Rap COINTELPRO PtVII: The VH1 Biggie Documentary


Cedric Muhammad

To those who have been following our RapCOINTELPRO series, it should not have come as any surprise the direction taken and innuendo dropped during the VH1 documentary, aired last Sunday, on the Notorious B.I.G.

Basically, the documentary was the video version of the Rolling Stone article that we wrote about in part 6 of this series, where the murder of Biggie was concerned. We won’t revisit our numerous questions regarding the Rolling Stones article, which you can review via our search feature, except to emphasize one very important point.

That point is: Why are VH 1, Rolling Stone Magazine and the primary source of information, former LAPD detective Russell Poole, not focusing their investigation at the scene of the crime? We have spoken to some of our BlackElectorate.com viewers, individuals who work in law-enforcement, who totally agree with our assessment that it makes absolutely no sense to center an investigation into Biggie’s murder around who attended the party that he was at before he was murdered. This is especially true since it is a known fact by the LAPD, Rolling Stone magazine and members of the mainstream and Hip-Hop media that at the very moment that Biggie was murdered, he and Puffy’s vehicles were being trailed by federal agents and members of the NYPD. Russell Poole knows this as well. Why didn’t VH1 spend even as a little as one second on that fact?

Members of Biggie’s entourage were shown photographs of vehicles trailing their cars by law enforcement officers and were shocked to know that at the time of Biggie’s murder they were being followed by federal agents and undercover cops. None of this was explored during the documentary.

Instead, VH 1 worked, even harder than Rolling Stone reporter Randall Sullivan to link Amir Muhammad and David Mack to the murder of Biggie. But their presentation was so weak. All they could muster was that someone saw both of the men at the party before Biggie was murdered. That is all.

And more importantly, VH 1, like Rolling Stone, did not mention the fact that an L.A. Times reporter and Brill’s Content magazine impressively argued against the Amir Muhammad theory last year. We wrote about that as well in our series.

The Hip-Hop community should really be pondering some serious questions in light of this VH1 documentary. Here are a few just for starters:

Notorious BIG orange1) Why has it taken VH 1 5 years to do a documentary on Biggie? Why now?

2) Isn’t there something peculiar about the fact that the Rolling Stone Magazine issue that centers on the murder of Biggie has the enormously popular WWF superstar, the Rock, on the cover? The Rock is incredibly popular among Black and Latino youth and the Hip-Hop generation as well as several rappers. Those who are familiar with COINTELPRO should know that all types of work went into positioning and marketing planted articles. It is obvious that the Rock on the cover, just below the bold headline about Biggie’s murder was designed to attract the attention of a slew of Hip-Hop fans.

3) Why is all of this attention into Biggie’s murder, which feverishly works to implicate Suge Knight, dropping in the public only months before the scheduled release of Suge from jail? Does the LAPD, NYPD, FBI and ATF, all of whom had Death Row and Bad Boy under surveillance over the last 6 years have something planned upon Suge Knight’s release? Are they deliberately creating an atmosphere, at least, that will result in harm being done to Suge, in the name of a rap feud?

Maybe the saddest thing about all of this is that now the grief of Biggie’s beautiful mother, is being used to provide a boost to the theories offered by Rolling Stone and VH 1.

It is obvious that the NYPD and federal government, who were following Biggie, the night he was murdered, are being “protected” by the angle offered by Russel Poole, VH 1 and Rolling Stone magazine. Their hand is being hidden. It is as if the LAPD and Death Row are being used as a buffer to keep people from following a trail that leads back to New York City and the FBI and ATF. Why?

Hopefully, we will lean the lessons of history so that we don’t have to repeat them.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, July 13, 2001

Rap COINTELPRO Pt VI: Is The Murder of Biggie Setting Up a Civil War In Hip-Hop ?

