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New York to Celebrate Biggie’s 50th Birthday With a List of Events And Activations

New York City will pay tribute to the life and legacy of its fallen hometown hero The Notorious B.I.G., according to HipHop-N-More.

Beginning May 20, Empire State Building will partner with Bad Boy/Atlantic/Rhino Records to host a ceremony that will feature appearances from Biggie’s children, his mother Voletta Wallace, Lil Cease, and Lil Kim. Other close friends, collaborators, and hip-hop luminaries, that were instrumental in Biggie’s huge success and legacy will also be in attendance.

In honor of Biggie’s multi-platinum debut Ready To Die, the Empire State Building will be lit up in red and white with a crown spinning along its mast on May 21. The rap star’s legacy will also be honored at the Barclays Center in his home borough of Brooklyn, with a massive broadcast above the arena’s entrance featuring a montage of some of Biggie’s most prolific records.

The MTA also plans to roll out a special edition MetroCard for the three subway stops closest to the rapper’s home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is only a few steps away. The new subway card will be available on Lafayette Avenue, Clinton-Washington Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue only on May 21.

The celebration will then continue into June, with an orchestral tribute to Biggie on June 10 at the Lincoln Center. To commemorate this historic occasion, Bad Boy Records will release a limited edition vinyl of The Notorious B.I.G.’s diamond-certified, Grammy-nominated sophomore album Life After Death. The box set, dubbed the 25th Anniversary Super Deluxe, will include 8-LPs and a dense booklet containing rare photos from the album’s cover shoot. It will be priced at $179.98.

Out-of-home advertising and online events will be among the other activations. Amazon Music plans to honor The Notorious B.I.G. as well, and will take over the Clinton-Washington Ave. Station with their music brand [RE]DISCOVER to decorate it with art and murals in his honor. They’re also collaborating with Beautify Earth to unveil new locally-curated murals based on The Notorious B.I.G.’s most iconic moments, which will be displayed in each borough of New York City.

Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was thought to be the culmination of a feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier at that time, rapper Tupac Shakur was killed when he was shot while in his car in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Ironically, Wallace’s death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practictioner of “gangsta rap.” His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast’s leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York. Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace’s ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.

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