[THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.] BARRON CLAIBORNE | The crown worn by Biggie when photographed as the King of New York, 1997.
[THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.]; BARRON CLAIBORNE
[BIGGIE'S CROWN]. THE FAMOUS CROWN WORN BY THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. FOR THE ICONIC "K.O.N.Y" [KING OF NEW YORK] PORTRAIT SESSION, SHOT BY PHOTOGRAPHER BARRON CLAIBORNE ON MARCH 6, 1997, IN HIS NEW YORK STUDIO.
Plastic crown, adorned with multi-colored plastic gemstones; SIGNED BY BIGGIE SMALLS, AND SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY CLAIBORNE "Crown from Biggie KONY Shot. 3-6-97." Remnants of interior foam cushioning, one point broken off, some general light wear and abrasions.
OFFERED TOGETHER WITH:
(1) Barron Claiborne, Notorious B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) 36 x 40 in chromogenic print, number one of an edition of one, signed verso, (2) Barron Claiborne, K.O.N.Y. shots contact sheet, 36 x 40 in chromogenic print, number one of an edition of one, signed verso (3) Barron Claiborne, Notorious B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) Tunz-O-Gunz, 10th anniversary print, 36 x 40 in chromogenic print, number one of an edition of one, signed verso.
ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC ARTIFACTS IN THE HISTORY OF HIP HOP, WORN BY ONE OF THE GREATEST HIP HOP STARS OF ALL TIME, FOR ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS HIP HOP PORTRAITS EVER TAKEN.
The story of how the portrait came about is famous; Claiborne was hired by Rap Pages to shoot Biggie for the cover, and his concept was to portray him as the King of New York on his throne.
Barron brought two crowns of two different sizes to the shoot; one was far too small to be used, and in order to get the now-legendary crown to fit, the interior foam cushioning had to be removed. Sean "Diddy" Combs [aka Puffy], the owner of Bad Boy Entertainment (Biggie's label) had accompanied Biggie on the shoot, and was reportedly unhappy with the concept, as he worried it made Biggie look like "the Burger King". Thankfully, Biggie was game to give it a try; the result is one of most stunning and iconic portraits, and sadly, the last, to be taken of the superstar, who would be killed just three days later in Los Angeles.
A self-taught photographer and cinematographer, Barron Claiborne received his first camera at the age 9 from his mother, Betty Lou, and has dedicated much of his craft to the creation of images that represent the dreams, stories, and oral traditions of his Southern American and African Ancestry. After moving to New York City in 1989 from his hometown of Boston, Claiborne began assisting photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Saint Claire Born; since then has been highly prolific in the field of photography and its many arenas including commercial, documentary, and fashion. Claiborne’s photographs have been internationally recognized, and his work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Interview, among others. Claiborne’s photographs are in permanent collections around the world including the Polaroid Museum Cambridge, the Brooklyn Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and MoCADA.
Exhibited: Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, at the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles (April-August 2019), and the International Center for Photography, New York (Jan-May 2020), an exhibition produced and originated at the Annenberg Space for Photography, and created by Vikki Tobak and Creative Director Fab 5 Freddy, based on the book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, by Vikki Tobak.
Courtesy Barron Claiborne