Biggie Smalls mural in Brooklyn vandalized

NEW YORK — A mural in Brooklyn depicting hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls was vandalized overnight and the NYPD is trying to track down who’s responsible. 

Someone spray painted the words “East Coast” and threw dark-colored paint on the mural in Clinton Hill, where Biggie Smalls grew up, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported Friday. 

“I woke up to this,” said artist Vincent Ballentine, who spent two days creating the mural in 2019.

Surveillance video shows someone with a dog close to the mural. It’s hard to see what they’re doing, but the person appears to take out a phone and take a picture or video in selfie mode. 

“I think the neighborhood really saw it as he was one of ours, and he made it out and made something of himself. That’s the story that people hold on to,” said Ballentine.   

People passing by the vandalized mural on Friday were angry. 

“It’s disrespect. Why would they do that?” said Kim Damus. 

“That’s my boy. I used to roll with him back in the days. He’s good. He did a lot for the neighborhood too,” said Abraham Widdi. 

“Big Poppa” is just one hit by Biggie Smalls, one of the most well-know rappers, also known as Notorious B.I.G.

Biggie Smalls was born Christopher Wallace. He was killed in 1997 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

Wallace grew up in Brooklyn on St. James Place, steps away from where the mural was vandalized. 

“This is his stomping ground, everything. Biggie means a lot to the whole world, so for somebody to do this, it’s ridiculous,” said Johnny Famous, from Hush Hip Hop Tours. “I know there’s a million cameras out here. Somebody saw something.” 

“This is unfortunate. A lot of hard work went into putting the artwork up by the artist and also the business owners and the neighborhood really appreciated it. People come from all over the world to come take a picture in front of this mural,” said LeRoy McCarthy, a Clinton Hill resident. 

McCarthy said he helped get the street name changed to Christopher Wallace Way. 

“He’s a part of the fabric of Brooklyn. We celebrate hip-hop’s anniversary and we celebrate Biggie. Biggie is a main part of why New York and hip-hop is what it is today,” said McCarthy. 

The NYPD is investigating and people hope officers track down whoever is responsible. 

“All this could get fixed, but just to know there’s somebody out here that did that is just not right,” said Famous. “Whoever did it, the whole world knows cameras out here.” 

The mural is on the wall of a beauty salon. The owner wasn’t ready to speak on camera, but said she’s frustrated. 

Lance Rivera, Biggie Small’s friend and business partner, expressed concern that someone would take Biggie’s message of spreading love and turn it into hate. 

Ballentine said he plans to fix the mural. 

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