The 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, b/k/a/ the rapper The Notorious B.I.G., remains unsolved. Last week, the case became both more transparent and more suspicious as the FBI opened up its files into an investigation about not just who shot Biggie Smalls, but also who helped orchestrate the killing. Popular accounts and common conspiracy theories about Biggie's death usually allege some combination of 2Pac and Suge Knight's Death Row records camp, LA's Crips gang, and corrupt L.A.P.D. officers being the masterminds behind the murder. The FBI's files, which span from 1997 to 2005, do little to prove or dispel these allegations--although they do make for sadly sinister reading.
While the first wave of reports has concentrated on the contents of Biggie's pockets on the night he died--marijuana, a pen, an asthma inhaler, three "larger size" condoms, and a driver's license issued in Georgia--the reports also contain insights into the often-nefarious side of the mid-'90s rap scene. So for those without the patience or printer ink to scour through the 350-plus pages--which include heavily redacted witness statements, a sketch of the crime scene, internal memos, and even a reference to a Village Voice article (on page 48 of Section 1)--here are ten insights into music-business-related matters. More »