The death of The Notorious B.I.G.

It was L.A.’s boldest gangland killing of the decade. On March 9, 1997, Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls, whose legal name was Christopher Wallace) was gunned down while he was leaving a star-studded Vibe magazine party after the Soul Train Music Awards. As hundreds of revelers poured into the streets, Biggie’s caravan entourage rolled out of the parking garage of the Petersen Automotive Museum in the mid-Wilshire district. The famed gangsta rapper, a former New Jersey crack dealer, was sitting in the shotgun seat of a green Chevy Suburban, his longtime friend Lil' Cease was right behind him. Rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs was riding in the vehicle ahead of him.

When the cars stopped at a traffic light, a dark Chevy Impala pulled up alongside Biggie’s ride. The driver, a black male in a suit and bow tie, rolled down his window and fired seven shots from a blue steel 9mm semi-automatic into the green SUV’s front passenger door. Four of the bullets hit their mark. Biggie, 24, was pronounced dead less than an hour later, shortly after he arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Although there were a dozen witnesses and hundreds of clues, the Biggie killing remains one of L.A.’s most notorious unsolved homicides. Now, a former Los Angeles Police detective charges that the department’s failure to solve the case may be tied to an unfolding Rampart scandal cover-up.

Quick Note: BIG death impacted the hip hop community and his album Life after Death went Diamond solidifying his stature as the greatest rapper of all time.

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