New York City, the Notorious B.I.G.’s hometown, will pay tribute to the late rapper on May 21, which would have been his 50th birthday.
On that day, the legendary Empire State Building will change its lights’ color to red and white, with a crown spinning on its mast in honor of the late rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace and who died in 1997 at the age of just 24. 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 close 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 travel B.I.G.’s home borough of 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.
The arena is only a few subway stops away from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where B.I.G. 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 B.I.G.’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 united 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 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.
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 25th anniversary super deluxe boxed set consists of 8 vinyl albums and a booklet that features rare photos from the album cover shoot, liner notes by Sheldon Pearce, and reflections from members of the team who worked on the original album. The set also includes the “Hypnotize” 12” single, the “Mo Money Mo Problems” 12”, the “Sky’s the Limit” 12”, and “Nasty Boy” 12”.