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‘Biggie Smalls’ all but certain to get name on Clinton Hill street street after CB2 okays years-in-works tribute

Life after death: Community Board 2’s full board this week approved a proposal to co-name a stretch of St. James Place in Clinton Hill after Biggie Smalls, five years after the honor fizzled out amid some community opposition.
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All it took was One More Chance!

Late local hip-hop legend Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace is all but certain to get his name on a Clinton Hill street after the neighborhood’s community board okayed a years-in-the-works proposal to co-name the road after the rapper.

Community Board 2’s full board on Wednesday nearly unanimously approved the street co-naming a local artist first suggested back in 2013, overwhelmingly endorsing the suggested tribute that five years ago fizzled out due to some locals’ objections to what they called Wallace’s offensive rhymes, according to a panel member.

“We heard some objections that included denunciations of his lyrics having to do with profanity, misogyny, and violence,” said Juliet Cullen-Cheung, who heads CB2’s Transportation Committee, which green-lit the proposal last month.

Thirty-three board members voted in favor of christening St. James Place between Gates Avenue and Fulton Street — the block where Biggie grew up — as “Christopher Wallace Way,” with one member voting against it, and four abstaining.

Critics in 2013 panned the idea of honoring Wallace, who died in a fatal shooting at 24, claiming he was too fat to be memorialized, and last month again blasted the rapper known as the Notorious B.I.G. as undeserving of the recognition due to his songs that they called misogynistic and violent.

But this time around, the number of the idea’s opponents did not rival that of its proponents, a group that includes Clinton Hill Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, who said Wallace deserves the honor because his artistic contributions still influence local and popular culture decades after his death.

“He was a Brooklyn icon then, and remains one to this day,” Cumbo said in a letter supporting the co-naming proposal.

Following the full board’s approval, the application heads to Council, whose members will likely give it final approval next month, according to a rep for Cumbo.

And the street sign won’t be the only recent tribute to Wallace if approved — this month, hometown basketball squad the Brooklyn Nets debuted new uniforms inspired by the local legend, and last year, officials named basketball courts inside Clinton Hill’s Crispus Attucks Playground for the rapper.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 2:31 pm, November 16, 2018
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