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2Pac and Biggie

The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “King of New York” crown and some love letters written by 2Pac are going under the hammer next month.

The iconic pieces of music history are just two of 120 items that will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s celebrating the impact of hip-hop.

The crown up for auction was worn by Biggie during his last recorded photoshoot just three days before he was shot dead on March 9, 1997.

Spawning the “King of New York” picture, as it came to be known, it’s featured on magazine covers, mixtapes, T-shirts, murals and even in Cottonmouth’s headquarters in Netflix‘s Marvel series Luke Cage.

The rapper and the photographer Barron Claiborne signed the crown at the time, and Claiborne has kept it in his possession ever since.

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It was all a dream… Today we announced that on 15 September in #NYC we will present a live auction celebrating the history and cultural impact of Hip Hop, headlined by one of the most iconic symbols of Hip Hop’s heyday: the crown 👑 worn and signed by Notorious B.I.G. from @barronclaiborne’s iconic 1997 ‘King of New York’ photoshoot for Rap Pages Magazine. The photograph is one of the most recognizable images in Hip Hop culture and it has endured as the defining portrait of the artist more than 20 years since it was taken. The first-ever dedicated Hip Hop auction to be presented at a major international auction house, the sale reflects on the impact Hip Hop has had on art and culture from the late 1970s through the “Golden Age” of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and up to the present. Featuring over 120 lots, the auction is comprised of unique artifacts, contemporary art, one of a kind experiences, photography, vintage and modern fashion, historic and newly designed jewelry and luxury items, rare ephemera including flyers and posters, important publications, and more with a majority of items consigned directly by artists or their estates. A portion of Sotheby's proceeds from the sale will benefit the Hip Hop programs at the @qplnyc, as well as @buildingbeats, a non-profit community organization that teaches tech, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to underserved youth through DJ and music programs. #hiphop #hiphopmusic #notoriousbig #biggiesmalls #barronclaiborne

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“I’m very excited to share this iconic piece of hip-hop history with the public,” he said. “The image transformed Biggie Smalls into an aristocratic or saint like figure, forever immortalised as not only the King of New York, but a king of hip-hop music and one of the greatest artists of all time.”

Sotheby’s expects the crown will fetch in the region of $200,000 to $300,000 (£150,500 to £225,900).

Another listing features 22 love letters written by a 16-year-old 2Pac. They were sent to Kathy Loy during their time as a couple at the Baltimore School for the Arts in the late 1980s.

The notes cover the pair’s first meeting right up to their eventual break-up, and a letter of regret sent a year later.

The letters also reference the former Death Row rapper’s close friendship with fellow student and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith. “Jada told me she can see how much I love you,” one of the letters read.

Some of 2Pac’s love notes. CREDIT: Sothebys

One note sees 2Pac consider giving up rap before making it big. “My old manager came over and said she doesn’t want me to retire from rap but I think I am because I can’t handle too much rejection and I don’t have the time,” he wrote.

The letters are estimated to be worth $60,000 to $80,000 (£45,000 to £60,100).

2Pac died in September 1996 after succumbing to multiple gunshots following a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He was 25-years-old.

The live auction, put together by former Tommy Boy Records president Monica Lynch, will take place on September 15 in New York. You can find more information here.

Earlier this month it was revealed that 2Pac had a pen pal from Barnsley who once sent the rapper a copy of Oasis‘ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’.

Nina Bhadreshwar, a former writer for the Barnsley Chronicle, has shared details of her relationship with the late rapper, which started after she was advised to interview him by Naughty By Nature rapper Treach during a trip to New York.

Meanwhile, a preview of an upcoming documentary about producer Johnny J, best known for working with late rapper 2Pac, has been released.

The post Notorious B.I.G. “King of New York” crown and 2Pac love letters up for auction appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.


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