Christopher Wallace born May 21st 1972 went by many names; Biggie Smalls, Frank White, The Notorious B.I.G., but he obtained the title King of New York when he died March 9th 1997. The Notorious B.I.G. is one of few hip-hop artists who’s legacy may live on forever. Biggie Smalls was “Black and ugly as ever” by his own admission but was considered by most to be very charming, especially with the ladies. The Brooklyn born MC was first heard by the world on Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” remix and later released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994. Thanks to hits like the celebratory “Juicy” the hip-hop community immediately fell in love with Biggie. It did not take long for the record to go platinum, and the Notorious B.I.G. was named MC of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s rise to fame was not easy. As he would put it, he went from “Ashy to Classy” overnight. Coming from the streets of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, he lived a life of crime. Biggie dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to become a crack dealer. A routine trip to North Carolina for a drug exchange landed him in jail for nine months. Once released Christopher Wallace began recording rhymes with Mister Cee a well known New York City radio DJ. “Sean Puffy Combs” at the time still working at Uptown records heard Biggie’s early recordings and was impressed. Leaving Uptown to start his own label Bad Boy Entertainment, Diddy decided to sign Biggie to the label and the frenzy began from there.
Along with his successful career Christopher Wallace was responsible for bringing his crew Junior Mafia to fame. Lil Kim the first lady of the group would go on to become a rap icon and to some, Hip Hip’s rap queen.
Things took a turn for the worst on November 30, 1994. The day before he was due in court for a sexual assault charge Tupac Shakur was shot five times and robbed after entering the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan by two armed men. Pac was shot in the head, groin, leg and thigh and accused Biggie, Puffy and Andre Harrell–who were there recording the same night–of setting him up.
The next day, Tupac Shakur showed up to the courthouse in a wheelchair and was found guilty of three counts of molestation. February 6, 1995, he was sentenced to one and a half to four and a half years in prison on a sexual assault charge. While incarcerated he released the multi-platinum “Me Against The World” which would sell 240,000 copies in the first week and remain at the top of Billboard charts for five weeks. Later Tupac signed with CEO of Death Row Records Suge Knight. The deal was made due to a $1.4 million bail made by Suge Knight pending appeal of the conviction in exchange for Shakur to release three albums under the Death Row label, the feud would only get worse from this point on.
Tupac was shot on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas and died several days later from cardiac arrest. Six months after that Biggie was killed in Los Angeles.
After fourteen years the details have been regrettably forgotten by some, so TheUrbanDaily.com decided to compile a list of information that has occurred since the death of The Notorious B.I.G.
In February The Notorious BIG traveled out to Los Angeles, California to promote his upcoming album Life After Death, scheduled to be release March 25th. BIG and Sean “Puffy” Combs shot the music video for the first single “Hypnotize” as well.
March 5th Biggie did a radio interview with The Dog House on KYLD in San Francisco, California where he spoke about hiring security because he feared for his safety.
March 8th– Biggie presented an award at The Soul Train Music Awards where he was booed by some of the crowd. Afterward Biggie attended the after party at Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles hosted by Vibe Magazine and Qwest records. Several celebrity guest swere in attendance. The party was shut down by the fire department due to overcrowding.
March 9th – At around 12:30 AM Biggie and his entourage left in two GMC Suburbans to return to his hotel, Wallace seated in the front passenger seat alongside Damion “D-Roc” Butler, Lil’ Cease and driver, Gregory “G-Money” Young. Sean Combs traveled in the other vehicle with three bodyguards. Bad Boy’s director of security followed the two trucks from behind in a Chevrolet Blazer. The streets were filled with people leaving the after party. Biggie’s truck stopped at a red light near the museum when a black Chevrolet Impala pulled up alongside the vehicle. The driver of the Impala, an African American male dressed in a blue suit and bow tie, rolled down his window with a 9 mm blue-steel pistol in hand and fired at the vehicle. Four bullets hit Wallace in the chest. His entourage rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. Wallace’s murder remains unsolved and there are many theories regarding the identities and motives of the murderers.
In 2002, Randall Sullivan released a book Labyrinth, compiling evidence by retired LAPD detective Russell Poole regarding the murders of Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur. Marion “Suge” Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records and allegedly Blood gang affiliated, was accused of conspiring with David Mack, an LAPD officer and alleged Death Row security employee, to murder Christopher Wallace to make his and Shakur’s death appear to be the result of a bi-coastal rap rivalry . Sullivan believed Amir Muhammad, who also goes by the name Harry Billups and was an associate of Mack’s, was the shooter based on evidence provided by an anonymous informant and his resemblance to the facial composite. An investigative documentary Biggie & Tupac by filmmaker Nick Broomfield was also released based on evidence from the book.
In March 2005, the relatives of Wallace filed a wrongful death claim against the LAPD based on the evidence compiled by Russell Poole. They claimed the LAPD had sufficient evidence to make an arrest, but never did. David Mack and Amir Muhammad (a.k.a. Harry Billups) were originally named as defendants in the civil suit, but were dropped before the trial began after the LAPD and FBI dismissed them as suspects.
July of 2005, the case was declared a mistrial after the judge was concerned that the police were withholding evidence. An attempt to expand the wrongful death lawsuit to include new claims failed in August 2006. The criminal investigation was re-opened in July 2006.
On January 19, 2007, Tyruss Himes aka Big Syke, a friend of Shakur who was implicated in the murder by television channel KTTV and XXL magazine in 2005, had a defamation lawsuit regarding the accusations thrown out of court.
On April 16, 2007, the family of Christopher Wallace filed a second wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. The suit also named two LAPD officers in the center of the investigation, Rafael Perez and Nino Durden. According to the claim, Perez, an alleged affiliate of Death Row Records, admitted to LAPD officials that he and Mack “conspired to murder, and participated in the murder of Christopher Wallace.” The Wallace family said the LAPD “consciously concealed Rafael Perez’s involvement in the murder of Christopher Wallace. A U.S. district judge dismissed the lawsuit on December 19, 2007.
Los Angeles Judge Florence-Marie Cooper reinstated the lawsuit on May 9, 2008. With the agreement of both sides, the lawsuit was dismissed April 5, 2010 without prejudice to refiling.
A few weeks before the 2011 anniversary of Christopher Wallace’s death new information has surfaced from Rafael Perez’s cellmate, who claims Perez released info to him.
The original lead detective investigating Wallace’s murder says Mack and Perez had close ties to Death Row.
Months after Biggie’s murder, officers Mack and Perez were convicted for unrelated crimes — Mack for bank robbery, Perez for stealing cocaine and several other felony charges. According to court record that have been recently revealed, Perez’s cell mate told investigators “Perez and Mack were involved with Death Row Records. Perez was involved with Death Row through Mack. They went to all their parties and events,” the inmate stated.
Investigators say Perez also told the inmate he was at the scene of the Wallace murder. “Perez was working security. Perez had a cell phone. Perez said he called David Mack on his cell phone and told Mack that Biggie Smalls was in his truck. Perez never said that he set up Biggie Smalls but I have heard that he…had something to do with that murder,” according to the inmate.
Former lead investigator Russell Poole, who resigned in 1999 ,says these statements are just a glimpse into hundreds of pages of documents that were hidden from Wallace family attorneys. He believes the murder of Christopher Wallace should be put into a historical context. Beginning with the Rodney King beating which occurred five years before and the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995.
Officer Perez was on duty the night of Christopher Wallace’s murder and if his involvement is confirmed the city of Los Angeles could be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Perez and Mack have repeatedly denied any involvement in the murder.