The man, the myth, the legend. The Notorious B.I.G. would’ve turned 50 this year, and we’re teaming up with Willingie, Gunpowder & Sky, and The Notorious B.I.G. Estate to kick the celebration into high gear with The Notorious B.I.G. Sky’s The Limit: A VR Concert Experience.
On December 16, fans of the world-renowned rapper can join him (in hyper-realistic avatar form) inside Meta Horizon Worlds* to celebrate his life and legacy within a virtual recreation of ’90s Brooklyn called The Brook. Together, they’ll follow a day in Biggie’s life through a narrative journey written and voiced by American writer and music journalist Touré.
The concert will feature performances of classics from Biggie’s catalog; guest performances by Sean “Diddy” Combs, The Lox, Latto, Nardo Wick, and Lil’ Cease; a special set from DJ Clark Kent; and more. Following the premiere in Worlds, fans can stream it on demand in VR with Meta Quest TV. If you don’t have a headset, you can catch the 2D version of the show on the official Notorious B.I.G. Facebook page.
The concert represents a capstone moment in a banner year for The Notorious B.I.G. The Estate, along with Rhino Records, Bad Boy, and Atlantic Records, celebrated what would have been Christopher Wallace’s 50th birthday with the release of his first new track in 17 years, “G.O.A.T.” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Bella Alubo, two orchestral tribute concerts at New York’s famed Lincoln Center conducted by Miguel Atwood Ferguson, the lighting of the Empire State Building in Biggie’s honor, and activations with Barclays Center in Biggie’s home borough of Brooklyn, as well as a 25th anniversary release of his 11x platinum-certified double album Life After Death. Biggie left a roadmap in his music, and this concert helps realize that vision.
We caught up with Touré to learn how he got involved with the project and get his perspective on VR.
How did your involvement in the Biggie VR concert come about?
Touré: I’ve worked with producer Alex Coletti on several projects over many years and I also interviewed Biggie several times, so Alex thought I could be helpful at bringing this to life. We wanted to create a concert that had other aspects to it, so it was on me to figure out a pre-concert scene and a post-concert scene. It was a lot of fun trying to imagine what Big would be like and what he might be doing if he were still with us today.
What was it like to work with the Biggie estate?
Touré: They were really enthusiastic about all of this, so that made things easy. I’ve also interviewed Big’s mother and sat in her kitchen, so she knows that I love her son and will take care of his legacy.
What are your thoughts on the Biggie avatar?
Touré: I think it looks really cool. It’s an amazing way to interact with him.
Was this your first time participating in the production of VR content? If so, what was the experience like?
Touré: Yes, it was. It took time for me to be able to understand what VR can do, like what the animators can create, so once I met with them, I had to rewrite the script a bit to reflect the capabilities of this VR world.
How do you see the intersection of music, culture, and VR evolving over the next five to 10 years?
Touré: It’s very exciting to be able to give people immersive experiences, so if VR can develop to the point where I can be at home but have the feeling of being in the front row of a concert and really feel like I’m there, that would be a really exciting opportunity.
Mark your calendars: The Notorious B.I.G. Sky’s the Limit will premiere in Worlds on December 16.
*Meta Horizon Worlds is currently available to people 18+ in the US, Canada, the UK, Iceland, Ireland, France, and Spain on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro.