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Hosted by Lil’ Kim and presented by Lexus and Pepsi, the event was in celebration of Biggie Smalls’ 50th birthday on Saturday. Although 25 years have passed since his tragic death, the rapper’s legacy has been kept alive through monumental occasions over the years.
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With a vibe similar to that of a warm family reunion, the evening started at around 8 p.m. with star-studded guests arriving on the red carpet, including Fat Joe, members of Junior M.A.F.I.A., T’yanna Wallace, Havoc, Sway, members of Smif-N-Wessun, Prayah, Ceaser Emanuel of Black Ink Crew, DJ Enuff, and many others.
B.I.G.’s son, CJ Wallace, stepped onto the carpet as he prepared for a “bittersweet” night ahead. For CJ, no matter how many years go by, he feels his father’s presence every day.
“I know he would be proud,” Wallace told Billboard. “He’s getting all his wishes up there, and everything that I’ve ever dreamed of has been obtainable for me. All of my aspirations are coming to fruition.”
“Nothing is going to be handed to me,” he added about the important lessons from his father he still carries. “I appreciate him for instilling that in me. Wanting to strive for certain things and wanting to be something that’s bigger than just ‘somebody’s son.’ It’s bigger than that for me and my sister as well.”
The carpet was later cleared for the woman of the hour, Lil’ Kim, who has always made sure to bring people together on this day, every year. However, doing so is not so easy on her heart.
“I have mixed emotions,” Kim said on the red carpet. “For me, it just never goes away. It never gets better. I’m just always missing Biggie, who I love with all my heart. It’s also a great day. It’s a celebration of his life. I’m super proud because God did something special when he put me and Biggie together.”
Later in the evening, guests checked in and made their way up a stunning, candlelit spiral staircase at Guastavino’s. At the top, attendees would first see an enormous “B.I.G.” ice sculpture, which led into a luxurious ballroom with a lively band already in full swing.
Media veteran Sway Calloway, host of Sway in the Morning, took the stage shortly after to share some of his core memories with B.I.G. Lil’ Kim closed the night out by bringing up numerous guests throughout her set, which included performances of Biggie’s most insatiable hits that kept every guest dancing all night long.