Wallace looked to be already in mourning for himself as well as serving as his own undertaker, he was already akin to a ghostly presence weighing in from the afterlife after the disturbing climax of the final track on his ➔ debut Ready to Die, a gunshot that connotes the artist committing suicide.

And while being a talented artist cut down violently at such a young age, on the precipice of super-stardom, would have been enough to have ensured Wallace's place in music history, no one has ever been charged in his death.

His murder following a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum—which still sits there unassumingly at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles—remains unsolved and conspiracy theories abound.

One theory—detailed in the 2011 book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations by retired LAPD detective Greg Kading—is that Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight was behind Biggie's murder as direct retribution for Tupac's infamously still-unsolved slaying, and that Combs orchestrated Tupac's murder and was therefore unwilling to aid the investigation into Biggie's death.

Shakur had accused Wallace and Combs of being involved in the 1994 armed robbery at Manhattan's Quad Studios in which Shakur was shot and robbed of $40,000 in jewelry. (Both Biggie and Combs denied involvement, no proof ever surfaced that they were and no one was charged with any crimes.)

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, ran a series in the early ✀s on the murders that included reporting suggesting that the Crips had killed Shakur in retaliation for the rapper attacking one of their members in Las Vegas and Biggie, perched in a suite at the MGM Grand, had promised them $1 million and supplied the murder weapon. (Knight was linked to the rival Bloods.)

"It was so ridiculous," Biggie's mother, Voletta Wallace, told Rolling Stone in 2010, recalling the Times article. "My son is Notorious B.I.G. If my son is gonna go to Las Vegas, don't tell me nobody didn't see him."

Moreover, with Wallace's death coming barely two years after the O.J. Simpson trial and five years after the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers in the beating of Rodney King, distrust of the LAPD remained high among minority communities. The tentacles of the Notorious B.I.G. investigation would also reach into the LAPD's infamous Rampart scandal of the late 1990s, when Rafael Perez, himself a dirty cop, alleged that more than 70 officers who worked the anti-gang beat were guilty of planting evidence, stealing drugs, unlawful beatings and shootings and more while working within largely Hispanic territory. Twenty-four officers were ultimately punished, but only five fired outright. Detectives drew links from Perez to Knight and Biggie's death, but the theory went that LAPD brass wanted to keep Perez out of further trouble so he would be a better witness in the corruption case.

A wrongful death lawsuit Voletta Wallace and various relatives filed against the city in 2002, claiming investigators had covered up information about LAPD involvement in her son's death, ended in a mistrial in 2005—but not before a judge ordered the city to pay Wallace's family $1.1 million in sanctions. Voletta refiled in 2006 and the case was dismissed without prejudice (meaning it could be refiled) in 2010.

"I trusted everyone [before Christopher's murder]," Voletta told Rolling Stone. "I trusted the Los Angeles Police Department. I had to believe that they wanted to find out who the murderer of my son was. I had no idea there were such powerful forces involved in all of this."

Her lawsuit had also originally named ex-LAPD Officer David Mack—another person implicated in the Rampart investigation and linked to Knight and Death Row—and his associate Amir Muhammad, whom police suspected had pulled the trigger on Biggie, but they were dismissed from the complaint before it went to trial.

"What I need from this lawsuit is that the person or persons who murdered my son are brought to justice," Voletta also said, insisting her suit wasn't about the money, although music industry experts had projected the lost earnings from Notorious B.I.G.'s death to be upward of $300 million. "What I need from this lawsuit is honesty. What I need from this lawsuit is to show that humans have integrity, show that they're not cowards, show that they're not liars, show that they care about the truth."

Combs has adamantly maintained he had nothing to do with Tupac's murder. He was at the Vibe Magazine party at the museum the night Biggie was killed, and they left at the same time, Combs getting into his car, a white Suburban, and Biggie settling into the passenger seat of a green Suburban being driven by Gregory "G-Money" Young. Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s James "Lil' Caesar" Lloyd and Damien "D-Rock" Butler were in the back seat.

"As we were driving, [from] my car], I heard shots ring out," Combs said in an interview on March 28, 1997, his first time speaking out after his friend's death. "At first I just thought it was someone shooting in the air, and just human reaction I immediately ducked. Everybody in my car ducked down. Then I heard somebody yell, 'They shot at Biggie's car.'" He shook his head.

