Jim Smeal/Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Getty Images
The Notorious B.I.G. was undeniably big in life, and, if it's possible, even bigger in death.
A large part of that, of course, is due to the mystery and near-constant legal wranglings surrounding his 1997 slaying, though the curtain was pulled back on much of the secrecy this week as the FBI released its documents—spanning eight years—on the murder of Christopher Wallace.
So what did we learn from them?
1. They Tried to Connect the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie From the Get-Go: This particular rumor has never been short of conspiracy theories, with many believing the rappers' deaths were either part of a larger East Coast-West Coast feud, or even one brewing between Marion "Suge" Knight's label, Death Row Records, and Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment.
The documents released by the FBI are heavily redacted, and many portions thus difficult to piece together, but Tupac's name is frequently invoked, while the late rapper's own slaying, criminal history and ties to unsavory behavior meticulously chronicled, as well as every instance, no matter how minute or fatal, of feuding between the two factions. It appears as though they were successful in locating people who were, for whatever reason, present at both shootings.
Further casting suspicion is the revelation that many of the LAPD officers on duty at the Peterson Automotive Museum music industry event from which Biggie was exiting when he was shot were notably also employed by Death Row Records as security officers (a violation, incidentally, of LAPD policy). Several others involved—though it's unclear if they were police, due to the redactions—have never even been questioned in the case. The LAPD has also never managed to match the ammunition found. (It's worth noting at this point, however, that a federal judge dismissed a wrongful death suit filed by the rapper's family against the city of Los Angeles last year.)
2. Official Version of His Death: As Biggie was exiting the museum on the night of March 9, he made his way into the passenger seat of the middle car of a three-car caravan. A Chevy SS Impala pulled up next to him and several shots were fired through the window. The rapper was pronounced dead just minutes later, when he arrived at a nearby hospital.
3. He Was Killed With Rare Ammunition: According to the documents, which cite an agent and ammunition expert, the bullets that struck Biggie dead were "very rare" Gecko 9mm ammunition, which happen to only be manufactured in Germany. There are only two distributors of the bullets in the whole of the U.S., one of which is in California, and the other of which is in New Jersey. It seems as though FBI were attempting to compare the bullets to those found at a bank robbery that might have ties to the shooting, though it's unclear if that ever took place.
4. Biggie's Pockets Were Pretty Full the Night of His Death: Among other documents released was the property report. In addition to the usual listings—a Georgia driver's license, a pen, his clothes—Biggie was also carrying 0.91 grams of marijuana, miscellaneous papers, an asthma inhaler and three condoms.
5. He Had Ties to Organized Crime: The FBI investigation uncovered that the rapper had connections with the Genovese crime family in New York, and that investigators believed that the family might have video or other surveillance that could contain photographs of people they believed to be involved in the shooting.