Fans of Biggie will remember that the late but relentlessly beloved rap icon often remarked on his hardscrabble younger years in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where he grew up in an apartment with a single mother. Now, 41 years after Christopher Wallace was born, and 16 years after he was murdered, the Notorious BIG's childhood home is up for sale. But things, it would appear, "done changed" since Biggie lived there.
The apartment, renovated a few years ago, is a far cry from the cramped, bland place depicted in BIG's rags-to-riches anthem "Juicy," what with its three bedrooms and brightly lit den. Beyond that, the former Biggie residence is not located in Biggie's beloved Bed-Stuy, as one might have been led to believe from the rapper's frequent shoutouts ("Bedford-Stuyvesant the livest one!"). Instead, apartment 3L at 226 Saint James Place is in neighboring Clinton Hill, just down the street from the fancy private art college Pratt.
So, which is it? Have the vagaries of New York City neighborhood boundaries caused what was once Bed-Stuy to become Clinton Hill, in an effort to not scare off white home buyers? Or, was Biggie kind of lying all along when he said, "My Bed-Stuy flow's malicious, delicious"?
I asked Judith Lief, the woman selling BIG's childhood home and the person who stands to make a nice commission if the place sells for its $725,000 asking price, what her thoughts are on the matter; all she could offer was, "I really don't know the answer to that question." Perhaps you can pry more from her yourself at one of the apartment's open houses, starting tomorrow.