Biggie's the word this weekend. Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace but more commonly known as Big Poppa), whose big screen biopic, the George Tillman Jr. directed Notorious arrived in theaters nationwide on Friday to across-the-board deserved good reviews. Biggie Smalls, who has been named the greatest rapper of all time by many, including The Source magazine, has never been my personal favorite emcee (I like him, sure, but always felt he was way overrated and that there are many far better skilled lyricists out there), but I still really enjoyed this film and give it a 3 out of 5 rating. I like most movies dealing with hip-hop, especially a well filmed and acted one like this, even if it doesn't delve as deep in some areas as I would have liked it to have gone.
In a nutshell Notorious is the tale of a drug dealer from the rough and tumble, do-or-die, Bed-Stuy district of Brooklyn, a man of girth with a wandering eye for the ladies but ever respectful of his moms. This man rises to fame (thanks to a shrewd fella named Puffy) and become a world renowned hip-hop recording artist, all the while rapping in his unique flow about the street life that he just left behind. Within his way-too-short life, during which he only got to see the release of one of his albums, he famously got into a beef with the West Coast artist/one-time friend Tupac Shakur (played by Anthony Mackie) that spiraled out of proportion to become the center of the (media fueled) East vs West coast rap feud. And in March, 1997 at the young age of 24, Biggie was tragically shot and killed in LA while leaving a party, his unsolved murder coming exactly six months after 2Pac's murder in Las Vegas.