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Walking in Brooklyn: A Tale of Biggie and Bed-Stuy


On the corner of Bedford and Quincy, in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, stands an epic homage to the King of New York himself, the Notorious B.I.G.


Biggie mural in Bed-Stuy

You can hear more Brooklyn stories with Gesso’s self-guided New York audio walking tours, which you can experience at your own pace.


His gaze forever commanding the intersection, this larger-than-life mural reflects Biggie's indelible impact on the music industry and his unyielding influence on the streets where he once reigned. Muralists Scott "Zimer" Zimmerman and Naoufal "Rocko" Alaoui captured his essence in 2015, mirroring an iconic 1997 Rap Pages magazine cover.


Born Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, Biggie Smalls, as he was also known, rose from Brooklyn's gritty streets to worldwide fame. His life was tragically cut short, but within those 24 years, he managed to resurrect the East Coast hip hop scene. His lyrics painted a raw, vulnerable portrait of street life.


Bed-Stuy, known for its deep-rooted African-American culture and influence, watched as their local hero rose from the corner of Bedford and Quincy to conquer global charts. As such, the mural serves not just as an acknowledgment of Biggie's monumental contribution to hip hop but also as a symbol of Bed-Stuy pride.


Yet, in 2017, the mural's survival hung in the balance. The building's owner, amid renovation plans, demanded a monthly rent to keep the mural standing. News of its potential destruction swiftly ignited a fervor among New Yorkers, leading to a city-wide outcry that even attracted the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Thanks to public pressure and dedicated discussions, the landlord relented, and the mural stood its ground, free of charge.


Now, the mural continues to dominate Bed-Stuy's visual and cultural landscape, a testament to the neighborhood's resilience and loyalty to its own. As Biggie once voiced in his song "Microphone Murderer," this corner served as his stomping ground, and now it stands as a lasting tribute to his legacy.


Many more Brooklyn stories and New York City tours await. Discover more local history with our New York audio walking tours, and see which nearby New York City neighborhoods you want to explore next!


 

Gesso was created for urban explorers who find joy in life's hidden gems. Find audio tours on the Gesso app, available via the App Store or Google Play, and share your New York City adventures with us @gesso.app on Instagram.

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