NY Celebrates B.IG 50th Birthday
May 21 marks what would have been the 50th birthday of legendary rapper Christoper Wallace, known as the Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls/Biggie.
Born in Brooklyn, Wallace had a career spanning five years on Sean “Puffy” Combs’ label Bad Boy Records in the 1990s. Wallace solidified himself in music history with a catalog of chart-topping hits including “Big Poppa,” “Hypnotize,” and “One More Chance.” He released two studio albums during his career, Ready to Die in 1994 and Life After Death in 1997.
One of hip-hop’s most influential artists will be paid tribute by his hometown this weekend. On May 21, the Empire State Building will turn its lighting to red and white, with a crown spinning atop its mast, in honor of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., who would have turned 50 on Saturday. In Brooklyn, videos of Biggie Smalls, born Christopher Wallace, will be shown at the Barclays Center entrance and special MetroCards featuring the icon will be sold at three nearby subway stations, Variety reports.
On May 20, the Empire State Building will host an honorary ceremony including some of the most important people who helped him achieve success, including his mother Voletta Wallace, his children, close friends, and other collaborators and hip-hop artists.
Celebrations will continue at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with a video montage of some of Biggie’s best-known songs on a large screen that hangs above the arena’s entrance. The arena is located close to the Brooklyn native’s home neighborhood of Clinton Hill.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be offering a special edition MetroCard on the 21st featuring B.I.G. at the Lafayette Avenue, Clinton – Washington Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center subway stations.
Friday afternoon, Diddy, also known as Love, participated in a livestream with TIDAL where he talked about the influence of Wallace and the friendship they shared. Hours later, the stage was set at Guastavino’s on East 59th street in Manhattan and it was Kim’s turn.
The invitation called for black tie—and though strictly enforced, no one deviated; even the staff was impeccably dressed. Femcee Bri Steves was no different, the loc-queen who melodically floats on her beats on her newest EP TBH, wore an all-white tuxedo shirt dress that moved like soul music.
The evening was as intricately imagined and as hard-hitting as a freestyle from BIG himself. Guastavino’s was a perfect choice. The BIG ice sculpture held up—the drip only added to the thoroughness.
That was due, largely, to Alvina Alston who walked and talked like hip-hop. Together with Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Ceaser, DJ Enuff, Fat Joe, The LOX, Dave East, Havoc, and Sway—she was part of what made the evening BIG.