Christopher " The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace
Aka Biggie Smalls; Frank White
May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997
 


 

Christopher George Latore Wallace, best known as The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper and hip-hop artist. Wallace was  born and raised in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Wallace dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and started to deal drugs.  Eventually, he was arrested and served nine months behind bars.  Afterwards, Wallace produced some hip-hop tracks on his friend's tape recorder and these tracks were copied and played on a local radio station in New York.

Wallace's tracks were heard by rapper and producer Sean "P. Diddy" Combs who was impressed by the young man's talents and signed him to a contract with his label, Bad Boy Records.  Combs helped Wallace work on his first album, Ready to Die.  This helped him become a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene.  The album helped Wallace be named MC of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards.  Posthumously, Ready to Die was certified diamond selling more than 10 million copies. Wallace's work was unique as he rapped in a deep baritone voice about the usual gangster subjects and then unexpectedly changed to love and family responsibilities.

Wallace actually was first recognized when he joined Mary J. Blige in performing her remix of Real Love and What's the 411?, under the pseudonym, The Notorious B.I.G.

Soon after, Wallace met and became good friends with a talented West Coast rapper, Tupac Shakur.  Tupac supported Wallace and was often giving him advice. However, their friendship would not last as it soon turned into the most violent era of hip-hop music on November 30th, 1994. While Biggie and Sean Puffy Combs were at a recording session at Quad Recording in Manhattan, New York,  Tupac went there to record with another rapper for his third solo album, Me Against The World at the same time. As Tupac entered the lobby of the recording studio, he was held at gunpoint and robbed of $40,000 worth of jewelry. In the events that transpired, Tupac was shot five times. Wallace rushed to the lobby to see what went down just in time to see Tupac being loaded into an ambulance. As he was loaded in the ambulance, Tupac, extend his middle finger blaming Wallace for the shooting and said that he. knew about it and failed to warn him. This sparked the East Coast West Coast war. Miraculously, Tupac recovered from his injuries. Wallace never responded to any of Tupac's disses. Tupac attacked Wallace in every way he could, even starting strong rumors that there was a love affair between Tupac and Wallace's wife, singer Faith Evans.

Wallace produced two albums, Right to Die and Life After Death.  The song "Hypnotize" was a Grammy-nominated hip-hop song  on the Life After Death album that was fifth song to hit #1 posthumously for a credited artist.  In March 1997, Wallace was in California to promote his second album in addition trying to promote peace between the East Coast and West Coast factions.

On the night of March 8, 1997, Wallace attended the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Award and was presenting an award to Toni Braxton; however, when on stage, he got booed by the Californian crowd (a response to the Shakur murder, the previous year) and an embarrassed Wallace left the stage.  He then proceeded to attend an after party. 

Approximately around 12:30 am on March 9, 1997, Wallace left the after party and proceeded with his entourage back to his hotel.  Wallace and his entourage were in two GMC Suburban vehicles accompanied by his record label's director of security.  As Wallace's vehicle was at a red light, a black Chevrolet Impala SS pulled up alongside Wallace's vehicle and the driver of the Impala, an African American male dressed in a blue suit and bow tie, rolled down his window, drew a 9 mm blue-steel pistol and fired at the GMC Suburban, with four bullets hitting Wallace. Wallace's entourage rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where doctors  were unsuccessful in saving him Wallace was pronounced dead at 1:15 AM. According to the autopsy report, Wallace died as a result of a "gunshot wound to the abdomen-chest."  Three of the four bullets were non-fatal shots. 

Wallace's murder has remained unsolved; however, at the time of his murder, the Los Angeles Police Department participated in the investigation.  Lead Detective Russell Poole, head up the investigation.

In 2002, Randall Sullivan released LAbyrinth, a book compiling information regarding the murders of Wallace and Shakur based on evidence provided  Poole.  Sullivan accused Marion "Suge" Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records and an alleged Bloods affiliate, of conspiring with David Mack, an LAPD officer and alleged Death Row security employee, to kill Wallace and make Shakur and his death appear the result of East and West Coast rap rivalry. Sullivan believed that one of Mack's associates, Amir Muhammad, Aka Harry Billups, was the alleged hit-man based on evidence provided by an informant, and due to his close resemblance to police sketch created based on witness descriptions.

An article published in Rolling Stone by Sullivan in December 2005 accused the LAPD of not fully investigating links with Death Row Records based on evidence from Poole. Sullivan claimed that Sean Combs "failed to fully cooperate with the investigation" and according to Poole, encouraged Bad Boy staff to do the same.

In January 2011, the case was reinvigorated as a result of new information reported by Anderson Cooper's AC360 "Cold Case" show that it was being re-investigated by a law enforcement task force composed of the LAPD, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office, and the FBI. In April, the FBI released redacted documents about their investigation into the shooting, revealing that the bullets were rare 9mm Gecko ammunition manufactured in Germany. The documents reported that LAPD officers monitoring the party Wallace was attending were also employed as security personnel for Knight; the documents also speculated that the Genovese crime family was withholding evidence about Wallace's death.

Retired LAPD detective Greg Kading, who worked on the Wallace murder case for three years, alleges that the rapper was shot by Darnell Bolton, an associate of Suge Knight who was killed in July 2003 after being shot in the back while riding his motorcycle. Kading believes Knight hired Bolton via his girlfriend to kill Wallace to avenge the death of Tupac whom Kading alleges was killed under the orders of Sean Combs.

Christopher Wallace's body was cremated and the ashes placed in two separate urns. The ashes were then given to family members.

The official cause of his death was listed as Gunshot Wound - Abdomen/Chest.

 

View the autopsy report






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