Christopher Wallace, better known as the Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, was killed in Los Angeles 18 years ago Monday, just six months after the death of his West Coast rival Tupac Shakur. Wallace was 24 years old. He was a native of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up stealing and selling crack cocaine to make money in the rough, poverty-stricken area. He was the undisputed hip-hop superstar of the East Coast and artists have created memorials to Biggie around the city.
Perhaps the most well-known is on the corner of Fulton Street and South Portland Avenue in the Fort Greene area. Painted by local street art legend Lee Quinones and called "Comandante Biggie," the mural fuses Biggie with a classic depiction of South American revolutionary Che Guevara. Those in the New York City metro area can take the C train to Lafayette Avenue to see it.
Another great mural in Brooklyn is in Bed-Stuy itself, at the corner of Franklin and Dekalb Avenues. It’s more realistic than Quinones’ portrait, but isn’t quite as prominent on the street:
An honorable mention for New Zealand artist OD’s mural of the now destroyed, but legendary 5Pointz art space. 5Pointz was a mecca of street art in Long Island City and featured pieces from some of the world’s most well-known artists. Many did murals of hip-hop legends like Biggie. See here.
There’s been plenty of artwork shared on social media to pay tribute to the late rapper.
â€” MTV Hip-Hop (@mtvhiphop) March 9, 2015
â€” LACMA (@LACMA) March 7, 2015
(Yes, that’s Biggie)
RIP to the NOTORIOUS BIGGIE SMALLS pic.twitter.com/oYg2fol9w0
â€” #TheUnknownTour (@TheUnknownTour) March 9, 2015