The Unsolved Murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls

July 23, 2012

While conspiracy theories abound, the murders of two of rap’s biggest stars go unsolved.

by Cathy Scott

Just before 3 p.m. on a spring afternoon in May 1998, a car drove up to a crowded car wash on a street corner in Compton, California. An argument broke out between two groups of men and, a minute later, the sound of gunfire erupted. When the smoke cleared, four men were sprawled out, bleeding on the ground. Two were already dead. And a third died early the next morning.

This a nation long hardened to the idea of black-on-black crime. Although a shooting in a white suburban school is cause for a national outcry, a gun battle in a black ghetto barely raises an eyebrow – at least from authorities.

The slaughter at the car wash would have been quickly forgotten but for the notoriety of one of the dead – 23-year-old Orlando “Little Lando” Anderson. A member of a Los Angeles gang known as the Southside Crips, Anderson was the man widely suspected in the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur.

The killing of Anderson was the latest in a string of murders in the 1990s that blighted the reputation of rap culture and the image of young African-American men. Among the most famous victims were two of the biggest names in rap music: Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

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