NEW YORK — The 50th birthday celebration of The Notorious B.I.G. is going to be a biggie.
A tribute is set to take place for the late rap icon, also known as Biggie Smalls, on May 21 — which would’ve been the golden anniversary of the day he was born.
The Empire State Building will change to red, with a crown spinning in its mast on Saturday for the “Hypnotized” lyricist, while Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will feature a video montage of him on the sprawling oculus display above the venue’s entrance.
Also on May 21, New York City MTA will sell a special edition MetroCard featuring the artist — born Christopher Wallace —available at three subways stations near his old neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant: Lafayette Avenue, Clinton-Washington Avenue and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center.
In addition, the Clinton-Washington Avenue station will feature art based on Barron Claiborne’s “King of New York” photo of Biggie wearing a crown. Fans will be able to scan a QR code at the station to get access to an Instagram filter about his life and legacy. Amazon worked with the nonprofit Beautify Earth movement to debut murals of the “Juicy” rapper created by local artist in each of New York City’s five boroughs.
The day before his 50th birthday, the Empire State Building will host a ceremony that will include The Notorious B.I.G.’s family and friends in partnership with Bad Boy/Atlantic and Rhino Records.
The celebration will continue into June, which is recognized as Black Music Month.
Lincoln Center will host an orchestral tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. at a creative black-tie event on June 10, featuring music arranged and conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, with appearances by The Originals and several special guests. The event is free to the public and will be livestreamed on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel.
A 25th anniversary vinyl boxed set edition of “Life After Death” opus will also go on sale that same day for $179.98, consisting of eight remastered LPs and a booklet with rare photos, liner notes and exclusive reflections from people who worked on The Notorious B.I.G.’s Grammy Award-nominated sophomore set.
“Life After Death” debuted on the Billboard 200 chart weeks after the groundbreaking hip-hop artist was fatally shot on the streets of Los Angeles on March 9, 1997.
His murder, at age 24, remains unsolved.
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