Artists unveiled a pair of new murals honoring local legend The Notorious B.I.G. in Bedford-Stuyvesant this morning, celebrating the rapper on the 25th anniversary of his murder.
Graffiti artists Eli Salome-Diaz, Carlo Niece, and Benny Guerra were asked to paint the murals in just a week, they said, so they could be finished in time for the tragic anniversary.
“We want this to be a representation of hope for the community at 951 Fulton Street,” the artists said. “Biggie and his lyrics were a part of what help make him a pillar in Brooklyn.”
The murals are painted at the corner of St. James Place and Fulton Street, just a few yards from where Smalls grew up in Clinton Hill. The only child of a preschool teacher, Smalls attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Downtown Brooklyn and got his start performing with local groups like the Techniques before he launched to superstardom in 1993.
B.I.G. was only 24 when he was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 1997.
“Biggie’s music helped identify me with Brooklyn,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Wednesday morning. “It helped keep me off the street. I wonder if the rap game would be as interesting [without him]. His lyrics are timeless.”
Brooklynites have been remembering Smalls through art for years, painting odes to the beloved musician, known to many as the greatest musician of all time, in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and Bushwick.
“Biggie’s impact on Brooklyn is incredible and will never be forgotten,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.