The New York City Council has voted to honor three music legends in their home borough with streets named in them: the Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), the Wu-Tang Clan and Woody Guthrie.
Culture advocate LeRoy McCarthy spearheaded the street co-naming efforts and told Gothamist : “I’m happy that NYC officials are finally giving the city’s indigenous ‘Hip Hop ‘ music the respect and recognition that it deserves. It took a long time and lots of hard-work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but ya know what, Hip Hop Don’t Stop.”
The newly named Wu-Tang Clan District is located at the southeast of Vanderbilt Avenue and Targee Street in Staten Island, the report states.
The Brooklyn block where Biggie Smalls grew up – located on St. James Place between Fulton Street and Gates Avenue – will be renamed Christopher Wallace Way.
“This is where Biggie grew up down the street on 226 St. James Place,” said McCarthy. “He’s a Brooklyn through and through type a guy his family loves Brooklyn it’s good to honor him here.”
Additionally, Woody Guthrie Way is located at Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue between West 35th and West 36th, where the folk legend lived in the early ‘40s.
As noted by Rolling Stone , although the city council voted 68-0 to approve the street name changes, Mayor Bill de Blasio still has to sign off on the measures, which is expected to happen next year.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has spent nearly five years pushing for streets named in honor of both Biggie and the Wu-Tang Clan.
“New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop but I don’t think New York City really honors the art form like they should this is happening now and I’m glad to be part of it,” said McCarthy. “It’s good to honor Biggie Smalls and the Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang is a very special group they are a very special organization in hip-hop royalty.”
He added: “I’ve been to New Orleans, I see how they honor jazz there. I been to Nashville, see how they honor country music there so New York City hip-hop is the indigenous art form of New York City so it’s great that they’re now honoring hip-hop.”
McCarthy noted that “Biggie is an iconic figure, his rap style and his bravado is something that encapsulates Brooklyn. The world looks at Brooklyn and they think of Biggie Smalls.”
His next push will be to get street named in Manhattan for the Beastie Boys and in the Bronx for Big Pun.
Back in 2013, Brooklyn’s Palmetto Park was renamed Adam Yauch Park in honor of the late Beastie Boys rapper.