Column: R.I.P. Notorious B.I.G. - maybe
By Yaseen Nimjee
Many thought the war between the east and west coast rappers was cooling down. Many thought the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur six months ago would virtually put an end to the dispute.
Many were wrong.
On March 9, 1997, while exiting a party hosted by Quincy Jones' Vibe magazine, Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. (Business Instead of Games), also known as Biggie Smalls, was gunned down in an apparent drive-by shooting.
The motive of the shooting remains unclear and a spokesman for the Los Angeles police department says there are few leads and no suspects. Speculations remain that the killing was retaliatory, that it was just another episode in the east and west coast saga. Or was it really a killing at all?
Meshack Blaq, editor and publisher of the Los Angeles based Kronick, the Underground Chronicle, which covers the rap scene, was one of the last people to see Biggie alive. He recounts the details of the shooting to police as:
Blaq walked out of the Vibe event with Biggie at approximately 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning and proceeded towards two green Suburban trucks. Biggie's record-label chief, Sean "Puffy" Combs got into the first one with his people, containing a few bodyguards.
Biggie, Little Caesar (another rapper with Bad Boy Entertainment) and another bodyguard got into the second truck. The trucks headed north towards the Hollywood Hills.
While stuck at a traffic light, a car drove up on the passenger side and opened fire. Biggie was sitting in the passenger seat, which was apparently riddled with bullets. Biggie was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival.
These are the so-called facts of the homicide. But could there be another explanation? The way I see it, there are three possible theories to explain the demise of Biggie:
Theory #1 Biggie did get shot by an unknown assailant and is now dead. End of story.
Theory #2 Tupac, given the extremely suspicious circumstances of his apparent death returned to exact his revenge on the Notorious One for supposedly robbing him of $40,000 in jewelry and shooting him multiple times. This would work especially well as police would never consider Tupac a suspect given his gravestone. Right now he could be drinking a martini on a beach in Cuba (the last reported Tupac sighting).
Theory #3 Notorious B.I.G. is still alive and like Tupac, faked his own death to increase his sales of records and merchandise. Most likely, he and Tupac are on that same beach in Cuba, laughing at everyone, as they created the entire east-west coast conflict, which helped to greatly increase sales of rap music. Most appropriately, Biggie's new album, released yesterday, is entitled Life After Death and depicts an image of himself on a gravestone. It sounds to me like a perfect plan; leave a hostile environment by faking your own deaths and then sit back and collect the money.
Remember, none of these theories are proven, yet, but it is something to keep in mind when buying Biggie's new album, and the title of his first album: Ready to Die.