To commemorate what would’ve been The Notorious B.I.G.‘s 50th birthday, the late rap icon is posthumously reclaiming his place on the New York City throne with a host of tributes taking place across his hometown on Saturday (May 21).
On that special day, the iconic Empire State Building in Manhattan will light up in red and white in honor of the fallen Bad Boy MC, with an illuminated crown spinning around its mast serving as a reminder of his “King of New York” status.
Over in Biggie’s native borough of Brooklyn, the Barclays Center will display a video montage of some of the rapper’s classic songs on the massive oculus display above the arena’s entrance.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will release a special edition MetroCard adorned with Biggie’s image, which will be available at three subway stations near his old Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood (Lafayette Avenue, Clinton – Washington Ave. and Atlantic Ave. – Barclays Center).
The day before Biggie’s 50th birthday, several family members (including his mother, Voletta, and children, CJ and T’yanna Wallace), close friends (including Lil Kim and Lil Cease) and other Hip Hop luminaries connected to his career will attend a ceremony at the Empire State Building.
Additionally, Amazon Music and their catalog music brand, [RE]DISCOVER, will take over the Clinton – Washington Ave. station with artwork based on Biggie’s iconic “King of New York” crown photo. Fans will be able to scan a QR code at the station that will give them access to a special Instagram filter celebrating his life and legacy.
The 50th birthday celebrations continue the following month with a special orchestral tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. at the Lincoln Center on June 10. The black-tie event will feature music arranged and conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, with appearances by The Originals and several special guests. The concert will be free to the public and streamed exclusively on Amazon Music.
Biggie’s Life After Death 25th anniversary super deluxe box set also arrives on June 10, featuring eight vinyl LPs and a commemorative booklet with rare photos from the Life After Death cover shoot, plus words from those who were involved in the making of the album.
The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) was murdered at the tender age of 24 on March 9, 1997. The beloved lyricist was leaving a Soul Train Awards afterparty in Los Angeles when another driver pulled up alongside his car and opened fire, striking Biggie four times and killing him. His murder has yet to be solved.
Just 16 days later, Biggie’s sophomore album Life After Death was released. The record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 while spawning several hit singles including “Hypnotize,” “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Sky’s the Limit.” The album has since been certified 11x platinum and remains a bona fide classic.