April 6, 2011 -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation released hundreds of pages of records from their investigation into the 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, better known as the superstar rapper Notorious B.I.G.
The records, which are heavily redacted, were released to the FBI's Vault website under the Freedom of Information Act, and provide few new details about the murder. The bureau's investigation was shut down in 2005; the murder remains unsolved.
Among the new tidbits was that Wallace, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, was killed by "very rare" Gecko 9 mm armor piercing ammunition, which is seldom found in the U.S.
He was, according to the newly released documents, carrying with him a plastic baggie of marijuana, an asthma inhaler and three Magnum condoms at the time of his death. He had been wearing size 48 Karl Kani jeans, size 13 Timberlands and a size 54 Bernini sweater.
At the time of his murder, Wallace was one of the biggest stars in rap music -- a gifted storyteller with incredible flow and smart, if violent and often mysoginistic, lyrics. There has been no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the cirumstances of his death, which has served to turn him into a mythological figure in rap.
Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur
Wallace's killing came six months after the fatal shooting of the era's other, arguably more brilliant superstar, the Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur. According to the FBI documents, a search warrant, served after Wallace's murder, revealed "a shrine of TUPAC SHAKUR and numerous 9mm guns and ammunition, LAPD radios, scanners and other tactical items" in the garage of an unnamed LAPD officer.
In fact, the report ties several in the LAPD at the time to the Bloods gang and Death Row Records, and places them at the awards show Biggie attended before he was murdered.
Shakur's murder, like Wallace's, has never been solved, and various theories have attempted to establish a connection between the two. Some blame the public rivalry between the East and West Coast rap scenes, specifically pointing to the bitter feuding between the two rappers and their record labels at the time: Marion "Suge" Knight's Death Row Records, based in Los Angeles, and New York-based Bad Boy Entertainment.
There are 359 pages of documents on the murder, and they begin with a description of the night itself:
"On March 9, 1997, CHRISTOPHER WALLACE, aka Notorious B.I.G., was murdered as he left the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after attending a post Music Awards ceremony. WALLACE was in the middle of a 3-car caravan when a dark Chevy SS Impala pulled next to him and fired several times into the passenger area where WALLACE was sitting. WALLACE died minutes later at a local hospital."
Notorious B.I.G. FBI Files Released
Last April, a long-running federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over Wallace's killing was dismissed.