"And then I just jumped out of my car and I ran directly to his car, and all the doors were open. He was hunched over and I was just there, I was talkin' to him, and the security officer that was driving my vehicle, I told him to just jump in [Biggie's] vehicle and just try to rush him to the hospital. And that's what we did."

Wallace was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which is less than two miles away from the museum. At least seven witnesses contributed to a police sketch artist's detailed drawing of the shooter.

Combs recalled the last thing Wallace said to him before the shooting was that he couldn't wait for his second album to come out: "He just felt that when the album came out, it was going to clear up a lot of stuff because over the past few years people have been talking about him in records, there had been so-called controversy. And he had wanted to represent on his album of not even feeding in toward that negativity, and he felt proud that he didn't do that. Heɽ also did a tribute record to California called 'Going Back to Cali' and he had just felt, you know, that once the album came out, a lot of fans would understand that he wasn't on that [feud] B.S.

"He was just trying to make good music and represent for everybody as a whole internationally—east, west, Europe, Africa, wherever they was from that wanted to listen to his music and wanted to feel his point of view. He just wanted to accept them."

While his music did indeed cement Notorious B.I.G.'s legacy as a hip-hop great, his tragic demise turned his rather short life story into an epic that people continue to talk about, 24 years later. He would've turned 49 on May 21.

In the 2009 biopic Notorious, the rapper's actual son, Christopher Wallace Jr., portrayed him as a child and Jamal Woolard played him as a young man, while Derek Luke played Combs, Anthony Mackie portrayed Tupac and Angela Bassett was Voletta Wallace. Both Combs and Voletta were among the film's producers.

City of Lies—a film based on journalist Randall Sullivan's book about the investigation, LAbyrinth, and starring Johnny Depp as Russell Poole, an LAPD detective who worked the case and came to believe Suge Knight had ordered the hits on Shakur and Biggie, with the help of David Mack in the latter—was made but shelved a month before its 2018 release date in the wake of a spate of bad publicity for Depp.

Meanwhile, Suge Knight, who was in prison when Biggie was killed—and is in prison now after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a fatal hit-and-run, not eligible for parole until 2037—was never charged or named as a defendant in any civil suit filed by the Wallace family.

Poole quit the LAPD in 1999 and died in 2015 of a heart attack at 58 (according to the Los Angeles Times, he collapsed at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau while discussing an unspecified cold case) the hip-hop community mourned him online as someone who had tirelessly sought justice for Biggie.

When Poole had tried to track down Orlando Anderson, the Crips member who was widely believed at the time to have shot Tupac and had testified on Knight's behalf in the assault case that supposedly got Shakur killed, Anderson turned up dead, as did a potential witness.

"It just seemed incredibly convenient," Poole told Rolling Stone in 2010. "The best witness and main suspect in the murder of Tupac, both shot dead, while the case remained unsolved."

The USA limited series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. starred Jimmi Simpson as Poole and Josh Duhamel as Greg Kading, who wrote the 2011 book alleging the massive conspiracy involving Combs and Shakur, Knight and the LAPD.

Combs told LA Weekly when it wrote about the book in 2011: "This story is pure fiction and completely ridiculous."

A task force of LAPD detectives and agents from the DEA and FBI was formed in 2006. Voletta Wallace was suing the city at the time and Kading wrote, "it came as no surprise that the brass wasted no time in putting together a task force to finally solve the 9-year-old case, find the killer, and hopefully exonerate the police in the process."

Kading, who alleged the LAPD had taped and written confessions pertaining to Biggie's murder, wrote that he was removed from the task force in 2009 and the rest of the team was dissolved in 2010, prompting Kading's retirement from the force after 22 years.

Kading also slammed Poole's theory of the case—Mack in league with Knight—as being just a tiny fraction of what was really going on.

Needless to say, any new film or TV show about the murders has plenty of plot points to follow, characters to introduce and theories to probe.

And then, of course, there's Biggie's tangible legacy—his music and his family.

Bad Boy Entertainment released Born Again, compiled mainly from previously unreleased early recordings by Biggie fleshed out with new beats and guest rappers, in 1999, and in 2005 Biggie's vocals were combined with verses from the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and Nas for the album Duets: The Final Chapter.

"The Chris I knew was a good guy," jazz artist Donald Harrison, who met Wallace as a teenager in Brooklyn and schooled him in diction and phrasing, told NPR in 2010. "He wasn't the guy who did all these things [the crimes he rapped about]. He was really looking for love and acceptance at the end of the day. That's what he was looking for. And he paid a price for looking for love."

Faith Evans, the mother of Biggie's son, joined Diddy, Ma$e and 112 on stage for the Bad Boy family reunion at the 2015 BET Awards, where the set list included "Mo Money Mo Problems."

"I'm sure there are youngsters that've heard [Biggie's music] for the first time recently that can certainly agree [how good it is]," she told Fuse in 2014. "It sounds like it very well could've been released right now. His style is still so ill. He's still the greatest to me."

Christopher Jr. graduated from high school in 2014 and Evans, said he absolutely reminded her of his father.

"I mean, he looks a lot like him, just a lighter version," she also told Fuse. "He does little things that he wouldn't have remembered his dad doing, like the way he rubs his nose, or the way he flicks his toes together, or the way he has his sinus issues like his dad. [Even] the sounds he makes, it's so strange. He stands like him. You know, but other than that, he has a really sly, low-key sense of humor too, and very sarcastic, just like his dad."

Thanks to @hot991 #Albany for having me! #TKAI May 19!

A post shared by Faith Evans (@therealfaithevans) on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:16am PST

In 2016, T'yanna Wallace—Biggie's daughter who was born in 1993, the year before he married Evans—put Diddy on blast on Twitter for not securing tickets for her for the Bad Boy reunion concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where her dad was going to be honored. "his bad boy concert is for my dad's bday but I got NOT ONE TICKET. just wanna point that out," she wrote. "Haven't spoken to puff in years, I guess that's why I didn't get a ticket to the concert. Puff does nothing for my family. Tired of lying for his lame ass!"

Diddy got in touch and the tweets were deleted, with T'yanna writing, "Me & puff talked, a lot of things were cleared up & everything is LOVE!! So everybody can calm down. Honestly just happy things were addressed. That convo needed to happen fo real."

"I already had tickets to the side for the family, of course," Combs clarified what happened with T'yanna during a sit-down with Hot 97. "People were notified. They didn't notify her. We don't have no problem. Sometimes, you gotta understand, in this new social world that we live in, there's a part of the generation, when they really get upset about something, sometimes that's what they do. I called her. I let her know that I love her."

BET marked the 20th anniversary of his death in 2017 #Biggie20, with B.I.G.-themed programming, and the network spearheaded the social tribute "Kick in the Lyrics," featuring Remy Ma, Fat Joe, Trey Songz, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Dream, Syd, Jason Derulo, Dej Loaf, Method Man and more giving their take on Biggie's hit "Juicy."

The Brooklyn Nets honored the city's fallen son during a game against the Knicks, while Spread Art NYC hosted a multi-media tribute to Biggie at Brooklyn's Bishop Gallery, organized by Naoufal Alaoui and Scott Zimmerman, the street artists responsible for a mural of the rapper at Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story, a documentary chronicling the legendary label's 20-year history, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017. B.I.G. obviously played a huge role in that story.

And after her son died, Voletta Wallace kept a close watch on his legacy and his estate, trying to be discerning when deciding what to lend Biggie's name and beats to and what might sully his musical reputation.

"If I see something that's going to belittle his integrity or his memory, I won't do it," she told Billboard.com in October 2016. "It has to do with principles, morality and honesty."

Voletta said that there was a petition circulating to rename St. James Place, the Brooklyn street her son grew up on, to Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace Way.

"There's a lot of politics behind it, but there is also a lot of love behind it, and from what I gather the people are behind it," she said. "I would like to see that done."


Today in Hip-Hop History: Notorious B.I.G Shot and Killed in Los Angeles 24 Years Ago

On this day in 1997, Brooklyn native and Hip Hop legend Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in LA. 20 years ago Wallace left Puff Daddy’s party in a GMC Suburban SUV that stopped at a red light at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and South Fairfax. While stopped a Chevrolet Impala SS pulled up beside him and his entourage. According to witnesses, a black male dressed in a blue suit and bow tie rolled down his window and shot Biggie four times and he was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The legacy BIG left behind is embedded in Hip Hop culture officially two decades later and will continue to influence the community as his family and friends share his story.


4 reasons the Notorious B.I.G.'s death is still one of the biggest unsolved murder mysteries

On March 18, 1997, thousands lined the streets of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, to pay final respects to rapper Biggie Smalls, who was shot and killed on this day 20 years ago in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The funeral procession made its way through the area in which Smalls grew up and had famously rapped about in his music.

