Entries in Christopher Wallace (2)


Notorious B.I.G. Died 15 Years Ago

Chris Walter/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Fifteen years ago Friday, on March 9, 1997, rapper Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, Biggie or Big Poppa, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.  He was just 24 years old.  The murder has yet to be solved, but the music of Biggie, born Christopher Wallace, continues to inspire and influence the hip hop world.

Hitting the scene at a time when West Coat rap dominated, Biggie was credited with helping to revitalize East Coast rap, with smashes like "Juicy," "Big Poppa" and "One More Chance" showing off his distinctive slow flow and baritone voice. His 1994 debut, titled Ready to Die, went four times platinum.  By the end of 1995, he was the best-selling male solo artist in the U.S.  

Biggie's success also contributed to the rise of Sean "Diddy" Combs' fortunes.  Having signed the then-unknown rapper to Uptown Records, Combs took Biggie with him when he was fired from Uptown and started his own label, Bad Boy Records.  From that grew the entire Bad Boy empire, which now includes a clothing line, a restaurant, a marketing company and vodka.  Likewise, Faith Evans, who Biggie eventually married, and Lil Kim, whom he showcased in his group Junior M.A.F.I.A., owe their careers in part to their association with the late rapper.

Unfortunately, Biggie's success contributed to an East Coast/West Coast hip hop rivalry. His beef with slain rapper Tupac Shakur is sometimes cited as the reason for his death.  Tupac accused Biggie and Combs of being involved in an incident in which he was robbed, shot and wounded in New York, and later taunted Biggie on the diss track "Hit 'Em Up" by claiming that he'd slept with Faith Evans.  

Biggie was rumored to have been involved in Tupac's September, 1996 shooting murder, but there has never been any proof of that.   A year later, as Biggie traveled to L.A. to promote his upcoming album Life After Death, he was shot in his car while traveling home from a Soul Train Awards after-party.  Life After Death topped the charts, producing the #1 hits "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money Mo Problems."  Later that year, Sean Combs, or Diddy as he is known now, launched his own rap career with the album No Way Out, which featured the #1 tribute to Biggie, "I'll Be Missing You."

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Biggie's family against the city of Los Angeles was dismissed without prejudice in 2010.

A Notorious B.I.G memorial event is scheduled to take place Friday night at Manhattan's Rebel NYC club beginning at 10 p.m. and will be hosted by Biggie's widow, Faith Evans, and Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s Lil Cease.  Tributes and performances are expected from Beanie Siegel, Peedi Crakk, Black Rob and others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Releases Files in Notorious B.I.G. Murder

Chris Walter/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation released hundreds of pages of records from their investigation into the 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, better known as the superstar rapper Notorious B.I.G.

The records, which are heavily redacted, were released to the FBI's Vault website under the Freedom of Information Act and provide few new details about the murder. The bureau's investigation was shut down in 2005; the murder remains unsolved.

Among the new tidbits was that Wallace, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, was killed by "very rare" Gecko 9mm armor piercing ammunition, which is seldom found in the U.S.

He was, according to the newly released documents, carrying with him a plastic baggie of marijuana, an asthma inhaler and three Magnum condoms at the time of his death. He had been wearing size 48 Karl Kani jeans, size 13 Timberlands and a size 54 Bernini sweater.

At the time of his murder, Wallace was one of the biggest stars in rap music -- a gifted storyteller with incredible flow and smart, if violent and often misogynistic, lyrics. There has been no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death, which has served to turn him into a mythological figure in rap.

Wallace's killing came six months after the fatal shooting of rap's other, arguably more brilliant star, the Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur. A search warrant, served after Wallace's murder, revealed "a shrine of TUPAC SHAKUR and numerous 9mm guns and ammunition, LAPD radios, scanners and other tactical items" in his garage, according to the FBI documents.

Shakur's murder, like Wallace's, has never been solved, and various theories have attempted to establish a connection between the two. Some blame the public rivalry between the East and West Coast rap scenes, specifically pointing to the bitter feuding between the two rappers and their record labels at the time: Marion "Suge" Knight's Death Row Records, based in Los Angeles, and New York-based Bad Boy Entertainment.

There are 359 pages of documents on the murder, and they begin with a description of the night itself:

"On March 9, 1997, CHRISTOPHER WALLACE, aka Notorious B.I.G., was murdered as he left the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after attending a post Music Awards ceremony. WALLACE was in the middle of a 3-car caravan when a dark Chevy SS Impala pulled next to him and fired several times into the passenger area where WALLACE was sitting. WALLACE died minutes later at a local hospital."

Last April, a long-running federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over Wallace's killing was dismissed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio