It's been 20 years since Brooklyn rapper Notorious B.I.G. (whose real name was Christopher Wallace) was gunned down while leaving an industry party in March 1997. He was only 24 years old when he died but has left behind an astonishing legacy that is being carried on by his mother, Voletta Wallace; his wife, Faith Evans; his two kids, T'yanna and Christopher "C.J." Wallace Jr.; and his best friend and collaborator, Sean "Diddy" Combs. Even though the details of his death are terribly tragic, it's perhaps most painful that the case remains unsolved two decades later. Keep reading for 16 facts about Biggie's murder that have only gotten more haunting with time.
1. Biggie was in LA to work on one of his most famous music videos. The rapper traveled to the West Coast to film "Hypnotize" and begin promoting his second studio album, Life After Death.
2. He was worried about his safety. Biggie did an interview with San Francisco's KYLD-FM just a few days before he died in which he expressed concern about being "attacked" because of his celebrity status and stated that he had hired extra security. "It's not just rappers," he said. "They gonna attack you if you on top." He added: "It's your job to bob and weave. I need the security. I can't beat everybody up, I'll go to jail. There are certain things you do when you get to a certain level."
3. He was booed on stage at his last public event. On March 7, Biggie attended the Soul Train Music Awards in LA and was booed by some of the West Coast rappers in the crowd as he presented an award to Toni Braxton. It would be his last televised appearance.
4. Biggie's murder took place on the last day he was supposed to be in LA. On March 8, Biggie attended a Soul Train Awards afterparty hosted by Vibe magazine at the Petersen Automotive Museum. The event brought out his BFF Sean "Diddy" Combs, wife Faith Hill, and fellow musician Aaliyah. A number of members of the Bloods and Crips gangs were also in attendance. Biggie and Diddy didn't decide to go to the party until that afternoon, and Diddy was told that it would be "a closed event for music executives" and that security "would not be a problem."
5. The party was later shut down by authorities. The LA Fire Department shut down the Vibe party due to overcrowding, and at around 12:30 a.m. PT, Biggie, Diddy, and other members of their entourage waited outside for valets to bring their cars. They debated whether to go to another party or head back to the Westwood Marquis before Diddy decided they were better off just going to their hotel.
6. There were no bodyguards in the car with Biggie. Diddy sat in the passenger seat of a white Chevy Suburban with a driver and three bodyguards, while Biggie did the same in a green Suburban. He was joined by two friends, Damion "D-Roc" Butler and Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Cease, and a driver, Gregory "G-Money" Young, but no security.
7. Diddy's car ran through a yellow light at Wilshire Boulevard as the signal turned red, leaving Biggie's car stopped at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and South Fairfax Avenue. A white Toyota Land Cruiser made a U-turn at Wilshire, attempting to cut between the Suburban that Biggie was in and a Chevy Blazer being driven by Bad Boy Records' director of security. At that same moment, a black Impala SS pulled up on the right side of Biggie's vehicle.
8. The Impala driver is said to have looked Biggie in the eye before opening fire. The driver was alone in the sedan and reportedly "a black male whose blue suit, bow tie, and fade haircut suggested Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam sect." He is said to have looked Biggie in the eye for a moment before reaching across his body with "a blue-steel automatic pistol held in his right hand." He emptied the gun into the front passenger seat where Biggie sat. He was the only passenger to be hit by the bullets. The Chevy Impala sped off on Wilshire, and the Land Cruiser made another U-turn and drove off as well.
9. After hearing gunshots, Diddy took action. Everyone inside the white Suburban ducked before hearing that Biggie was under attack. Diddy jumped out of the car, ran across Wilshire Boulevard, and opened the passenger-side door, where Biggie was hunched over the dashboard, bleeding through his jacket. Diddy would later tell police that he had tried to communicate with Biggie but that he just stared back with a wide-eyed, blank expression. Diddy then jumped into the back of Biggie's Suburban, while his driver pushed Gregory Young aside and drove straight to the emergency loading dock at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which was less than five minutes away.
10. Biggie underwent emergency surgery. It took six people to lift Biggie onto a gurney at the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency thoracotomy. Diddy and his entourage "dropped to their knees and prayed" in the waiting room, but the surgery was unsuccessful, and Biggie was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.
11. Only one of the four bullets that hit Biggie was fatal. According to Biggie's autopsy, which was not released to the public until 2012, the fourth bullet to hit him was the fatal blow, entering through his right hip and striking several vital organs before stopping in his left shoulder area. It struck his colon, liver, heart, and the upper lobe of his left lung.
12. Almost immediately, reports surfaced that linked Biggie's shooting to that of Tupac Shakur. Tupac was killed in September 1996, six months before Biggie, in a similar drive-by shooting. In the years that followed, Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight was widely speculated to have ordered a hit on Biggie.
13. Biggie's funeral took place in both Manhattan and his hometown of Brooklyn. On March 18, Biggie was honored with a service at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan that brought out over 350 mourners including his friends, collaborators, and famous fans; Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Run-DMC, Busta Rhymes, Salt, Pepa, Spinderella, Foxy Brown, Sistah Souljah, and more came out to pay their respects, while Biggie's wife, Faith Evans, sang the gospel song "Walk With Me, Lord," and Diddy eulogized his best friend. Later, a procession was held through downtown Brooklyn to Bedford-Stuyvesant, through Biggie's neighborhood. Thousands of people packed the route.
14. He left behind two young children. At the time of Biggie's passing, his daughter, T'yanna, from a previous relationship was only 3 years old. Faith Evans had given birth to the couple's son, Christopher "C.J." Wallace Jr., just four months earlier.
15. His album was released as scheduled. On
March 25, 16 days after his death, Biggie's Life After Death dropped as planned. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, though his biggest success was with the album's second single, "Mo Money Mo Problems," which reached No. 1 in the Hot 100 and made Biggie the first artist to have the top post posthumously.
16. Perhaps most chillingly, the case remains unsolved. While there have been a number of suspects and possible motives — including financial gain for the record companies, a police-corruption scandal, and a conspiracy between Suge Knight and disgraced LAPD Officer David Mack — Biggie's killer has yet to be identified or caught over 20 years after his tragic death.
Watch Biggie's Last Interview Below:
Date Posted: Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 1159
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