The Notorious B.I.G.: Theories And What Really Happened

By | March 8, 2020

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American rapper Notorious B.I.G. attends the 1995 Billboard Music Awards, New York, New York, December 6, 1995. (Larry Busacca/WireImage/Getty Images)

In the early morning hours of March 9, 1997, the sound of gunfire rang out in Los Angeles. Moments later, Christopher Wallace, known in the music world as the Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls, lay dead with four bullet wounds from a drive-by shooting. The murder remains unsolved 23 years later.

Because of the intense rivalry between the East Coast and West Coast hip-hop scenes and the suspicion of gang involvement, Biggie's murder was connected to a similar incident six months earlier in which fellow rapper Tupac Shakur was killed, and their deaths sparked a litany of conspiracy theories. Let's look at the death of the Notorious B.I.G. and the theories about who may have pulled the trigger. 

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A native New Yorker, the Notorious B.I.G. defined the East Coast hip-hop sound. (

Who Was Biggie Smalls?

Christopher Wallace was a Brooklyn rapper who was instrumental in reviving the East Coast hip-hop sound. After he emerged as Biggie Smalls in the early '90s and later as The Notorious B.I.G. after signing with Sean "Puffy" Combs's Bad Boy Records, East Coast hip-hop began to outshine the West Coast sound that was dominated by Dr. Dre and his Death Row Records label. Like his friend-turned-rival, Death Row star Tupac Shakur, Wallace had a few brushes with the law in his youth but was not the gangster that he made himself out to be in his music. Both were more poet than thug.