Dead Wrong: A Bed-Stuy Mural Of Biggie Smalls Is Coming Down For Mo’ Money
Today (May 19), Faith Evans releases her collection of duet remixes with late husband Biggie Smalls. The King & I features Lil’ Kim, as well as other figures from B.I.G.’s life including Snoop Dogg, The LOX, Lil’ Cease, and Busta Rhymes. While the LP is a celebration of the married couple’s affection for one other 20 years after the death of Christopher Wallace, some other news surrounding his legacy isn’t so sweet for his fans.
DNA Info reports that a towering paint mural in Biggie’s native Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York is coming down. The owner of a rental property near the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street does not see the value in the depiction of one of Brooklyn’s most famous representatives. Instead, he believes it’s actually costing him.
The property owner, Samuel Berkowitz, wants to enhance his rental properties by adding windows to the side of the building that now displays the mural. “Why should I keep it,” Berkowitz said in a DNA interview. “I don’t even see the point of the discussion. I could demolish the building if I wanted to, I don’t need no permission from anyone except the [Department of Buildings].” The property owner added that tenants have complained about attention the art has generated from fans. The piece is an homage to a mid-1990s photograph of Biggie taken by Barron Claiborne.
After receiving a $5,000 cash offer to keep the mural from arts group Spread Art NYC, Berkowitz declined. Instead, the landlord countered, seeking $1,250 per month. Spread Art has since admitted that they cannot meet that offer. Thus, the mural is coming down.
The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center value Biggie’s impact on Brooklyn differently. In March, the team and arena invited Voletta Wallace, Puff Daddy, and others to a ceremony keeping B.I.G.’s name in the BK rafters forever.
Similar Hip-Hop murals of Tupac Shakur, Big L, Big Pun, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (among others) have become landmarks for fans. Last year, a mural was commissioned by one Queens, New York business owner. The mural celebrated A Tribe Called Quest 25 years after the group filmed their “Check The Rhime” music video in the very same location.