We know that The Notorious B.I.G. has a prominent space in the hearts of hip-hop fans. Now, he has a prominent space in his hometown. A new statute of the “Warning” rapper stands at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a passion project for artist Sherwin Banfield.
After his cousin told him about an open call for artists to replace a statue in downtown Brooklyn, Banfield, who was already working on a plan for a Biggie sculpture, polished up the proposal and sent it to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Dumbo Improvement District, who work to bring cultural elements to public spaces. Banfield was previously commissioned by the city to do works in Van Cortlandt Park and Riverside Park.
“I’m a traditionally trained figurative sculptor and wanted to take something classic then remix or sample it with something new and fresh,” Banfield told ArtNet News.
The sculpture, named Sky’s the Limit in the County of Kings achieves that goal by enclosing solar-powered speakers in the nine-foot stainless steel statue. The playlist was curated by DJ Mister Cee, the longtime New York City radio deejay who was among the first to recognize Biggie’s talent.
Biggie wears a golden crown akin to the one he was photographed in days before he was killed. One of his hands holds a scepter/mic and in the other, he’s holding a heart.
“The location had a profound impact on the work,” Banfield said. “It’s on a hill, and I wanted viewers to ascend towards a regal monument and be welcomed with open arms and two essential human qualities: the voice through a microphone and love via a heart.”
The sculpture will be on display until the spring of next year.
Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace was a Brooklyn native who was killed in Los Angeles in 1997 at age 24 after a Soul Train Music Awards afterparty at Peterson Automotive Museum. His two albums, 1994’s Ready to Die and 1997’s Life After Death are considered classics of the hip-hop genre. This year, Biggie would have turned 50.