You can’t talk Biggie without telling a story. This hip hop shit just became too real.
How the hell did we get here? The year is 1997. It’s been six months since the passing of one of the most complicated, and notorious rappers in the world was shot and killed in Las Vegas. We were in the middle of this East vs West war. Something that took a shocking turn that September night when Christopher Wallace lost his former friend and mentor turned foe.
Surely we could not go through this kind of tragedy again. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The Notorious B.I.G. had jus finished his sophomore album, Life After Death. It was a project he was excited about, ready to show the lighter side of his personality and to create hits.
And just like that, it was all taken away.
On March 9, 1997, the hip hop world was shocked once again after Biggie was shot and killed, in almost the exact same way his former rival was only months before. Just like that we lost the genre’s two biggest artists to senseless violence.
Because he is on television we tend to forget that he was not only this bigger than life rapper. To many he was a friend. A brother. A son.
His body was flown back to New York where friends and family could pay their last respects. It was at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan where hip hop’s biggest artists showed up. Jay Z, Da Brat, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Foxy Brown, Run DMC, and others.
Faith Evans drew tears with a powerful rendition of “Walk With Me, Lord.” Diddy shared with the crowd the Biggie he had known and was becoming. His mother Voletta Wallace reading important scriptures.
Biggie was Brooklyn. He lived and breathed the city that raised him, and helped him become the man he was at the time. So it was only right he rode through the streets one last time.
As friend, family, and hip hop royalty entered exited the ceremony with tears in their eyes. Biggie’s body was getting ready for his last ride. The body was put in a hearse and left Madison Avenue and 81st Street on the Upper East Side. The car’s were led by police escort. Something that only stood for some of the most important people in the world and law enforcement.
Fans have been filling the streets of Brooklyn since 10 a.m. that morning. Still shocked, but ready to show love one last time. It as cold that day. About 36 degrees, and windy. Clouds decided to block the sun, an omen of the sad day it was. It didn’t stop anyone from coming out.
It was 2 p.m. The motorcade crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and made it to Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.
Then it made one last turn onto Fulton Street. It was the block where he grew up. 226 St. James Pl., Apartment #3L. Around the block is where he used to pack groceries. The block is different now. Gentrification has taken over. Met Food is now Key Foods. Rents have gone up, new restaurants is open. It’s definitely not the Brooklyn Biggie grew up in.
The anger of the crowd and sadness turned into one great thing once again. The streets were flooded with people looking to get one last goodbye to their hero. Police were overwhelmed. At some point, as the hearse slowly passed through that sadness turned into happiness once again as his music blared and the streets of Brooklyn heard his voice one last time as his body visited the old hood once again. Maybe it was a sign. A sign that his music will live on…forever.