Cedric Muhammad

Cedric Muhammad

Note: The Rolling Stone.com online version of the “The Murder Of Notorious B.I.G.” is only an excerpt from the full article which appears in the hard copy

After reading the feature article in the June 7th issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, “The Murder Of The Notorious B.I.G.” we suggest that the Hip-Hop community and industry brace itself for some serious mischief making. The publication of this article and the time of its appearance, which coincides with the news that the NYPD has Hip-Hop artists under surveillance has us just about convinced that something sinister is going on with the FBI, LAPD, NYPD and media outlets that looks just like the COINTELPRO of the 1960s and 70s and which may manifest violently this summer. In light of recent events, the stage has now been set, enough seeds have been dropped and a cover story written for a civil war in Hip-Hop and inside of the Black and Latino community that would involve East Coast Rappers, West Coast rappers, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings and the Nation of Islam and which would serve the ultimate objective of the U.S. government’s phony war on drugs and gangs.

By far, this article is the most extensive, in terms of innuendo, rumor-mongering and potentially slander and libel that we have seen since we began writing this series about our belief that the Hip-Hop community and industry are the object of a destabilizing effort that bears a startling resemblance to the FBI-coordinated efforts to discredit, neutralize and destabilize Black organizations. In that effort everything from surveillance, informants, planted evidence and newspaper articles were used to destroy organizations and their reputations from within and in the court of public opinion.

Det Russell Poole

Det Russell Poole

This article in Rolling Stone, which relies heavily upon the account of a single LAPD officer, Russell Poole, works to pin the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. on Suge Knight and a group of LAPD officers. This is the second time that a media outlet has attempted to do this. The first effort began in early 1999 but was unsuccessful in large part due to articles printed in Brill’s Content and the work of another reporter who writes for the LA Times who poked numerous holes in the theory.

SugeKnight-cigar-225The Rolling Stone article, even though it acknowledges that the first effort to link Suge Knight with the murder of Biggie had some very serious problems with it spends not so much as a whole paragraph detailing how Brill’s Content and the second LA Times reporter poked wholes in the initial theory. Instead, Rolling Stone writer Randall Sullivan spends tens of thousands of words dropping seeds and speculating that Suge Knight, some LAPD officers and an individual named Amir Muhammad were involved in the murder of Biggie.

Sullivan very deviously and slyly works to even connect the murder with the Nation Of Islam, an effort that actually publicly began within hours of the shooting, by emphasizing the reports and police sketch indicating that the shooter wore a bow tie. Sullivan then states that Amir Muhammad and David Mack, one of the off-duty officers allegedly involved in the murder of Biggie, claimed to be Muslims.

Regardless to what their faith may be we find it especially peculiar that Sullivan and Rolling Stone, in thousands of words of writing, only make one reference to the second LA Times reporter who debunks the association of Amir Muhammad with the murder of Biggie. They only mention it briefly but do nothing to explain how the reporter saw through the loose reporting of his fellow reporter who first put in print the theory that Suge Knight, LAPD officers and Amir Muhammad were behind the shooting.

One of the more interesting things that comes out of the Rolling Stone article is that the reporter reveals how the government and the LAPD infiltrated Death Row Records as well as businesses connected with Suge Knight. They even make reference to a probe of Death Row Records and Suge Knight, which was/is being run out of the U.S. Justice Department.

But by far, the most interesting aspect to the story is that while it makes numerous efforts to pin the murder of Biggie on Suge Knight it drops some very peculiar information that seems to indicate that people way above Suge Knight and off-duty LA police officers have knowledge of who is actually behind Biggie’s murder.

Sullivan writes:

diddy flowers-225“One week after Russell Poole took over the Biggie Smalls murder investigation, the media learned that as many as a dozen law-enforcement officers had been on the scene when Smalls was shot to death. Six cops had been working for Smalls that night. The rapper was being shadowed as well by an assortment of undercover officers from the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The New York cops believed that the same man who shot Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios had killed by one of their off-duty officers and might still be working for either Puffy Combs or Biggie Smalls. The ATF officers were part of a federal task force investigating allegations that employees of Death Row Records were involved in money laundering and the sale of stolen weapons.”

It is interesting that Sullivan leaves out the fact that the officers that followed Biggie’s car as he was killed were able to show members of Biggie’s entourage actual pictures of cars and individuals taken while they were following Biggie. That information shocked the members of Biggie’s entourage who were totally unaware that the government and NYPD cops were following them. This was reported in the LA Times, why didn’t Rolling Stone and Randall Sullivan indicate that in their article?

