How Gentrification Has Destroyed Biggie’s Brooklyn
This is a wonderful tribute to Biggie, but it understates how much Brooklyn has changed since Biggie died! Bottom line, gentrification is remaking Biggie's old haunts, and JZ's old haunts, so that they are unrecognizable. Have you been to the Marcy Projects recently? It is surrounded by new housing developments put up by Williamsburg Hasidim, and more recently, by luxury housing aimed at yuppies priced out of Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. No great MC is going to come out of Marcy. We will be lucky, once the budget cuts come to public housing from Congressional Republicans, if most of Marcy's current residents aren't evicted
Everything you say in the piece about the continuing influence of Biggie's music is on point, but the Brooklyn that produced Biggie may be gone forever. All of North Brooklyn from Park Slope, to Red Hook, to Gowanus and Cobble Hill, to Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, to Bed Stuy and Bushwick, to Williamsburg and Greenpoint, have been transformed so that people who lived there 20 years ago wouldn't recognize them. And those people are being forced out, almost daily by rising rents. Black working class Brooklyn has been scattered and pushed South. You find it now, in dense concentrations only in Flatbush, Canarsie and East New York Public housing is also under assault. As section 8 subsidies are eliminated and funding for services are cut, the city will increasing plan to convert projects to market level housing
As for the music, your tributes to Biggies significance lyrically and musically, sent chills through me. But can you imagine a celebration for a deceased Brooklyn rapper. Brooklyn rapper taking place on Fulton Street today? Have you been to Fulton Street lately. One boutique and cute cafe after another.
And Sara J Hale HS where Biggie used to hang out- and Lil Kim and Big Dady Kane attended-(fondly called Sara Jail back in the day) has been divided into a whole bunch of mini schools some of which serve the fast growing population of yuppies in Gowanus and Cobble Hill.!
Look, no one will mourn the passing of the crack epidemic and the murders that accompanied it. But today's New York is the most unequal city on the planet and its young people of color have been scattered and divided and hyper policed to the point that they have virtually no voice in the public domain. Damn, Brooklyn doesn't even produce good basketball players any more, how can it produce great rappers
A little more rage, my brother, a little more rage. We've lost something precious and we have to COME HARD to get it back