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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Rapper's family sues over murder
Notorious BIG was gunned down in 1997
Notorious BIG was gunned down in 1997
The family of US rapper Notorious BIG has sued the city of Los Angeles and current and former police chiefs over his murder, claiming they could have done more to prevent it.

Five years after his death, the singer's relations launched a civil rights and wrongful death legal case in the LA federal court this week.

The rap star, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, died after being shot outside the Petersen Automotive Museum on 9 March, 1997, after a music industry party.

Tupac was shot in a drive by shooting
Tupac was shot in a drive by shooting
His death came six months after the death of rival rap star Tupac Shakur and there was speculation the murders were due to a rivalry between record companies.

Death Row Records, which is based on the US west coast, was home to Shakur while Notorious BIG was signed to Bad Boy Records, who are on the east coast.

The legal suit seeks unspecified damages and was filed on behalf of the rapper's mother, wife, son, daughter, and the daughter's guardian.

It claims that people closely associated with Death Row Records and a street gang "had consistently exhibited significant animosity" towards Notorious BIG.

Star

It also says the police department should have known of the "atmosphere of violence and alleged criminality".

Notorious BIG was born in New York in 1972 and first won attention on singer Mary J Blige's song What's the 411 in 1992.

He was signed to Bad Boy by its founder, rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs - now known as P Diddy - in 1993 and he became one of the rap world's biggest stars.

Sean
Combs heads Bad Boy Records
However, his life and career were cut short when he was shot while in his car after the Soul Train Awards.

His funeral was attended by thousands of fans and his wife, singer Faith Evans teamed up with Combs, then known as Puff Daddy, to record I'll Be Missing You.

The song sold more than a million copies in the UK alone and topped the charts around the world.

Six months earlier Shakur, another rising singer and actor, was gunned down in Las Vegas.

No-one has been arrested for either murder.

See also:

23 Apr 01 | Music
Rap's stormy Knight
17 Jun 01 | Music
Chart entry for the late 2Pac
19 Apr 01 | Music
Hip-hop boss to leave jail
17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Puff Daddy's life of rhyme
17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Puff Daddy cleared of gun charges
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