And why does Sullivan rely almost exclusively on information and sources within the LAPD when he knows that NYPD officers and ATF agents were following Biggie at the exact moment that he was shot? We think in light of that fact it would be incumbent on any reporter worth two cents to follow up that angle. If the NYPD and government agents had a birds’ eye view of Biggie’s murder why all of the emphasis on the LAPD?

LAPDWhy would a supposedly enterprising reporter like Sullivan not work his investigation from the actual scene of the shooting? Why do we have so much information in his article about people at the party that Biggie attended before the shooting where “Muslim-looking” individuals and off-duty police officers connected to Death Row were seen, and so little information about the government agents and undercover NYPD officers following Biggie’s car when he was shot?

To ignore the scene of the crime as Sullivan does, when information is available, is a sign of horrific reporting, at best.

Unless… the Rolling Stone article is part of the cover story being written not by Rolling Stone but through Rolling Stone, by the government, with the help of editors and a willful or ignorant reporter, Randall Sullivan, to pin the murder of Biggie on Suge Knight, off-duty LAPD officers and others in order to serve a larger purpose with implications on the Hip-Hop and Black communities.

The FBI and CIA, for years, used reporters and editors to influence stories and even plant stories in mainstream media sources that were uncomplimentary to various groups.

Notorious BIG DiddyA basic reading of the story indicates that Sullivan directly or indirectly was fed information from people in the U.S. government who have been watching Death Row and Bad Boy Records and who work with the LAPD and NYPD. No one can reasonably refute that from the manner in which Sullivan quotes unnamed sources and weaves in information into his story that had to have been given to him by the government itself, or through others in touch with the FBI or Justice Department.

The most striking aspect of the article which makes us believe that the story at least has been crafted, is that after spending the entire emphasis on the article and tens of thousands of words on making the LAPD the entire focus of the article, Sullivan turns his attention to the reality that the FBI is now working on an effort with the help of a Los Angeles jail inmate to connect Suge Knight with the murder of Biggie. The effort is not lightweight, according to Sullivan.

Our question for Sullivan’s reporting is: if the FBI has been investigating Biggie’s murder all along, why does he place the entire emphasis of his story on the LAPD and its investigation of the murder?

Even Sullivan’s primary source, Russell Poole, who evidently has knowledge of the FBI’s investigation, is quoted by Sullivan as saying, “The FBI has something big cooking…”

David Mack LAPD

David Mack LAPD

For Sullivan to leave out the NYPD, ATF, the Brill’s Content and LA Times articles which contradict the alleged Suge Knight, David Mack, Amir Muhammad connection with the murder of Biggie; and for Sullivan to leave out the FBI’s investigation into the murder, until the end of his lengthy piece, results in his writing and willful omissions fitting rather nicely with whatever the FBI is “cooking”.

Why is all of this information coming out now, on the eve of Suge Knight’s release from jail?

Has the government, law enforcement agencies and informants in the Hip-Hop industry/community planned something even bigger that puts not even Suge Knight’s life in danger, upon his exit from jail, but the entire Hip-Hop community and sectors of the Black community?

What kind of atmosphere is being created by the Rolling Stone article, media outlets like Newsweek, MSNBC (particularly the Imus in the Morning Show) hyping up Suge Knight’s release from prison, and what of the hidden efforts of the Justice Department, FBI, ATF, NYPD and LAPD – including these law enforcement agencies’ ongoing investigations focusing on Hip-Hop artists and record labels?

How does all of this relate to the recent revelation that the NYPD now has the entire Hip-Hop community under surveillance? And what about the recent arrest of Jay-Z while under surveillance by the NYPD’s Street Crime Fighting Unit and his reported feud with Jayo Felony, a rapper from LA who is said to be a Crip?

Who would benefit from a war in the Black community involving East Coast rappers, West Coast Rappers, Suge Knight, Puffy, Bloods, Crips, and even the Nation Of Islam – all of whom, through innuendo, are made to look like criminals in the Rolling Stone piece?

Fasten your seat belts.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, June 01, 2001