It would be safe to assume that an overwhelming percentage of human beings of good conscious would agree that cold blooded murderers should be brought to justice. The details and/or severity of that justice can be debated, but we generally believe that justice must be done when a life is forcibly taken by the hands of another. In the United States there is a harsh, almost clandestine factual reality, that 1 out of every 3 murders goes unsolved and/or not prosecuted, that’s a third, or 33% if you’d like. That’s kind of unsettling, but what’s worse is that those numbers go up when dealing with members of minority races. Those numbers go up further still when the victim is a member of the hip-hop community. The sad fact of the matter is that these victims can’t be returned to their loved ones and fans, and sometimes their loss is felt for decades and with profound repercussions. There are many in the hip-hop community who believe that the murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. was the point of demarkation from which the hip-hop art form has never fully recovered. The bottom line is that things in hip-hop just aren’t the same. Perhaps it was inevitable, but the loss of two of the very best artists of all-time within a calendar year was devastating. The bar for lyrical substance and social advancement all but disappeared. A vacuum of talent was filled by lesser talents, who by no real fault of their own, watered down the art form. Idiots Guide has taken this moment to look back at these unsolved murders and remember some of the most talented hip-hop stars of yesteryear whose loss has changed the art form forevermore.
*Scott LaRock (Circa 1986)
The Unresolved 6…
Andre “Mac Dre” Hicks / Murdered: October 31, 2004 / Age: 34
How it Went Down: Andre “Mac Dre” Hicks was scheduled to do a performance in Kansas City, Missouri on Halloween night, October 31, 2004. Reportedly, due to a payment dispute with the club promoter. Mac Dre decided not to do the show, and returned to his hotel. Later that night (early next morning of November 1, 2004) Hicks and his people were driving in a white van on Route 71 in Kansas City, when they started taking gunfire from an Ak-47 from the inside of a stolen black Infiniti G35. The driver of the van carrying Hicks crashed but was able to call 911, unfortunately Hicks was struck by a bullet in the side of his neck and was pronounced dead at the scene. Later on there were persistent rumors that a small time hood and local rapper named Anthony ‘Fat Tone’ Watkins was responsible for the shooting. No one has ever been arrested and charged in this murder and this ‘Fat Tone’ character was shot to death (shot 20 times) the following year in 2005. So that happened. A shining light from Oakland, California was extinguished too soon.
Jason Mizell aka ‘Jam Master Jay’ / Murdered: October 30, 2002 / Age: 37
How it Went Down: There is an irony that a hip-hop star who never engaged in ‘beefs’ with other artists, who had a great reputation in the business, ended up being murdered anyway. ‘Run Dmc’ Jason Mizell was just 37 when at approximately 7:30 pm on the night of October 30, 2002 an ‘unknown’ assailant walked into his Queens, New York recording studio and opened fire on Mizell who was busy working. He never had a chance, as he was shot at point-blank range. There was another person in attendance at the studio but he claimed not to witness and/or refused to admit that he had actually seen the shooter. In 2003, a hood with felony drug convictions named Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff was investigated for the murder and in 2007 federal prosecutors named Ronald “Tenad” Washington as an accomplice in the murder. Unfortunately, no convictions have come of this and no new suspects have been named, the murder remains unsolved. It should be noted that McGriff was a close friend of Murder Inc. impresarios Irv and Chris Gotti. The rumor is that Mizell was targeted for defying a ‘blacklist’ order by continuing to work with rapper 50 Cent.
Scott LaRock / Murdered: August 27, 1987 / Age: 25
How it Went Down: On Aug. 27, 1987, Scott LaRock was a passenger in a red Jeep CJ-7 headed to the ‘Highbridge Projects’ on University Avenue in the South Bronx. It was an attempt to mediate a disagreement between his friend and fellow artist ‘D-Nice’ Jones and a group of young men including Cory Bayne and Kendall Newland. The argument was over females. He never got the chance to broker peace as before he could utter a word and as he was exiting the jeep, bullets started flying in his direction. LaRock was mortally wounded after being hit in the neck. Oddly, LaRock was conscious and talking to the doctors as he was wheeled into the emergency room. He never made it out. The following year, Cory Bayne and Kendall Newland were arrested for his murder, however prosecutors had no credible witnesses who were willing to testify, as a result, both men were eventually acquitted of the charges.
