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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.