Learn About The Death of a Rap Icon : Biggie Smalls
Who was Biggie Smalls?
Born Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, Biggie Smalls was an American Rapper who was known for his smooth flow and quick-witted lyrics. Biggie Smalls was raised in Brooklyn, New York and released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994. The album, which reached multi-platinum status, is regarded as one of the best rap CD’s of all time. Biggie Smalls, due to his popularity and aggressive rhymes, became a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene. As a result of his success, Smalls increased New York’s rap credentials at a time when the majority of rap artists came from the West Coast.
Biggie’s rise to prominence is directly correlated with his death. During the late 1990’s a feud developed between Biggie’s rap label, Bad Boy and the West Coast rap empire, Death Row Records. The West Coast rap scene, which was led by Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg was intertwined with gang life and the gangster credo that dominated rap music in this era. Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, who were once close friends, were at the forefront of the East Coast versus West Coast rap feud that dominated this era of hip hop music. The two sides made their conflict public as Biggie and Tupac rapped about their own dominance and routinely threatened one another over their songs. This coastal drama eventually led to the death of Biggie Smalls.
The Death of Biggie Smalls:
Biggie Smalls traveled to California in February of 1997 to promote his upcoming album Life After Death. On March 5, 1997 Smalls gave a radio interview with a local station and stated that he had feared for his safety because he was wrongly accused of being involved with the murder of West Coast legend, Tupac Shakur. The death of Tupac sent shockwaves to the rap community; the coastal feud became real.
On March 9, 1997, at roughly 12:30 a.m., Biggie Smells left with his entourage in two SUVs to return to his hotel after a party he attended had shut down due to overcrowding. Wallace, who was travelling in the front passenger seat of the truck, was joined by fellow rappers Lil’ cease and driver, Gregory Young. By 12:45 a.m, the streets were mobbed with people leaving the party. When Wallace’s SUV stopped at a red light, a black Chevy Impala pulled up alongside. The driver of the impala, an African American male, rolled down his window and fired at the SUV with a 9 mm blue-steel pistol. The SUV was riddled with bullets, four of which struck Biggie Smalls in the chest. Wallace’s entourage rushed him to the Cedars Sinai Medical Center, but it was too late—Biggie Smalls was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.
The Case Surrounding Biggie Smalls’ Death:
Biggie Smalls’ murder remains unsolved, although there are many theories regarding the motives and identities of the murderers. Reports surfaced, immediately following the shooting, which linked the murders of Shakur and Wallace together—these ascertainments were primarily based off the similarities in the drive-by shootings and the feuds which surrounded the rappers.
Just recently, in January of 2011, the case was reinvigorated as a result of new information reported by various media outlets.