Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso unveiled an interactive statue of legendary Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace — better known as Biggie Smalls — in honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary on Aug. 2.
The statue, titled “Sky’s the Limit in the County of Kings,” by artist Sherwin Banfield, is made of bronze, resin, stainless steel, winterstone and wood, and features solar-powered speakers which play a mix of Biggie’s popular tunes curated by DJ Mister Cee Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Downtown Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza.
“Sky’s the Limit” was originally located in DUMBO before moving to its new home in partnership of the borough president’s office, BRIC, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Dumbo Improvement District and NYC Parks.
Reynoso was joined by public advocate Jumaane Williams, Sherwin Banfield, BRIC’s chief programming officer Deron Johnston, Downtown Brooklyn partnership’s president Regina Myer and Dumbo Improvement District’s Sayar Lonial to celebrate the sculpture’s unveiling.
DJ itsParlé and dance and percussion group Victory Music & Dance Company honored Biggie and entertained guests in tune to the rapper’s greatest hits.
“It was Biggie who said the words that I live and lead by: ‘Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way,’” said Reynoso on Wednesday. “Biggie knew that putting love in his lyrics meant everything from grieving in public to celebrating together; it meant talking about violence so we can finally end it and healing together as one people. His legacy is a challenge to us all to do better and do right by our neighbors, and I’m so happy to have the chance to honor him during hip-hop’s 50th anniversary with this incredible sculpture for all of Brooklyn to enjoy. Hip-hop is more than a genre, it’s a way of creating community, and this public art installation reflects that.”
The public advocate spoke to how hip-hop impacted his life, and how the recognition of the rapper served to emphasize the importance of Black culture and music.
“This is so dope, as the president was saying, and I think he’s trying to make it clear like hip-hop was a sound and is the soundtrack of our lives,” said Williams. “To see the impact that hip-hop had is amazing. To be celebrating 50 years, to be able to unveil a Biggie Smalls, Notorious B.I.G bust and statue in front of Borough Hall. Who would have thought that was going to be what it was when we were going out, bopping our heads on the train, on the bus listening to Biggie?”
“Sky’s the Limit” artist Banfield also talked about how meaningful it was to be able to honor Biggie in front of Borough Hall on the rapper’s home turf.
“The Notorious B.I.G.’s connection to Downtown Brooklyn runs deep,” said Banfield. “Born & raised in Brooklyn, his poetry is peppered with mentions of his home town since his time attending Downtown’s George Westinghouse High School. ‘Spread Love, it’s the Brooklyn Way’ is a clear stand out of his artistic legacy. By immortalizing The Notorious B.I.G into a respected sculpture, we introduce to Brooklynites, New Yorkers and his millions of fans around the world a unique cultural opportunity to experience this tribute in B.I.G.’s Downtown Brooklyn while adding diverse representation in New York’s public spaces.”
The statue will be on display in Cadman Plaza through November of this year.