Legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu is suing the estate of Biggie Smalls following a court dispute that resulted in the estate calling him a “parasite."

Biggie, Chi Modu, LawsuitAl Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


In 2018, Modu says the estate wanted to use a 1996 picture he took of the Biggie posing in front of the Twin Towers, in New York City. Modu wanted $100,000 a year for the estate to license various pictures he took of Biggie. 

“I basically asked for a living wage for my work,” Modu told The New York Post. “Up until then, they were paying much, much less, so you see what’s going on."

“The person who presses that shutter is the owner” of the picture, Modu said. “As copyright holder, I’m the person with the first right to exploit it. This is a fight for the artist, because artists aren’t earning a living wage.”

Notorious B.I.G. LLC sued Modu in California. The estate claims Modu used images of Biggie to sell snowboards without permission. Modu says less than two-dozen were sold.

Modu has taken iconic photos of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dog, Q-Tip, Ice Cube and others throughout his career. You can check out a full gallery of his hip hop pictures on his website.