Will Biggie Smalls' Murder Ever Be Solved?

“We kept pounding the doors on the same cold leads,” one former LAPD investigator has said of the more than two-decade-old case.

Notorious B.I.G. 1995 during Music File Photos 1990's in Los Angeles, California. [Credit: Getty Images/Chris Walter]

Notorious B.I.G. 1995 during Music File Photos 1990's in Los Angeles, California. [Credit: Getty Images/Chris Walter]

Notorious B.I.G. 1995 during Music File Photos 1990's in Los Angeles, California. [Credit: Getty Images/Chris Walter]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Christopher George Latore Wallace, also known as Biggie, Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G., became famous as a pioneer of East Coast gangsta rap, but his life was cut short in 1997 when he was gunned down at age 24.

Despite decades and multiple investigations passing since the shooting, the answer to who is responsible for the talented Brooklyn rap star’s murder remains shrouded in mystery.

“The shooter is most likely dead. You cannot ask him who paid him,” former LAPD captain Kevin McClure, who oversaw the investigation and speculated the culprits were likely gang hitmen for hire, once told the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t know who gave the money.”

“We kept pounding the doors on the same cold leads,” he added.

Among widespread theories, which include conjecture corrupt LAPD cops had something to do with the killing, the idea Biggie’s slaying was directly connected to his bitter feud with Tupac Shakur continues to be the most common.

Biggie reportedly met Shakur for the first time at a party in 1993. Shakur, perhaps the most influential player on the West Coast rap scene at the time, became a mentor to Biggie — until the two had a falling out that some believe ultimately may have led to both their deaths.

On November 30, 1994, Shakur survived getting shot five times during a robbery at a New York recording studio. The rapper thought Biggie and his musical cohorts had something to do with the attack.

According to Biography, Shakur’s suspicions seemed to be confirmed two months later when Biggie released his single “Big Poppa” with the B-side track “Who Shot Ya?”

The pair’s feud only ratcheted up when Shakur responded with the song “Hit ‘Em Up,” which includes lyrics alleging he had an affair with Biggie’s then-wife, Faith Evans (she denied the claim years later).

On September 7, 1996 — six months before Biggie’s murder — Shakur, 25, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Police have never charged anyone for the murder, and Biggie denied his troubles with Shakur and the ongoing East Coast-West Coast rap feud had anything to do with his former friend-turned-rival’s death.

In an interview at the time, Biggie said he began to realize how powerful he and Tupac were.

“We two individual people, we waged a coastal beef…. One man against one man made a whole West Coast hate a whole East Coast. And vice versa….”

“It let me know how much strength I have,” Biggie continued. “So, what I'm trying to do now, I've got to be the one to try to flip it. And take my power and flip it, like, yo, because Pac can't be the one to try to squash it because he's gone. So, I gotta take the weight on both sides."

The Notorious B.I.G. never got the chance.

On March 9, 1997, Biggie was riding in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban in Los Angeles after attending a music industry party when, according to Biography, a Black man, dressed in a blue suit and bowtie, pulled his Chevy Impala up alongside the “Mo Money Mo Problems” rapper’s SUV idling at a red light and opened fire.

Biggie was rushed into emergency surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.

As with other legendary unsolved crimes, LAPD’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division continues to try to crack the case — so far without any luck.

“It is an open case. We are still actively investigating, and we constantly discuss the disposition of the case with the district attorney’s office,” the division’s Capt. William Hayes has said.

Next Up

Dismembered Body Discovered In Box On The Side Of A Mississippi Road

On Dec. 4, 2022, a 911 call reported human remains along a road in Southern Mississippi. Social media and the victim’s tattoo helped identify the remains as 24-year-old Seth Coulter Odom.

Maryland Fugitive Goes On The Run After Allegedly Killing Girlfriend And Shooting Friend

William Strand is wanted for murder and attempted murder out of Maryland and has ties to the West Coast, specifically Washington state. If you have any information on where Strand could be hiding, please call or text the IN PURSUIT hotline: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

Did A Social Media Post Lead To The Robbery And Killing Of Rapper PnB Rock?

The Philadelphia native rapper was shot at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, California on Sept. 12, 2022.

Cold Case Victim Identified As Southern California Mother 27 Years After Her Murder

A female body was found near a highway in the Moreno Valley area of California in 1996. After 27 years, she has been identified as 41-year-old Juana Rosas-Zagal.

Police Seek Possible Witnesses To 22-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman’s Murder

On Sept. 21, 2022, police responding to reports of a foul odor at a Brooklyn, New York apartment found the dismembered remains of 22-year-old D'Asia Johnson stuffed into a suitcase.

Manhunt For Suspect Erick Rangel Ibarra In Las Vegas Murder

Authorities said Erick Rangel Ibarra has a tattoo of California on his earlobe. He has another tattoo of a skull on his chest and on his left wrist of “Dragon Ball Z.” If you have any information on his whereabouts, please submit your tips to InPursuitTips.com or text 1-833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

California Man Texted 911 For Help Before Vanishing In 2021, His Remains Have Now Been Found

Beau Mann texted 911 for help from his Uber in November 2021, and was never heard from again. Nearly a year and a half later, his body was found at an abandoned property in the Los Angeles area.

Man Accused Of Murdering Grad Student In L.A. Furniture Store Indicted On New Charges

In January 2022, Shawn Laval Smith allegedly attacked 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer after he entered the business where she was working alone, police say.

Mississippi Man Found Dead Month After He Calls Mother In Panic, Says Someone’s Trying To Kill Him

“Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this,” a family lawyer says of the case.

String Of Mysterious Disappearances, Deaths Has Small Texas County On Edge

“It seems odd that they all know each other and suddenly have fallen victim to foul play,” a private investigator says.