In the years since that day, there have been tribute songs, articles, films, murals and acknowledgments of the rapper's death and birthday on social media. But a void is still left in the hearts of fans as the late rap star's murder remains a cold case. Here are four reasons why Smalls' death is still one of the biggest unsolved murder mysteries.

Ties between Biggie and Tupac's death not yet proven

On Sept. 13, 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas, six months before Smalls' murder. According to a 1997 FBI file released on Smalls' case in 2011, he was killed in retaliation for Shakur's murder, but those claims have yet to lead to arrests in Smalls' case.

In the months leading up to the rappers' deaths, the two emcees were at the center of an East Coast-West Coast rap beef, which started after Shakur was shot in a New York City recording studio in November 1994. Smalls was also at the studio with members of his entourage, leading Shakur to believe Smalls knew about his assailant. In the months after, there were fights between members and associates of Shakur's label Death Row Records and Smalls' label Bad Boy Records at events, according to the FBI documents.

Did Suge Knight and the LAPD cover up Biggie's death?

Russell Poole was the lead detective in Smalls' murder case. During his investigation, he suspected that Death Row label head Suge Knight was behind the killing and enlisted the help of a LAPD officer to arrange it, but no charges were filed against him. It is documented within the FBI files that off-duty LAPD officers worked as security guards at Death Row events. Poole believed Knight's power over the police blocked a deeper investigation from happening. Poole spoke further about his theory in the 2002 documentary Biggie & Tupac.

To add another layer to the case, Poole believed Knight also set up Shakur's killing to avoid paying the rapper millions in profits and royalties, the Rolling Stone reported. Shakur's death also remains unsolved.

Meanwhile, Knight is currently being held on $10 million bail for a murder charge. His trial is expected to begin in early summer.

Lead detective's life and "strange" death

Poole left the LAPD in 1999 but continued working as a private detective he was later featured in documentaries detailing Smalls' death and a book titled LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Smalls' family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles based on Poole's claims of police involvement in the rapper's killing., though the case was dismissed in 2010.

Poole reportedly had a heart attack in August 2015 while meeting with LAPD investigators about a cold case. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died, according to the LA Times. Rapper Busta Rhymes dedicated a post to Poole upon hearing the news, calling his passing "strange." With Poole's death, the Smalls case lost one of the most visible investigators and advocates looking to solve it.

Another LAPD detective's explosive claims

In 2011, LAPD investigator Greg Kading came forward with other theories on the deaths of Shakur and Smalls in a book called Murder Rap, which was adapted for a documentary of the same name in 2015. Kading posited that Knight paid Bloods gang member Wardell "Poochie" Fouse $13,000 to kill Biggie. Fouse was killed in July 2003.

Kading also alleged that Sean "Diddy" Comgs had hired a hitman to kill Shakur, according to the Guardian. Diddy called the claims "nonsense" in a 2016 interview with Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club. Kading was part of a task force that began investigating Smalls' death in 2006, the LA Weekly reported, which included the LAPD, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI — though Kading said he was pulled off the force in 2009.

Presently, Biggie's case remains unsolved.

Mic has ongoing Biggie Smalls coverage. Please follow our main Biggie Smalls hub here.


Car in Which Notorious B.I.G. Was Murdered Set for Auction on Anniversary of Rapper’s Death

Los Angeles auction house Moments in Time is causing controversy once again by putting a valuable piece of East Coast–West Coast rap battle history on the block.

The green GMC Suburban, in which famed Brooklyn rapper the Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace) was gunned down on the night of March 9, 1997, is being offered for $1.5 million.

Exactly 20 years ago this Thursday, the rapper had been in L.A. promoting his second album—the ironically titled Life After Death—when he was killed in a drive-by shooting, a crime that has never been solved. (The album would be released posthumously, and went on to be certified 10-times multiplatinum by January 6, 2000.)

As is revealed in the car’s provenance letter, a couple bought the car in October 1997 in Chula Vista, California, for their growing family, not realizing that it had been involved in the famous murder. It wasn’t until 2005, when an L.A. detective “called and informed us … that [the car] would be needed for the trial,” that they found out.

If Moments in Time sounds familiar, it’s because they controversially auctioned off lyrics written by Tupac Shakur on the anniversary of his death last year (there were reports that his family was attempting to block the sale the auction page now leads to a dead link).

Take a look at the Notorious B.I.G. auction here. Below, watch the 1997 America’s Most Wanted episode that aired following his murder.

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Watch the video: The Notorious. - Juicy Official Video Remastered in 4K