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Friends and family of the late rap legend honored his memory Friday, ahead of what would have been his 50th birthday, at the 2nd Annual B.I.G. Dinner Gala at Guastavino’s in New York City.
The event was hosted by Lil’ Kim, who told PEOPLE she thinks her Junior M.A.F.I.A. collaborator would still be “funny, fun, handsome, fly crazy” at age 50.
“It’s always important to honor the king. He’s the king. The king lives on,” Kim, 47, added. “He’s just an amazing person, amazing artist … his legacy. It’s just great. Like, I mean, look at the catalog. Look at everything that he’s accomplished, even at such a young age.”
Biggie’s son C.J. Wallace, who was also among those in attendance, said that “it speaks volumes” to see all the people who turned out to keep his father’s legacy alive.
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“You know how deep the legacy lives on and you know how important it is to the family at the end of the day,” he said. “He has more than just his bloodline, he has a real distinct family of people that go beyond the grave.”
“He was more than just a rapper more than an artist. He was an educator, he was a poet, obviously a writer. He was a prophet. He was here to do more than just make some songs or record a couple of albums, which is at the end of the day, that’s what he did. And he did way more than that in his spare time,” Wallace, 25, added.
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The Notorious B.I.G. died in a Los Angeles drive-by shooting at age 24 in 1997, when C.J. was just 5 months old.
Wallace, who played his father as a child in the 2009 biopic Notorious, honors his late father with his Think BIG initiative, which supports organizations that “advocate for social and criminal justice reform, including the fights against mass incarceration and climate change.”