Twenty-five years ago, Brooklyn’s celebrated native son, the rapper known as “The Notorious B.I.G.," topped the charts with his first album —and on Friday friends and family paused to mark the occasion with the unveiling of two new murals dedicated to the larger-than-life performer.
The artwork was unveiled around noon with artists Hoa Hong and Cinque Smith looking on, along with Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace.
“It’s beautiful," she said.
“It gives me the shivers just to know he’s not here to see all of this. It’s sad but it’s also kind of nice, nice to know that he’s remembered in such a very very beautiful way,” she added.
Her son, born Christopher Wallace, was fatally shot in a Los Angeles drive-by on March 9, 1997 — just three short years after his debut album catapulted him to musical prominence.
One of the murals, on 100 N. 10th St. in Biggie’s borough, was created by artist Cinque Smith and the other, at 176 Flushing Ave., was done by Hoa Hong.
Hong, 23, who lives in Seattle and teachers art to high-schoolers, said Biggie’s music played a huge role in her young life.
“I wasn’t even born when he passed away, but I grew up with a lot of hip hop influence and watching every single documentary about Biggie and Tupac," she said, a nod to Tupac Shakur, the one-time best friend of Biggie before they both got embroiled in a deadly rivalry between the East and West Coast hip hop scenes.
The mural, which took her two weeks to complete, was submitted with hundreds of other applicants as part of a competition hosted by Optimo cigars. Hong and Smith ultimately won the right to hang their works in Brooklyn as an homage to Biggie.
Voletta Wallace said she remembered her son talking to her about his upcoming “Ready to Die” album 25 years ago — and how eager he was for it to hit stores.
“I knew he was very excited about his music but he warned me not to listen to it because there was a lot of profanity,” she added.