Ginuwine, DJ Klark Kent, comedian Chris Tucker, Missy Elliott, Irv Gotti, Aaliyah and more partied into the early morning hours of March 9. In the final hours of his life, Biggie Smalls was surrounded by love. Love that should have propelled him to the next chapter of a still infant career. Biggie had survived a war that six months earlier had taken the life of his former friend. A death Biggie said blindsided him. But even before that, B.I.G. believed death was always around the corner. “I’m scared to death,” he said in 1994, sitting on the third-floor steps of his mother’s apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. “Scared of getting my brains blown out.”
Now, he spoke of the future. His daughter T’yanna and the recent birth of his son with ex-wife and R&B singer Faith Evans — C.J., who played his father’s younger self in the 2009 biopic Notorious — inspired him. The success pouring into his life inspired him as well. His lyrics were even sharpening, evident on posthumous appearances aside from his solo work on Puff Daddy’s “Victory,” “All About The Benjamins” and “Young G’s” proved. As the party ended (shut down by the Los Angeles Fire Department), Biggie’s life lay in front of him.
Minutes later, that life ended in the passenger seat of a GMC Suburban at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire boulevards. In his pockets were an asthma inhaler, a bag of weed, and three Magnum condoms. He was two months shy of his 25th birthday.