Snapped Notorious: Tupac Shakur airs Sunday, September 10 at 6/5c.
On March 9, 1997, the Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in Los Angeles. 20 years later, the case remains unsolved and no charges have been filed. Snapped: Notorious 'Tupac and Biggie Special' follows the tragic crime that continues to haunt hip-hop. Here's what five people who knew the rap star say about the murder and legacy of the man known as Biggie Smalls.
Selwin Seyfu Hinds
As the former Editor-in-Chief of The Source, hip-hop's bible of the time, Selwin Seyfu Hinds had an insider's perspective on the Notorious B.I.G. He remembers the Soul Train Music Awards after party that Biggie was at—literally moments before he was killed—as a fun, star-studded event. "This is hip-hop...with our hair all the way down," he remembers. "I don't think Biggie stopped smiling that entire night."
Former LAPD detective Greg Kading investigated the cases of Biggie and Tupac Shakur. "There were very few witnesses who saw anything of value," he remembers. "Initial reaction when you hear gunfire is to hide, run away." He said even those inside Biggie's vehicle gave very "vague" information when questioned.
Veteran journalist Toure extensively covered the so-called East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop beef. He remembers how the media immediately pointed to Suge Knight, Death Row founder and Tupac's mentor, as a possible connection in Biggie's murder. Rumors swirled that Suge ordered a hit on the Brooklyn rapper. "I think from the beginning folks assumed, it's gotta be Suge."
Rapper and former girlfriend Charli Baltimore remembers how Biggie was initially surprised by the anger that rival Tupac had for him. Despite the feuding headlines, the two legends were once friends. "He couldn't really grasp the anger that Pac had. It hurt him. At one point, they were friends."
Wendy Day of Rap Coalition says that the coastal feud affected not only Biggie and Tupac but also industry insiders and fans. "Fans and people in the industry felt they had to choose a side," she says. "Pac was on Death Row, which was the West Coast versus Biggie who was on Bad Boy which was the East Coast. It became a huge, huge thing."
[Photo: Getty Images, Oxygen]