Death Row, Chuck D Sound Off On Smalls' Death

March 11 [8:00 EST] -- As Los Angeles police continue to investigate the shooting murder of rapper Biggie Smalls early Sunday morning, fans and friends alike are dealing with their grief over his death.

The killing has prompted more speculation about bi-coastal rivalry in the rap community, and outrage from members of the hip-hop community.

Public Enemy frontman Chuck D released a statement on Monday saying, "We have to be careful about hysteria and overhyping of the term of East coast and West coast confrontation that is being projected in the media."

Referring to the deaths of Tupac Shakur, Shakur's DJ pal, Yafoo Foola, who was recently shot in Atlanta, and Biggie, Chuck D adds, "It's a terrible fact that we've had three casualties connected to this concocted situation that's much bigger than rap and hip-hop.

"It shows how the problems of the black community, black-on-black crime, that has been in dialogue in the art form for so long, has floated to the

top and is out of control."

Meanwhile, Death Row Records issued a statement saying, "Suge Knight and the entire Death Row Records family are shocked and saddened by the death of Mr. Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Notorious B.I.G. We would like to take this time to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of B.I.G.

"Having just had the untimely death of one of our own, Tupac Shakur, by way of the same senseless violence, we do sympathize with those closest to Mr. Wallace. A gifted rapper, we are sure that Mr. Wallace's passing will effect many and it is certain that he will be missed throughout the music industry by his peers and fans."

Biggie's double CD, the ironically-titled "Life After Death...'Til Death Do Us Part," will be released, as scheduled, on March 25.

The CD features an all-star cast including Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, R Kelly and Run DMC, and guest producers include Clark Kent and Rza from Wu-Tang Clan.

No funeral arrangements have yet been announced, although plans are to hold services in either Brooklyn, New York, or Teaneck, New Jersey.