It was the stuff nightmares are made of...
Christopher George Latore Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls and The Notorious BIG, lost his life in a hail of bullets fired by an unknown assailant just moments after leaving the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA, 14 years ago today. He was just 24.
Others tweeted condolences, photos, videos and private memories of their precious time spent with Biggie before his untimely passing.
March 9, 1997
My phone rings. It is after midnight and I am sleeping. I think it might be Biggie. He always calls late. But it is not. It is someone telling me that Biggie was shot, that he might be dead. I hang up on the person. Someone else calls. They tell me Biggie is indeed dead. I hang up on them too. But I call Puff. His cell phone is turned off. It is never turned off.
I feel the first signs of panic. I call my best friend in L.A. and she makes it to my house in Silver Lake in a matter of minutes. We drive to Cedars Sinai, where she heard he has been taken. In front of the emergency room is the Suburban he’d rented. There is police tape around it and a tightly formed pattern of bullet holes in the passenger dor, where Big would have been sitting.
The panic is real now. I call his best friend Damien. A girl answers the phone, tells me it’s true. Damien is with Faith at her hotel and he’ll meet me at Big’s hotel room. He has to make all the hard phone calls. To Un and L and Kim in New York, to Big’s girl Tiffany in Philly. To Big’s mom.
‘This nigga, who ain’t never hurt nobody,” Damien keeps saying. “I could see if it was one of us.” Cease stares out the window, unable to speak or move. In a few hours he will put his arm through the window and stitches will be required to close the wound. “One fucking bullet.” That’s how it happened. There were no last words. “I been shot mad times—niggas get shot.” Damien sounds as if he were up pacing the room, but he’s sitting on the couch, his head in his hands, exhausted. On his right arm is the psalm that Big had tattooed in the same spot a week earlier.
The hotel room is covered with Big’s clothes. Custom-made Versace, The gator loafers he bought when he came to Detroit. Big’s mother is on her way to the airport in Queens. Un is driving her. T’Yanna’s mother Jan and Mann from the neighborhood are accompanying her on the flight. She hears on the early-morning radio what she would not allow herself to believe when Damien called. The sun is beginnig to rise in Big’s hotel room. Damien needs to sleep but promises he will not, nor will he shower, until “I get my man out this motherfucker.”
When Mrs. Wallace lands at LAX it is scorching. She thinks L.A. is the cruelest, most awful place on the planet. She vows never to return, “except to look my son’s murderer in the face. To ask him ‘Why?’”
“This nigga died from one ass bullet,” Damien keeps repeating as if trying to find logic in the details of the absurd. Cease stares at the rising sun. Damien tilts his head back on the couch, covers his eyes with one arm, and lets his tears flow. “One ass bullet.”
Click the link below to watch dream hampton's rare archival footage of Biggie and his entourage (including hampton) getting kicked out of a 4-star hotel.