Who Shot Biggie and Why

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Biggie Smalls 1973-1997

The night began at around 8 p.m. at the Peterson Automotive Museum on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles at a party hosted by “Vibe” magazine, Qwest Records, and Tanqueray gin to celebrate Friday night's 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards.

The guest list was a who's who of the hip-hop world, including Busta Rhymes, Heavy D, Da Brat, Yo-Yo, producer Jermaine Dupree and, of course, Biggie Smalls and the head of his label, Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean “Puffy” Combs.

According to sources we spoke to, the party really got going around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m., and Biggie appeared to be having a great time taking a table near the dance floor and he was chatting with friends. Indeed, no one in the Bad Boy crew appeared to be concerned about being in Los Angeles, despite the fact that in the past, East coast rappers have been worried about traveling West.

In fact, the only discernable problem with the party is that it became overcrowded, and as is often the case in such situations in L.A., the fire marshals were called in and the party was shut down around 12:35 a.m.

As you can imagine, when the party was suddenly shut down, lots of people began to pour out of the party, out of the museum, into the garage, to wait for their valet parked cars including Biggie and Puffy. The stories do become a bit sketchy here, but according to one source who spoke to “USA Today”, they both waited here for their cars and Biggie got in his GMC Suburban with two other passengers, reportedly Lil Caesar from Jr. MAFIA and his bodyguard, Damian. They rounded the corner from the garage, and drove right up to the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.

As best we can determine, Biggie's car came to a stop at a red light at Wilshire and Fairfax when another car, possibly a black Jeep according to an L.A. Times source, drove around to the right side of their car and from it, six to ten shots were then fired from the other vehicle into the passenger side of Biggie's car. Panic obviously ensued and the Suburban drove straight to nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which in good traffic is no more than a five minute drive.

Which means at approximately 1:00 a.m., Biggie Smalls was brought here to Cedars-Sinai hospital, although it's doubtful how much they could do for him, since at 1:15 a.m. Christopher Wallace, also known as Notorious B.I.G. was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds. It wasn't long before distraught fans and friends showed up here to learn the news of Biggie's death.

Meanwhile, back at Peterson's many concerned partygoers went back inside the building fearing an escalation of violence. Apparently, the L.A.P.D. feared the same. They turned out in force, some wearing riot gear. And one witness we spoke to called that show of force, way too much.

Bullet-riddled door of Suburban in which rapper was killed to be sold

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (SL) – The bullet-riddled door of the rented GMC Suburban in which rapper Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down will be sold to raise money for charity.

Budget Rent A Car Beverly Hills rented the green 1997 Suburban to the Los Angeles production company FM Rocks. Notorious B.I.G. was sitting in the passenger seat March 9 when he was killed in a drive-by shooting.

The passenger door was the only part of the vehicle that was damaged.

“Everybody's telling me the door must have some value. We'd like to somehow find a way to sell the door to the highest bidder and then donate the money to charity,” Budget co-owner Corky Rice said Monday.

When the rapper's posthumous album “Life After Death” became a national best-seller, it occurred to Rice and partner Jerry Seimons that they had a rare collectible on their hands.

“So many people say it has value. I'm trying to figure out how to turn this terrible incident into something good. If you put the money to good use, I don't think it's in bad taste,” Rice said.

Rice said the Challenger Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles would be the beneficiaries of the money raised.

The value of the door wasn't known.

“I guess if I were to auction something like that, I'd put it out there with a very reasonable-looking estimate, say $3,000 to $4,000,” said Michael Schwartz, director of entertainment memorabilia for the Butterfield & Butterfield action house.

Rice and Seimons are willing to sell the $38,000 Suburban as is with the bullet-pocked door in place, but they don't believe anyone would be interested.

“We haven't decided when or where to auction the door,” Rice said. “We don't want to be tacky. We want to be in good taste. We don't want to make any profit at all.”

Meantime, Death Row Records approached a Nevada resort to offer the bullet-riddled car in which rapper Tupac Shakur was killed last September in Las Vegas.

“We told them we weren't interested,” said Aaron Cohn, spokesman for Primadonna Resorts in Primm, Nev. The resort paid $250,000 in 1988 for the bullet-riddled car in which Bonnie and Clyde Barrow were killed in a 1934 shootout.

The Shakur death car isn't the same, Cohen said.

“It's not a piece of American history the way the Bonnie and Clyde car is. But maybe in 20 years,” he said.

Rap star Biggie Smalls, the “Notorious B. I. G.,” was shot dead by a drive-by gunman late Saturday night as he was leaving a star-studded Vibe Magazine party in Los Angeles.

The 24-year-old rapper, whose given name was Christopher Wallace, was sitting in a car outside waiting at a traffic light, when the killers pulled up next to him and unleashed a spray of bullets. Biggie was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Police were still searching for his killers as we went to press. Here's John Norris, in Los Angeles, with a timeline.

Sales of Biggie album explode on first day

Not much was small about Christopher Wallace. From his 6-foot, 3-inch, 300-lb. bulk to his rap handles of Biggie Smalls and the Notorious B.I.G. to his dramatic assassination in an L.A. drive-by, the man was large. And now from early indications, it looks like his posthumous album Life After Death, 'til Death Do Us Part is going to be huge.

Released Tuesday, the 24-track, double-disc set was supposed to debut at No. 1 even before B.I.G.'s March 9 murder. After the slaying, hip-hop aficionados and curiosity seekers aren't having any problem shelling out 20 bucks for the album, which should follow the trend set by Nirvana, Selena and Tupac Shakur, all of whom topped the charts with posthumous releases.

Based on our purely unscientific first-day sales figures, Death will have a very long shelf life. A clerk at a Washington, D.C. music store said it was “selling like wild” hours after its release. A manager at Tower Records on Sunset said the Los Angeles-outlet sold 150 copies during a midnight promotion. “Death is a commodity, you know,” Ramsey Jones, a salesman at the Greenwich Village Tower Records told the Associated Press. Jones claimed that his store sold 105 albums in an hour. “I have to keep stocking it every five minutes.”

“Death is a commodity, you know?” said Ramsey Jones, a clerk at Tower Records in Greenwich Village, where he couldn't keep the CD on the shelf. “I have to keep stocking it every five minutes.”

At one point, the store sold 105 copies of the double-CD in a single hour, Jones said. Uptown at HMV Records, fans of the Brooklyn-born rapper were just as anxious for “Life After Death.”

“It's flying out of here,” said manager George Romero. “… This album was going to be big already. After this (the shooting), forget it.”

Sales of his debut album, “Ready to Die,” more than tripled in the week after the rapper's slaying. “Ready to Die” sold more than 10,000 copies nationwide after the slaying.

Nearly unanimous positive reviews, some teetering on effusive, are certain to help the B.I.G. album's longevity. “A B.I.G. classic,” gushed USA Today. “He may have been rap's ultimate cinematic narrator,” chirped the Los Angeles Times, which rated Death four out of a possible four stars.


Shawn Lazarus

About Shawn Lazarus

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