Biggie Smalls’ estate settles lawsuit over photos
(Credit: Alamy)


Biggie Smalls' estate settles lawsuit over photos

Biggie Smalls’ estate has finally settled a lawsuit concerning the use of iconic photos of the emcee. The photographs snapped by Chi Modu show Biggie r in front of the World Trade Centre twin towers, a mere five years before the September 11th attacks in 2001.

In 2019, Biggie’s estate filed a lawsuit claiming that the photographer, Chi Modu, was licensing the photos illegally for profit by having the images printed on items such as shower curtains and NFTs “in complete disregard for BIG’s rights.”

Although Modu passed away in 2021, two years ago, a judge ruled that photographs of the Brooklyn icon (real name Christopher Wallace) used in this way did likely violate the rapper’s likeness rights.

On January 18th of this year, the attorney representing Wallace’s estate, Staci Jennifer Trager, revealed an out-of-court settlement regarding the lawsuit has been reached and chose to release an official statement.

The statement reads, “Pictures of Christopher cannot be commercially exploited without a license from our client. The settlement agreement is a testament to the dedication of our client as well as our team members in staying the course over several years.”

In 2011, Modu did an interview with NME, during which he revealed that the inspiration for the photoshoot came from lyrics in Biggie’s 1994 song ‘Juicy;’ a classic from Wallace’s debut Ready To Die.

Opening up about the shoot, Modu explained, “When the idea came to me to represent Notorious B.I.G as the King of New York, I thought what better setting than to have two of the quintessential New York City buildings in the background. This image remains fresh and can help to further immortalise these icons in the hearts and minds of a generation.”

Last year, following the 2022 ruling in favour of Wallace, it was announced a collection of exclusive NFTs was to be released in partnership with the estate of the Notorious B.I.G.