Biggie Smalls will get an Empire State Building Tribute for his 50th birthday

Perception is a strange thing. For example, it'll always rub me the wrong way that I'm somehow older than Biggie Smalls ever got a chance to be. Even though he only lived to be 24 years old, I still picture Biggie as more of an adult than I am. Another interesting shift in the perception around Biggie Smalls is his stature in music. While he was alive, Biggie was undoubtedly a cultural force, but the old guard in the music world still considered rap—especially its gangsta subgenre—a flash in the pan. Whereas today, almost everyone reveres Biggie as a New York City musical legend equivalent to Frank Sinatra.

To echo the aforementioned sentiment, New York City has announced a massive celebration for the Notorious B.I.G's 50th birthday. The celebration will include specialized metro cards that bear Biggie's image and a tribute to the Brooklyn-born MC on the Empire State Building.

To commemorate what would've been The Notorious B.I.G.'s 50th birthday, the late rap icon is posthumously reclaiming his place on the New York City throne with a host of tributes taking place across his hometown on Saturday (May 21).

On that special day, the iconic Empire State Building in Manhattan will light up in red and white in honor of the fallen Bad Boy MC, with an illuminated crown spinning around its mast serving as a reminder of his "King of New York" status.

Over in Biggie's native borough of Brooklyn, the Barclays Center will display a video montage of some of the rapper's classic songs on the massive oculus display above the arena's entrance.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will release a special edition MetroCard adorned with Biggie's image, which will be available at three subway stations near his old Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood (Lafayette Avenue, Clinton – Washington Ave. and Atlantic Ave. – Barclays Center).