The Notorious B.I.G. Will Reign as King of New York During Upcoming 50th Birthday Celebration
The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Christopher Wallace, will be crowned the King of New York when his hometown pays tribute to the iconic rapper on May 21, which would have been his 50th birthday.
On May 21st, the landmark Empire State Building will change the historic landmark’s lights to red and white, with a crown spinning in its mast that will illuminate Manhattan and pay homage to Biggie’s debut multi-platinum album Ready to Die. The day before, on May 20, the Empire State Building, in partnership with Bad Boy / Atlantic / Rhino Records, will host a ceremony that will include Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, his children (CJ and Tyanna Wallace), his dear friend James Lloyd (Lil’ Cease), and Kimberly Denise Jones (Lil Kim). Other close friends, collaborators, and hip-hop luminaries, that were instrumental in Biggie’s meteoric success and legacy will also be in attendance.
On his birthday, the celebration will cross the river and travel to the borough that raised him, Brooklyn. The Barclays Center will honor the legendary rapper and hometown hero by featuring a video montage of classic Biggie records on the massive oculus display above the arena’s entrance to celebrate The G.O.A.T.’s 50th Birthday.
The arena is only a few subway stops away from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where Biggie Smalls grew up. New York City MTA will release a special edition MetroCard on May 21 that features The Notorious B.I.G. The card will be available exclusively at three subway stations near his old neighborhood: Lafayette Avenue, Clinton - Washington Ave., and Atlantic Ave. - Barclays Center. In addition, Amazon Music and their catalog music brand, [RE]DISCOVER, will reveal a station takeover of the Clinton – Washington Ave. Station to celebrate the hip-hop legend’s birthday. Featuring art based on the iconic “King of New York” photo of Biggie wearing a crown by Barron Claiborne, fans will be able to scan a QR Code at the station that will grant them access to a special Instagram filter celebrating his life and legacy. Amazon Music and [RE]DISCOVER have also come together with non-profit Beautify Earth to debut new, custom murals of Biggie created by local artists in each borough of New York, reclaiming previously unused space with images inspired by lyrics from his music.
Next month, the New York celebration will continue when Lincoln Center, in partnership with Bad Boy / Atlantic / Rhino Records and the Christopher Wallace Estate, hosts an orchestral tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. on June 10. The creative black-tie event will feature music arranged and conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, with appearances by The Originals and several special guests. The event will be free to the public, and as a part of their celebration of Black Music Month, Amazon Music will livestream the event exclusively on their channel on Twitch. Exclusive Biggie Smalls merch—including limited-edition t-shirts commemorating the livestream—will also be available for pre-order at amazon.com/biggie and in the Amazon Music app.
On June 10, Bad Boy / Atlantic / Rhino Records will release a vinyl version of Life After Death, Biggie’s diamond-certified, GRAMMY®-nominated second album. The Life After Death 25th Anniversary Super Deluxe boxed set consists of 8-LPs and a booklet that features rare photos from the album cover shoot, liner notes by Sheldon Pearce, and exclusive reflections from members of the team who worked on the original album. The collection will be available at retail for $179.98. In addition to the 2022 remaster of Life After Death, the set also includes the "Hypnotize" 12”, "Mo Money Mo Problems" 12”, "Sky’s The Limit" 12”, and "Nasty Boy" 12”.
Life After Death debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 in 1997. It was the first album to feature two back-to-back posthumous #1 singles: “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.” The album received a GRAMMY® nomination in the category of Best Rap Album. “Hypnotize” earned a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance, and “Mo Money Mo Problems” was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Among dozens of lists and retrospectives, Rolling Stone touted Life After Death among its coveted “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The RIAA has awarded the album a Diamond Certification for more than 5 million copies sold of the double-LP.