During September of 1995 Biggie had begun recording for his follow-up album. Keeping the title in reference to Ready to Die, the inevitable Life After Death mimicked Shakur's ground-breaking first double album, All Eyes On Me with the second hip-hop double. Recorded in New York, Los Angeles and Trinidad. However this became an eighteen-month project for Biggie with interruptions from legal situations and personal injury. On March 23rd, 1996 Big was arrested in Manhattan, New York outside a nightclub for allegedly chasing and threatening two fans requesting autographs. Allegedly the larger-than-hip-hop artist smashed the taxi cab windows containing the fans and dragging them out before assaulting them. He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to second-degree harassment. A further accusation of assault was filed by a concert promoter who claims he and his entourage physically threatened him after Biggie refused to pay an agreed fee. He was arrested again mid-year on drug and weapons possession charges following a raid at his Teaneck, New Jersey home.
1996 brought on a dramatic climax to his short-lived recording career, still working on his next album, Biggie helped launch the fist solo album of Lil Kim's as well as further his relations with the seductive emcee to the public appearance of an affair while still holding an estranged marriage to Faith Evans. Tupac by mid-July had released “Hit Em Up” one of the most venomous battle spits in hip-hop, Here 'Pac claims to have fucked his wife, Faith out of pure insult to Biggie's personal life. On a Jay-Z collabo, “Brooklyn's Finest” Biggie retaliates with references to his wife's pregnancy. At the 1996 Source Awards Death Row had attempted to establish a New York recording branch and poach several big name artists to their imprint label, angering those close to Bad Boy and Biggie. On camera Tupac further vehemently threw down towards those against Death Row. Bad Boy's entourage and security were heavily under security details from Los Angeles hired Crip gang-members, to counteract the Blood-soaked affiliated Death Row Records. Several weeks later both parties would come to boiling point in Las Vegas.
September 7th, 1996 on the post-match side of a Mike Tyson fight with Bruce Seldon, Tupac Shakur was shot several times in a fatal drive-by assassination and hospitalised for six days before passing on due to complications resulting from the gunshot wounds suffered. Speculation of Biggie's involvement spread through the media about his involvement immediately. Reports of a MGM Grand lobby scuffle between Tupac, Suge Knight and an L.A. Crip associated with Bad Boy fuelled blame towards the East Coast giant label. In the wake of Tupac's death, an anti-violence hip-hop summit was held with the notable exception of Biggie and for his absence he received criticism. He soon suffered a shattered left leg in a car accident and was confined to a wheelchair, then a cane for support. The case remains open and unsolved by the L.A.P.D. The devastating aftershock of Tupac's death was thought to have awaken the hip-hop community and force artists to take stock of Gangsta Rap in general, with battles on wax being taken to the streets and turned into life or death beef. Unfortunately the wake-up call would cost another martyr. Six months later the cold dish of revenge was served in Los Angeles, California.
On October 29th, 1996 wife Faith Evans gave birth to Biggie's first son, Christopher "CJ" Wallace, Jr. The next month Lil Kim dropped her début album, Hard Core. The pair were still in arms despite Biggie's marriage to Faith.
Goin Back to Cali
On March, 1997 Biggie travelled to killer California to promote his new album and record the music video for “Hypnotize”. The album was due out on the 25th. He attended the 11th Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. He was there to present an award to Toni Braxton. Biggie was booed as he took the stage from a defiant West Coast crowd. After the event Biggie and his Bad Boy family attended the after-party hosted by Vibe Magazine and Qwest Records and held at the Peterson Automotive Museum in L.A. Alongside him was his wife, Faith Evans and label chief, Puffy Combs and security entourage of the Southside Compton Crips faction as well as Death Row's MOB Blood gang.
At 12;30am on March 9th, 1997 Biggie and entourage left the party in two GMC Suburban vehicles en-route to the hotel, after the closing of the party was announced early. Biggie was riding shotgun alongside long-time friend Damion “D-Rock” butler. Junior MAFIA's Lil Cease was beside driver, Greg “G-Money” Young in the following vehicle with three bodyguards. Both SUVs were trailed by a Chevrolet Blazer with Bad Boy's director of security. By 12:45 a.m. the streets were crowded with people exiting the event. Biggie's SUV stopped at a red light 40 plus metres from the event location. While awaiting the change of lights, a white Toyota land Crusier made a sudden u-turn and cut in-between Biggie's truck and the Blazer. Simultaneously a black Chevrolet Impala pulled up beside Biggie and the driver, a black male dressed in a blue suit and tie rolled down the window to extend a 9mm blue-steel handgun and fired off numerous rounds into the side of the GMC truck, with four bullets striking Big in the chest. He was immediately rushed to Ceders-Sinai Medical Center by his security team. He was pronounced dead at 1:15am that same morning. A retaliation hit was logically assumed putting Death Row CEO, Suge Knight and his MOB Piru blood gang as prime suspects. Also rumours opened with Knight hiring the Nation of Islam's Fruits of Islam security to appoint the trigger man. This today is still another unsolved murder case much like Tupac's assassination. Several L.A.P.D. investigators have put in print the accounts of these unsolved cases laying out conspiracy theories and circumstances to the murders as well as several investigative documentaries. Layered ties to corrupt L.A.P.D. officers, gang associations and music industry politics made both slain rappers' cases highly-sensitive.