The Notorious B.I.G.
March 9, 2012 by staff
The Notorious B.I.G., Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), best known as The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper. He was also known as Biggie Smalls (after a character in the 1975 film Let’s Do It Again), Big Poppa, and The Black Frank White (after the main character of the 1990 film King of New York).
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When Wallace released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene and increased New York’s visibility at a time when West Coast artists were more common in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud, dominating the scene at the time.
In March 2005, the relatives of Wallace filed a wrongful death claim against the city of Los Angeles based on the evidence championed by Russell Poole. They claimed the LAPD had sufficient evidence to arrest the assailant, but failed to use it. David Mack and Amir Muhammad (a.k.a. Harry Billups) were originally named as defendants in the civil suit, but were dropped shortly before the trial began after the LAPD and FBI dismissed them as suspects.
The case came for trial before a jury on June 21, 2005. Several days into the trial, the plaintiffs’ attorney disclosed to the Court and opposing counsel that he had received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a LAPD officer and provided detailed information about the existence of evidence concerning the Wallace murder. The court directed the city to conduct a thorough investigation, which uncovered previously undisclosed evidence, much of which was in the desk or cabinet of Det. Steven Katz, the lead detective in the Wallace murder investigation. The documents centered around interviews by numerous police officers of an incarcerated informant, who had been Rafael Perez’s cellmate for some extended period of time. He reported that Perez had told him about his and Mack’s involvement with Death Row Records and their activities at the Peterson Automotive Museum the night of Wallace’s murder. As a result of the newly discovered evidence, the judge declared a mistrial and awarded the Wallace family its attorneys’ fees.
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