The Notorious B.I.G. continues to inspire art in Brooklyn

Even 27 years after Notorious B.I.G. was killed, the rapper continues to be a larger-than-life figure in Brooklyn.

Greg Thompson

May 21, 2024, 9:50 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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Tuesday would have marked the 52nd birthday of Bed-Stuy native Christopher Wallace, or as most people know him, The Notorious B.I.G.
Even 27 years after he was killed, the rapper continues to be a larger-than-life figure in Brooklyn.
Local artists like Mastro excitedly told News 12 "Biggie Smalls is the illest, he's timeless!" and Bushwick's Danny Cortes explains that "to this day, you could drop a Biggie single and it's going to be No. 1. He was always ahead of his time."
This is why murals of Biggie continue to pop up around the borough he called home, including a new one earlier this month near the corner of Wycoff and Troutman in Bushwick.
"He represents what Brooklyn is, says Joe Ficalora, who founded The Buswhick Collective. "we're honored to still say Biggie."
Local artist Huetek agrees, explaining he inspires so much art because "he's a part of the culture - born and raised Brooklyn, and it's important for us to keep that going - keep that alive."
Not everyone shares that pride. Back in 2018, a different mural of Biggie, right across the same intersection as the newest one, was painted over by an advertisement.
A third mural, located just a block away, is being knocked down. Locals say that the mural, which has been there since 2012, will make way for a new nightclub.
"It breaks my heart," says Cortes. "You pass by every day and it's community."
Huetek also feels the community is losing something, saying with the removal of the Biggie murals, "the culture starts to disappear. Peoples' work, amazing work that they spent their lives doing starts to disappear just for these buildings to come in and knock them out, it's trash, it sucks."
The artists also say that even if the murals are not all still physically there, it does not necessarily mean that they're gone, since art can still live on through anyone who was able to experience it.
"Everybody has their own individual history behind it, some people have met in front of it, some people have their own memories behind it, and it's amazing how a mural can go so far on its own in terms of creating memories, and for them to carry it with them," says Ficalora about the murals.
News 12 reached out to the owners of the building where the construction is threatening the mural and has not heard back yet.


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