New York City will pay tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. on May 21

New York City will pay tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. on May 21
Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls performing at Meadowlands, New Jersey, 29 June 1995. (Photo credit: David Corio/Redferns via Bang Media)

Biggie Smalls – who was killed in a drive-by shooting in March 1997 at the of 24 – would’ve celebrated his 50th birthday on May 21. To mark the occasion, the Empire State Building will change its lights’ color to red and white, with a crown spinning on its mast to honor the iconic star.

A special ceremony will also be held at the Empire State Building on May 20, when a host of friends and collaborators – including Lil Kim, Lil’ Cease and Voletta Wallace, the rapper’s mother – will gather to remember the rap legend and to celebrate his legacy.


In Brooklyn, the Barclays Center will remember Biggie’s life by featuring a video montage of his records on the display above the arena’s entrance.

What’s more, New York City’s public transportation agency is set to release a special edition MetroCard on May 21 that features the “Juicy” hitmaker.


The Notorious B.I.G. – whose real name was Christopher Wallace – rose to stardom alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs in the early ’90s.

Diddy previously admitted that “the money, the fame [and] the success” lost all meaning for him following the death of his good friend. “It made me appreciate life, and it made me want to … do things for the greater good,” he shared.

Diddy was with the rap star in Los Angeles when he was fatally shot, and he admits that the tragedy totally transformed his own outlook on life. “I wanted to make sure, like, that this dream meant something at the end of the day because, you know, this young man … lost his life throughout this journey,” he said.

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