On the 20th Anniversary of Biggie Smalls’ Death, Questions About His Murder Are Unanswered
The year 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of the Notorious B.I.G., otherwise known as Biggie Smalls. Like the murder of his rival Tupac Shakur, no one has ever been arrested for his murder.
Biggie Smalls was killed on March 9, 1997, while he was a passenger in a parked Chevy Suburban on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The assassin reportedly wore a bow-tie and he fired four bullets into Smalls during the drive-by shooting. The GECO bullets are extremely rare 9mm ammunition that are only made in Europe and available for sale only in shops in New Jersey and California. GECO bullets are renowned for their ability to pierce metal.
The assassination of Smalls was another battle in the East Coast and West Coast rap war that also took the life of Shakur just six months before, in 1996. Although investigators consistently interviewed those who may have had information about the shooting, no answers were forthcoming, even after the FBI got involved.
The drive-by assasintation was the culmination of the war between East Coast and West Coast rappers, a feud that many believe resulted in the murder of Tupac Shakur, Biggie’s rival, six months before.
Smalls’ mother, Voletta Wallace, says she knows who killed her son. She said that both she and LAPD detectives know the identity of the killer, but there is an ongoing ‘conspiracy’ that has prevented it from being solved. A source told DailyMail.com that Biggie was not really the unintended target of the shooting.
Biggie Smalls is the stage name of Christopher Wallace, who is a native of the Brooklyn neighborhood Bedford-Stuyvesant. Wallace was born on May 21, 1972. Voletta Wallace was an immigrant from Jamaica who taught school. Biggie’s father left when he was just a kid. Biggie soon started selling crack at the young age of 12 years old.
“My customers were ringing my bell, and they would come up on the steps and smoke right here,” Biggie said back in 1994. Biggie was a smart young man and he earned a slot at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, a prestigious school with famous alumni like Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City. Eventually Biggie moved to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, the same place where Jay Z and Busta Rhymes went to school. The education phase didn’t last. Biggie quickly quit high school to pursue full-time drug dealing.
Biggie’s life changed when he was 17 and busted for selling drugs. That led to a nine-month prison stint in North Carolina. In the late 80s, Biggie started recording himself rapping as a fun hobby. He took his name after the character of Calvin Lockhart in the 1975 movie “Let’s Do It Again.’’
Biggie stood 6-foot-3 inches tall, and weighed around 300 pounds, making his new nickname a fitting moniker. One early mixtape wound up with an editor of influential hip-hop magazine The Source. The magazine deemed him an unsigned and promising rapper in 1992. Sean “Puffy” Combs, who was working for Uptown Records, heard the tapes and realized Biggie’s potential. Combs quickly signed Biggie, then later brought him to his own label, Bad Boy Records.
Biggie’s 1994 debut album, “Ready to Die,” was released in September 1994. It became a smash hit, but he was forced to come up with another name after Lockhart sued. That’s when he became The Notorious B.I.G. The album sold four million copies and Biggie married singer Faith Evans. He was also becoming friends with Shakur.
Biggie and Tupac were fast friends, hanging out when they were on each other’s coasts, and even performing in a legendary “Where Brooklyn At” freestyle competition at Madison Square Garden.
Shakur was already a huge start when the two became friends. But later, Shakur was shot five times. The rapper was at a recording studio where Biggie and Combs were present at the time. Shakur believed Biggie and Combs orchestrated the shooting, which they denied. At first the crime looked like a robbery gone wrong, but police quickly determined that Shakur was the target.
The rivalry between the two groups got nasty. Shakur threw a verbal hand grenade in 1996 by recording a song “Hit ‘Em Up” on which he dissed Biggie and suggested he had slept with Biggie’s wife.
Biggie’s career blew up even bigger, as he produced an album for his protégées, Junior M.A.F.I.A., including rumored paramour Lil’ Kim. The album went gold. He was named rapper of the year and was highly acclaimed, but Biggie continued to have brushes with the law. He was frequently arrested and threatened to kill fans.
On Sept. 13, 1996, Shakur was fatally wounded in Las Vegas. Six days later, Shakur died at age 25. Evans denied that Biggie was involved and she said he was terrified of dying himself.
Less than a year later, his fears came true when he was killed after a party. Witnesses said the murderer was an African American man wearing a bow tie, suit and driving the Impala or Suburban. The autopsy revealed that the murderer fired four shots at Biggie, but only one was fatal.
According to Voletta, police “[have] done their investigation, but they just refuse to move forward. I don’t know why they haven’t arrested who was involved. It seems to me that it’s one giant conspiracy, and someone is definitely being protected somewhere down the line.” The source who spoke with the Daily Mail seemed to conform a long-held theory of the crime: the bullets were intended for the artist then known as P. Diddy, Sean Combs, who was with Biggie the night he died. The source believes the shooting was revenge for Shakur’s death.
There is still an appetite for all things related to Smalls and Shakur. In March, it was revealed that a memorabilia dealer intended to sell the car in which Smalls was murdered. The dealer hopes to receive an unbelievable $1.5 million for it. The car originally was purchased by a woman who had no idea who had owned the car or what had happened in it.
As for Voletta, “His death is not something I want to celebrate,” she said. “But I am grateful to everyone who remembers him.” Voletta isn’t sure if her son would be dead, in jail, or on vacation in Bora Bora. However, “whatever the world sees him as, I just see him as my son. He may not be here, but his memory is etched in me for life.”