'Hip Hop Deserves That Respect' : Honoring The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan In The New York City Council voted last week to honor hip-hop greats the Notorious B.I.G. and Wu-Tang Clan with streets named after them. LeRoy McCarthy, who led the effort, says it's long overdue.
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'Hip-Hop Deserves That Respect': Honoring The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan In NYC

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'Hip-Hop Deserves That Respect': Honoring The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan In NYC

'Hip-Hop Deserves That Respect': Honoring The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan In NYC

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680283885/680385295" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, Noel, we're going to talk about what the Notorious B.I.G., the Wu-Tang Clan and Woody Guthrie all have in common.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Oh, they're all great musicians.

GREENE: They are. And there's actually more than that. The three are all set to get streets in New York City co-named in their honor.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUICY")

THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.: (Rapping) It was all a dream. I used to read Word Up! magazine.

KING: Yeah. New York City Council voted last week to approve street names honoring the folk singer and the two hip-hop greats, among some others.

LEROY MCCARTHY: Hip-hop received official governmental recognition from the powers that be, which is a long time overdue.

GREENE: That is LeRoy McCarthy, a New York resident who led the naming campaign for Biggie and Wu-Tang.

KING: Now, as long as the mayor signs off, the Wu-Tang Clan District will be in Staten Island, and Christopher Wallace Way, in honor of Biggie, will be in Brooklyn.

MCCARTHY: Brooklyn has changed over the years, but I'm from Brooklyn. Biggie's from Brooklyn. And just try to keep that Brooklyn moxie alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUICY")

THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.: (Rapping) Spread love - it's the Brooklyn way.

GREENE: McCarthy says that hip-hop historically has not received the same recognition as musical genres like classical music and jazz. He is hoping recognizing these artists in public space will change that and that the new street signs will inspire the city's young people.

MCCARTHY: Just because you're not the A-plus student or you're not a doctor or a lawyer doesn't mean that you can't feel proud of yourself and where you come from and see somebody who looks like you honored in a certain way by the city, as well.

KING: McCarthy has also suggested renaming a street in Manhattan after the Beastie Boys. And he's got plans for Oakland, Calif., where he hopes to honor Tupac Shakur. He doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. And that is because...

MCCARTHY: Hip-hop don't stop (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME")

2PAC: (Singing) Tellin' you to hear it. The rebel. Tellin' you to hear it. Holler if ya hear me. Tellin' you to hear it. The rebel. Tellin' you to hear it. Holler if ya hear me. (Rapping) Will I quit? Will I quit? They claim that I'm violent, but still I kick. Representin' - never give up on a good thing. Wouldn't stop it if we could. It's a hood thing. And now I'm like a major threat 'cause I remind you of the things you were meant to forget. Bring the noise to all my boys.

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