It would go down as one of hip-hop’s darkest hours: March 9, 1997, marked the untimely death of arguably the greatest rapper to ever grip the microphone: the Notorious B.I.G.
Big had been out in Los Angeles celebrating the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album, Life After Death, and was leaving Vibe magazine’s Soul Train Awards afterparty, when he was ambushed by gunfire while sitting in the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban.
The news of Big’s death hit hard back in his hometown of New York City. Local radio station Hot 97 was flooded with calls from a variety of hip-hop’s finest, including Busta Rhymes and record spinner Mister Cee, who was credited with finding the hefty rapper and delivering him to a young Sean Combs.
Anger and questions filled the airwaves. “Was Biggie’s killing payback for the Tupac Shakur murder?” Twelve years later, these same speculations remain as strong as Biggie’s lyrics. It’s hard for the average person to comprehend how a killer still manages to remain free after a federal investigation into a shooting witnessed by hundreds of partygoers, not to mention federal agents who were tailing B.I.G.
This past January, the life of Christopher Wallace was celebrated on the big screen with the successful release of “Notorious.” But in reality, the ultimate celebration will come if and when justice is served, and someone is held responsible for this unwarranted crime.
Until then, “We’ll always love Big Poppa.”