Rapper Notorious B.I.G (or Biggie Smalls) had an amazing musical career. It spanned less than three years before his death, led to the sale of over 17 million records, resulted in one of the very few hip-hop albums to be certified Diamond, and shaped a musical genre for years afterward.
We’ve put together a Notorious B.I.G.-themed tour of the legendary rapper’s home turf of Brooklyn, to mark the occasion. So start planning your next trip to NYC, hip-hop heads! Here are five spots in Brooklyn that every Biggie fan should visit:
His Childhood Home – 226 St. James Place
Biggie Smalls grew up in the Brooklyn’s Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood. “Bed-Stuy, the place where my head rests,” he rapped in “Machine Gun Funk”. Although, these days the building that houses the apartment where he lived with his mother – in unit 3L – is considered to be a part of the bordering Clinton Hill neighborhood, at the time it was deemed to be included in Bed-Stuy.
The area has changed dramatically since Biggie (through his own admission in his music and in interviews) began selling crack when he was 12 right around the corner on Fulton Street, so feel safe to walk around and explore the area with the other legions of fans (some in tour buses) who visit the area.
Country House Diner – 887 Fulton Street
If you’re hungry, you should make the six-minute walk west on Fulton to Country House Diner. The eatery has been neighborhood mainstay for over five decades and supposedly a favorite place for Biggie to grab a bite. In fact, the story goes that the late night dinner described in the hit song “Big Poppa”– “A T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape”– was his go-to meal there. Now, whether “Welch’s grape” means you should order soda, juice, or jelly when you recreate your “Big Poppa” feast is up for debate
Orient Temple – 197 St. James Place
Going just a few steps across the street from his home, you’ll see one of the first venues where Notorious B.I.G. performed: a Masonic temple that could be rented out for parties. The building’s current status is a bit unclear, but it’s worth swinging by and seeing if you can get in to see where a young Biggie first spit rhymes for a crowd.
George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School – 105 Tech Place
Getting to grips with high school isn’t easy for most artists, and so it was with Biggie as well. Getting an education wasn’t really a part of his game plan. “Cause G-E-D wasn’t B-I-G/I got P-A-I-D,” he rapped in “Everyday Struggle”. In fact, he dropped out of George Westinghouse when he was 17. So why make a point to visit the school? Because it was also where Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and DMX were students…at the same time.
Notorious B.I.G. Mural – Corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street
Brooklyn has become pretty well known for its street art in recent years and a lynchpin of that reputation is the borough’s penchant for giant outdoor paintings. So there’s no better way to finish up a Biggie Smalls expedition to Brooklyn than to take in a nearly 40-foot-high portrait of the late rapper that took two years to create.
Be sure to take a picture and a selfie or two in front as a memento of your journey (as well as to brag on Facebook).
Exiting Brooklyn at the end of your tour in homage of the great man, you can rest assured that you’re taking a slice of hip-hop history with you to treasure for a lifetime.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Are you an expert on Notorious B.I.G. and Brooklyn? Think we missed a spot to visit in our Biggie Brooklyn tour? Let us know in the comments section below![/perfectpullquote]