His real name was Christopher Wallace, but he went by the names Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls.
I have to preface this story by the fact that I am not a fan. I don't own any of this guy's CDs, and I don't listen to his music. He did not speak for me, and I felt no affinity. This is not to judge.
However, in this man's repertoire were such ditties as Me & My Bitch, Machine Gun Funk, Kick in the Door and You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You). His two albums were titled, "Ready to Die," and "Life After Death." He was murdered. I am not shocked.
In early 1997 there was a warrant for his arrest, stemming from an assault charge. He allegedly beat up a concert promoter. He was also ordered to pay over $40,000 to a man called Nathaniel Banks, who claims that he was sent to pick up Biggie from a cancelled show back in 1995. He said, and the judge agreed, that Biggie and his entourage beat him. At the time of Biggie's death, he was under investigation by the FBI for an alleged connection to a New York organized crime family.
On Saturday March 9th of 1997, Biggie was attending the 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards at the Peterson Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in LA. Other guests included Busta Rhymes, Heavy D, Da Brat, Yo Yo, Sean "Puffy" Combs, and of course, Biggie.
The party really got going around 9:30 or 10:00. Biggie was sitting at a table near the dance floor. Findadeath.com friend Jackie Smith was there that night. Jackie met Biggie in the Peterson, and said that he was "high as a kite," and pretty cool. She also tells me that she was standing on Wilshire Boulevard "when we heard the "caps getting busted," meaning the shots were fired. Jackie says that everyone went apeshit, and scattered like roaches.
Just after midnight, the event was becoming too crowded, and the LA fire marshals were called in and shut the party down. By 12:45, the street was crowded with people leaving the event from the front doors. Biggie and Puffy came out in the back of the building, to the valet parking. They discussed going to another party, and their cars arrived. Puffy left, and Biggie and two friends got in to a GMC Suburban. They drove out of the garage and up to the light at Wilshire and Fairfax, just to the left of where this photo was taken. (Sorry, I should have done better research.) The light was red, and Biggie was in the passenger seat. While waiting at the light, a dark full size car pulled up to the right side of Biggie's car and shot 6 to 10 bullets into the car. The driver took Biggie straight to Emergency Room at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Thank you Terri Rios, for the photos.
The car remained at the hospital, until police impounded it.
At 1:15 Sunday morning, Biggie was pronounced dead. He was 24. He seemed like such a lovely man.
Eyewitnesses described the lone gunman as an African American wearing a suit and bow tie, similar, police say, to the attire favored by Nation of Islam members. (But why? They're so nice.)
Fans turned the sidewalk nearest to where Biggie was slain, into a memorial.
Biggie's body was shipped back to New York City, and received by the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home. He was dressed in a white suit and a white hat. Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim and others gathered to pay their last respects. Okay, I'm kidding about Celine. She was busy.
Biggie's body was then taken via hearse to the streets of his old Brooklyn neighborhood, Fort Greene, giving fans a chance to say goodbye. It was going well until some onlookers got a bit too carried away in their grief. Supposedly prompted by the police and their use of excessive security, the onlookers began jumping on cars. The police used pepper spray and arrested 6.
The murder is still not solved and police suspect a former officer, David Mack, who is already in prison for bank robbery, for arranging the "professional hit." Supposedly this hit was based on a feud between East and West Coast rappers. Also arrested is Marion "Suge" Knight, founder of Death Row Records. Police impounded a vehicle at Knight's house, which matched witness' description of the shooter's car. The gunman is possibly identified as Amir Muhammad. He and Mack were classmates, and he disappeared shortly after visiting Mack in prison just after Christmas 1997.
Biggie was supposedly cremated. Rest in peace. Please. Jackie Smith tells me that Biggie's ashes were divided in 3. His mother, his ex girlfriend Lil' Kim, and his wife Faith Evans. At the time of Biggie's death, he was dating Chali Baltimore. Busy Biggie. Thanks for all the info, Jackie.
On a completely unrelated note, I went to see the film Sleepy Hollow the other day. Look at my ticket stub. I had to laugh.