A Brooklyn street is getting a new name June 10, honoring one of its most famous former residents. It was announced Tuesday that the Fulton Street intersection at St. James Place will soon be known as Christopher Wallace Way, to commemorate the life and legacy of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.
Starting at noon ET, the pubic is invited to attend the renaming event being held in the area near the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Those expected to attend the ceremony are his Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace; his two children, T’Yanna and Christopher Jr.; as well as close friends and other family members.
Leroy McCarthy, the man who championed the efforts to rename the street, received approval from the New York City Council with a vote of 48-0 in favor of the name change in December.
“Honoring Biggie symbolizes more than just one man,” McCarthy told Rolling Stone in November. “It symbolizes a culture. It symbolizes a borough. It symbolizes a people, and hip-hop is worldwide.”
Wallace was born in Brooklyn’s St. Mary’s Hospital in 1972, the only child of Voletta and Selwyn George Latore. He was raised solely by his mother, after his father abandoned the family when Wallace was 2 years old.
He was selling drugs by the age of 12, and by 19 he had his first stint in jail. After his release, he recorded a demo under the moniker Biggie Smalls. Even though he had no intention of seeking out a record deal at the time, Wallace went on to become one of the best-selling rappers of all time. Today would have been his 47th birthday.
Wallace’s unique voice and the unapologetic way he spit truth — both on and off the mic about his experiences on the street — continue to influence lyricists like Jay-Z, Eminem, the Game, and Lil Wayne. It’s also what motivates fans to keep his memory alive, whether through street dedications or murals of his image, all over the world. Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg proudly rocks the moniker Notorious R.B.G.
Wallace’s life was cut short when he was murdered on the streets of Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, but his words will live on forever.