Lamont Coleman aka ‘Big L’ / Murdered: February 15, 1999 / Age: 24
How it Went Down: On February 15, 1999, Lamont ‘Big L’ Coleman was shot in the face and chest (a total of nine times) and killed on the corner of 45 West 139th Street in Harlem, New York. It was a drive-by shooting. The rumor is that his shooting was retaliation for some as of yet unknown problem his brother who was incarcerated at the time, was dealing with while in prison. In May of the same year, Gerard Woodley, a childhood friend of Big L (go figure) was arrested for the murder. Woodley was later released in a controversial decision due to insufficient evidence. As of today (it’s been 17 years) the murder case remains unsolved.
Christopher Wallace aka ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ / Murdered: March 9, 1997 / Age: 25
How it Went Down: The irony is that he was never a true gangster. It was all an act, a persona to mark a brand and sell records. Entertainment. However, the loss of Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G. started on March 9, 1997, at approximately 12:45 a.m. and has been felt until this very day. That night Wallace and his entourage were traveling in two GMC SUV’s on their way to back to his hotel following the abrupt early shutting down of a Vibe Magazine party at the Peterson Automotive Museum in the City of Angels. Biggie was seated in the front passenger seat in the SUV carrying his people, ‘D-Roc’ Butler, ‘Lil’ Cease’, and driver Gregory ‘G-Money’ Young. His SUV was being trailed by another SUV carrying Bad Boy Entertainment’s Director of Security. As it turns out his security measures were insufficient. As Biggie’s SUV was stopped at a red light at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and S. Fairfax Ave, a dark colored Chevy Impala SS pulled up alongside Biggie in the SUV and started firing bullets into the side of the truck. Biggie was struck by gunfire a total of four times and rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical, where he died soon after arrival. Witnesses claim that the shooter was a black male dressed in a blue suit, who simply rolled down his window and started emptying his 9 mm pistol clip into the truck and into Biggie as a result. No one has ever been charged in the murder. The rumor(s) have run gambits long, far and wide. From retaliation for the Tupac Shakur murder in Las Vegas a year earlier (which Biggie had zero to do with), to part of the Eastside – Westside hip-hop beef and everything in-between. The bottom line is that his murder, like most, was senseless. The impact has been profound, not just for hip-hop music, but for the culture at large. 19 years later it is likely that nobody will ever be charged in the murder of Christopher Wallace.
Tupac Shakur / Murdered: September 7, 1996 / Age: 25
How it Went Down: He had absurd talent. He could act with the best of them, and he certainly could spit rhymes as good as anyone who ever grabbed a microphone. Sadly, Tupac Shakur’s murder was a confluence of bad decisions followed by even worse decisions on that fateful Las Vegas evening on September 7th, 1996. Tupac was watching the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Tyson made quick work of Seldon and the crowd was released into the hotel, in a fateful occurrence, one of Suge Knight’s people pointed out Orlando’Baby Lane’Anderson, a reputed ‘Crip’ from Compton, California, in the lobby. Anderson was a marked man by Knight and his people due to an earlier robbery of a member of Death Row’s entourage. Tupac, ever the willing street soldier, attacked Anderson by punching him square in the face, hard. Anderson immediately fell to the ground and Shakur, Knight and members of his entourage started stomping him without mercy. The fight was broken up by security. Later that evening, at approximately 11:15pm, Tupac was the passenger in Knight’s BMW when they stopped at a red light at East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane when a car pulled up alongside (sound familar?) and started firing bullets from a.40-caliber Glock pistol into Tupac’s side of the car. Tupac was struck four times, including twice in the chest. He would eventually die six days later at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. This murder has remained unsolved, and it is likely to never be solved.