I love it when you rename your streets after Big Poppa’…

In New York City, few words ring more true than “cash rules everything around me C-R-E-A-M get the money, dollar dollar bill, y’all”. And en route to the big city, many travelers can’t help but ask “Where Brooklyn at?” New York City has long been the melting pot of the American Dream and few New York success stories haven’t come via Brooklyn, which was officially put on the map by the Notorious BIG or Staten Island, known by the Wu Tang Clan as Shaolin. Each borough has now paid homage to their hip hop legends and a tour of New York City isn’t complete without a trip down Christopher Wallace Way.

Immortalized

Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious BIG immortalized Brooklyn during his reign as the king of rap. Though he was gunned down in Las Vegas before his time, he now has a New York street in his namesake, in his home borough. In Staten Island, the busy borough just down the Verrazzano, there’s now a Wu Tang Clan District. Yep, like Soho is to Manhattan, Wu Tang now is to Staten. In Coney Island, Woodie Guthrie Way has also been unveiled.

The move is an overdue sign of respect for the incredible arts which sprung up out of the streets of New York. The naming campaign was founded by LeRoy McCarthy, and by all indications it was an uphill battle. McCarthy told Gothamist “It took a long time and lots of hard work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but you know what? Hip hop don’t stop.”

It’s impossible not to listen to a Wu Tang Clan or Notorious BIG song without feeling the extreme sense of place from which they came. Some might say the words are “hypnotizing”, to the point where you could almost picture it. These acts were more than hip hop, rap or music, they are beloved cultural icons – and now they live forever, where they belong.