Movie Review: Notorious

14 01 2009

Over 12 years ago hip hop lost one of its greatest artists, the Notorious B.I.G. True, Biggie Smalls only had two albums in his discography and two posthumous releases; but the content and music made him a legend. One of Big’s strengths was his clear and smooth delivery, and ability to tell stories. Though the stories Big would spit were life experiences, his life prior to his Bad Boy signing still remained mysterious. Fox Searchlight Pictures drops Notorious; a biographical movie which reveals the history of B.I.G., his remarkable rap career, and his unfortunate death.

The movie opens perfectly with a young Biggie Smalls where viewers get a chance to see his early inspirations. His struggle for acceptance to his distant relationship with his Father built his foundation to his early teenage raps. Eventually he began to sell drugs and rap publicly making a name for himself. After doing time and having a daughter, Big decided to focus on making rap music as soon as he’s released. B.I.G.’s crew (which later became Junior Mafia), encouraged Frank White to pursue a rap career and once he linked up with Puff, the rest was history. Viewing B.I.G.’s back story shows his fate at becoming a rising star. He was determined to use his witty rap style to make the transition from the streets to the studio, and even had his childhood friend sacrifice five years of his life to help Biggie make it. Throughout all of the changes B.I.G. encountered before he signed, it built his character and gave the audience the chance to see him from a more personal perspective that we didn’t get to see while he was alive.
The question everyone had was, will Jamal Woolard aka Gravy be able to emulate Chris Wallace successfully. The portrayal of B.I.G. was on point and at times very convincing. From the charismatic personality to the rap style, Gravy did a great job at portraying the late rapper. On the other hand, there were some other portrayals that weren’t as well fit as Big’s and Puffs. Lil’ Cease was played by a young actor who appears to be a teenager. During the early stages of the movie you assume the character will age as it progresses, but at the end, he still appears to be an adolescent. There’s also Anthony Mackie who plays B.I.G.’s former friend turned for 2pac. As far as the look goes, Mackie resembled Pac but Pac has a distinctive persona that is challenging to embody. One role that caught me off guard was former 3LW member Naturi Naughton (featured above) as Lil’ Kim. After Lil’ Kim dedicated spread in KING Magazine, I thought she didn’t resemble her. In the film she reenacts Kim and Big’s relationship and stage presence causing me to regret my doubts.
When Notorious comes to an end, it seems a bit rushed. However, it goes a little deeper into 2pac and Biggie’s feud and the negative effect the media had on it. The film leaves an excellent lasting impression and raised my respect level even higher for the late MC. For aspiring music artists like me, you will find the story inspiring seeing that anything is possible. Like Big said on “Sky’s The Limit” he went from ashy to classy, and this film captures it all. There wasn’t a dull moment in this film and it brought Chris Wallace’s music to life. Whether you’re a Biggie fan or not, you will find this film enjoyable.



7 responses

14 01 2009


14 01 2009
L The Hustla

Ur welcome. U didn’t goto the screening? I remember u posting somethin on it.

14 01 2009

ha, right! u would think.

well tha person i was suppose to connect my way to get in, didnt get back. I WAS MADD, and then i heard urb was givin rsvps away, it was all booked.

oh well ill c it friday.

where was it?

15 01 2009
L The Hustla

Thats all bad. I saw it at the AMC in Century City thru Myspace. But go check it out this wknd, it’s worth it.

15 01 2009

Omg, everyone is using that phrase now Lmaooo

thats ALL BAD!

SECONDLY im hellafruitypepplesrock mad, cuz that was my connect!!

erggghhh, who u speak to?

cuz i got a email to reply cuz i won rite, i reply and confirm my age and no nada nuthin BACK. aint this a bout a bitch. hahaha

and to top it off i live on Santa monica blvd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sorri had a lil rant.

15 01 2009
L The Hustla

I dont remember who I spoke to but the chick called me up confirming. They didnt holla at me for a couple of dayz so I followed up with them via email. Thats wack that they did u like that tho.

15 01 2009

thats allbad

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