March 9 marks 10 years since 24-year-old rapper the Notorious B.I.G. (né Christopher Wallace) was killed by a spray of bullets in front of L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum. While Biggie’s hip-hop legacy hasn’t weakened over the last decade, many questions about his death — and posthumous career — remain.
Do police know any more about who killed Biggie? Nope, but there are ”people that probably know,” surmises New York’s Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee, adding that one thing hasn’t changed since 1997: ”the whole don’t-snitch code.” Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace, meanwhile, filed a civil suit against the city of Los Angeles in 2002 for what she calls a ”cover-up.” The judge declared a mistrial in July 2005 after unsubmitted evidence was found in the lead detective’s desk, but the case is likely to go to trial again in February 2008. Says the tight-lipped LAPD, ”The investigation is ongoing.”
Do Biggie’s CDs still sell? Definitely. He released only one CD in his lifetime, 1994’s Ready to Die, which sold 3.3 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And his second, Life After Death (which hit stores 16 days after his death), sold 4.8 million copies. Unlike Tupac Shakur, Biggie didn’t leave much unreleased music behind, but Bad Boy Records managed to put together three more CDs: 1999’s Born Again sold 1.9 million; 2005’s Duets: The Final Chapter (in which Biggie’s old rhymes were sampled in new recordings) pushed 1.1 million units; and Greatest Hits, featuring two previously unreleased tracks, dropped March 6.
What’s next for Biggie Inc.? Biggie’s estate has licensed a clothing line called NOTORIOUS, and the rapper will be the subject of Fox Searchlight’s upcoming biopic, with Voletta Wallace producing and Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) in talks to direct. ”She wanted the world to understand her son [as] Christopher,” says Biggie’s manager, Wayne Barrow. ”Not the Notorious B.I.G.”