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At press time, SPIN learned that Brooklyn rapper the Notorious B.I.G. had been gunned down in a Los Angeles drive-by on Sunday, March 9. Biggie, who had been in L.A. for the past few weeks doing West Coast interviews, canceled a flight to Europe to attend a Vibe magazine and Qwest Records party at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard. When a fire marshal shut down the overcrowded, industry-laden event, Biggie and some friends regrouped in a Chevy Suburban and watched the attendees file out onto the sidewalk. Suddenly, a dark sedan sped by and a young black gunman sprayed the vehicle with bullets from a 9-millimeter pistol. Biggie, hit several times in the chest and abdomen, was declared dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Hospital at 1:15 A.M. He was 24. I first met Biggie on January 23 and finished the following story a week before his death.