More alibis and protests arise over Biggie-Tupac story
People close to those implicated in the Los Angeles Times investigation of Tupac Shakur’s 1996 murder continued to come forward Tuesday to defend their loved ones against charges of complicity in the still-unsolved Las Vegas shooting. While the story said that eyewitnesses placed rival rapper the Notorious B.I.G. in Vegas that night and said he provided the murder weapon and agreed to pay a $1 million bounty for the hit, Biggie’s friends and family offered new evidence that he was on the East Coast that day. And the family of Orlando Anderson, the reputed Crips member named as the gunman in the report, denied not only his role but his alleged membership in the gang.
In recent days, Junior M.A.F.I.A. rapper Lil’ Cease has said that Biggie Smalls (real name: Christopher Wallace) spent much of that day in recording sessions at the Daddy’s Place studio in Brooklyn, then took a break and went home to Teaneck, N.J., to watch the Mike Tyson fight (which Shakur attended in Las Vegas) on TV. Yesterday, Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, provided MTV with written records of the studio session and said that tapes recorded that day would establish her son’s whereabouts. His former manager, Wayne Barrow, said he was in the studio with the rapper that day. He told MTV, ”It’s impossible for him to make it in time for the fight. I just can’t see it — unless he chartered one of them type of jets to get you from New York to England in two hours. Big didn’t have that type of paper to be maneuvering like that.”
Faith Evans, B.I.G.’s wife, recalled to MTV, ”I was living in Manhattan. I was about eight months pregnant with our son C.J. The night [Tupac was shot], I remember Big calling me and crying. I know for a fact he was in Jersey. He called me crying because he was in shock.” She added, ”I think it would be some element of fear that would kind of run through his mind, given the fact that his name was involved in a lot of the situations involving Tupac before his murder. He was already getting threatening phone calls. I’m sure for all he thought, he could be next.” Indeed, Biggie was also shot in his car, six months later, in a similarly unsolved crime.
Anderson was shot dead in 1998. The Times story noted that, hours before Shakur was shot, a hotel security video caught Tupac, his bodyguards, and Death Row Records chief Suge Knight attacking Anderson in the lobby, apparently because they held him responsible for an assault on a Bloods member weeks earlier. While Knight has long been linked to the Bloods, Anderson’s family denied Tuesday that he was a member of the Crips, issuing a statement saying, ”He was not a ‘thug.’ He was not a ‘hoodlum.”’ He had just been in Vegas for some ”innocent fun,” the statement said. ”Orlando Anderson did not murder Mr. Tupac Shakur. He did not accept any money nor was he offered any money from Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace), nor anyone else, to perform such a heinous crime.” While Las Vegas police questioned Anderson once, they never charged him with the killing.
The Anderson family statement, like much of the reaction from hip-hoppers and fans, accuses the Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips of spreading misinformation in order to divide the community for their own gain. ”The hip-hop community and the community-at-large must not allow some two-bit reporter to profiteer off of the murders of our sons, loved ones and heroes,” the Anderson family said. ”We must be wise and not allow ourselves to be spoon-fed rhetoric aimed at keeping our communities divided.”