The search for the murderer of East Coast rapper Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher
Wallace) continues. The outpouring of sympathy and shock at the parallels
between the drive-by shooting of Wallace this past Sunday (March 9) in Los
Angeles and Tupac Shakur's similarly violent demise last September in Las Vegas
has added new fuel to the seemingly retired talk of an East Coast-West Coast
A statement from Wallace's label, Bad Boy Entertainment, reads,
"We are overwhelmed with grief by the death of a great artist, a family member
and our friend, the Notorious B.I.G."
And in a show of unity, a statement
released from supposed rival Death Row Records reads: "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
Details about what happened last Saturday night, following a party
thrown by VIBE magazine at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles in
honor of the 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards, are starting to emerge.
According to reports, L.A. Police Department Lt. Ross Moen said that one of
three vehicles in Wallace's entourage tried to follow the suspect, described as
a black man in his 20's driving a dark sedan, but were unable to catch the car
or get the license plate number...
The Associated Press report that the LAPD hope to
release a sketch of the alleged gunman soon. Moen also said that the police
were "not overlooking any possibilities of a pay-back or gang-related type
shooting, or we're not overlooking the fact that this was possibly a hit, a
direct target, coming out of possibly New York. It could come out of L.A. It
could come out of Atlanta."
Moen described the gunman as "lying in wait"
for Wallace, who was shot several times in the upper body by the unknown
assailant while his GMC Suburban was stopped at a light. The 24-year-old
Wallace was later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Police are
interviewing many of the 200 witnesses to the shooting, although, as in the
Shakur murder, police told the AP that many witnesses are afraid to talk
for fear of retribution.
With the talk of the coastal rivalry, which some
have suggested was merely a publicity stunt all along, renewed in light of this
latest violent incident, everyone from Public Enemy front man Chuck D. to Soul
Train's Don Cornelius have something to say about the murder of Wallace aka
Biggie Smalls. "I think that it's time that the authorities got serious about
recognizing that the East Coast-West Coast thing is dangerous, and it's
legitimate," said Cornelius, creator and executive producer of "Soul Train."
Chuck D released a statement on Monday (Mar. 10) which reads: "We have to be
careful about hysteria and over-hyping of the term of East coast and West coast
confrontation that is being projected in the media." He added that, in light of
the murders of Shakur, Smalls and a member of Shakur's posse, Yafoo Foola,
"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
Phyllis Pollack, a publicist with the Def Press organization in
Los Angeles, a PR company that has represented several top hip-hop artists,
cautioned not to assume the murder was the result of the cross-country feud.
Pollack told the AP, "Sure, there's been this competition, but that's
been since day one. We don't have artists on the West Coast saying, 'Let's kill
off all of those East Coast rappers so we can sell more records on the East
C. DeLores Tucker, chairwoman of the National Political Congress
of Black Women and an outspoken opponent of gangsta rap told Reuters:
"The death of Notorious B.I.G. is a tragic reminder of the real impact of
gangsta rap on our lives. Gangsta rap glorifies violence. Unfortunately,
Notorious B.I.G. died an untimely death. We hope his death will serve as a
wake-up call to everyone." MTV News reported that Wallace's mother had been
flown to L.A. to identify the body, but that no funeral arrangements had been
made yet. MTV also reported that Wallace's new double CD, Life After
Death...'Til Death Do Us Part (March 25) features an all-star cast of
guests, including Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, R. Kelly,
Run-DMC, and guest producers Clark Kent and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan.