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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Notorious (review)

A Thug’s Life

No! Biggie Smalls’ mother produced this movie? And her own grandson — the real Biggie Smalls’ own son — stars as the little Biggie? And Sean “Puffy” Combs, Biggie’s pal and onetime producer, the friend and fellow rapper whom Smalls is not suspected in the death of (that would be Tupac Shakur), helped produce it too? Really?

No wonder Notorious gives new depth of meaning to the word hagiography.
Now, now, Biggie — aka Notorious B.I.G., the latter for his precocious rotundness, the former as a way of making himself sound even more dangerous than he was; real name: Christopher Wallace (played by Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard) — was no saint, as such, just a regular kid trying to find his way on the tough streets of Brooklyn in the early ’90s. “In the beginning, God gave me a clean slate,” Biggie himself narrates for us from beyond the grave, but he fell from grace, see. He was a good student but had to become a drug dealer at age 12 to survive. Well, not actually to survive, but to be cool. Punk-ass teachers and garbagemen make bullshit $25,000 a year, but a kid too young to shave can walk around town with a fat wad of cash in his pocket and expensive bling around his neck. Dealing crack to pregnant women was just part of the job, something a guy had to do to get ahead… until a guy discovers a knack for encapsulating this violent, misogynistic world of his in spoken-word “songs” that speak to the violent misogynists who are his contemporaries.

“Drug dealing was like my wife,” Biggie tells us cheerfully. “Rap was just some chick on the side.” And there it is, Biggie’s ideas about what woman are good for — fathering a baby while still technically in high school, breaking up with the girl, and ignoring the child is only the beginning of it. It’s kinda funny, I guess, how we’re used to the typical rock ’n’ roll biopic being about the guy’s slide from decent person to womanizing drug-soaked jerk, but Biggie starts out that way. (If he was much of a user, we don’t see that — he’s “merely” a dealer.) He’s so wildly uncharming and unappealing that it’s hard to imagine what any female saw in him even after he got rich and famous, never mind before, but clearly, reality says this was the case. Still, the movie might have made one or two nods toward explaining Biggie’s appeal, for women or for music fans, instead of assuming it was a given. It isn’t.

And there’s surprisingly little reflection on Biggie’s part, though the movie imagines him speaking from a position where he should have hindsight, as if he hadn’t learned much at all from his “Live by the sword, die by the sword” lifestyle. I might have expected some hint of irony about how Biggie got off the streets by selling the streets right back to the streets, except he never really gets off the streets at all. He’s carrying a gun into a recording studio, for pete’s sake.

But Tupac? Tupac (Anthony Mackie: Eagle Eye, We Are Marshall) was just confused about stuff when he blamed Biggie and Puff for his first shooting, the one before the one that killed him. Biggie and Puff had nothing to do with it. They swear.

As you’re probably aware, if you’re under 40 and pay the slightest bit of attention to pop culture even if you’re not a fan of rap, Biggie was gunned down in 1997 at the age of 24 on the streets of Los Angeles, part of the bizarre East Coast/West Coast rapper “war” that involved actual exchange of gunfire. But instead of striving for any understanding of why American black pop culture seemed inevitably destined for such tragedy, or exploring how men such as Wallace and Shakur came to be such victims of their own excesses in the first place, filmmaker George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor) moves instead to place a halo on the head of Wallace, whom, we are told, would surely have metamorphosed into a kinder, gentler person if only given half a chance. Indeed, if Wallace was not merely a vicious thug who got lucky enough to make a fortune, there’s precious little evidence of it here beyond wishful thinking.

A far too premature biopic that is way too close to its subject matter for any hint of objectivity, and is far too forgiving? What can you expect from the dude’s mother?


MPAA: rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • Real

    Your review sucks and it’s bias, since you don’t like hip hop.

  • Dan

    posted by Real (Fri Jan 16 09, 10:50AM)

    Your review sucks and it’s bias, since you don’t like hip hop.

    Totally agree, because, you know, only people who like Hip Hop are allowed to review Hip Hop movies.

    Nothing against B.I.G. as a rapper, I think he’s one of the best inside his own genre, but it seems a little too much like Tupac Ressurection, which was also produced by the rapper’s own mother. It’s such an odd coincidence, I can’t take this movie too seriously.

  • Katrina

    Good review. I like the sarcasm in the beginning. Good stuff. I’m watching it tonight, but not by choice. Don’t get me wrong, I like Biggie. I think he’s the best east coast rapper ever, especially in the 90’s, but I have yet to see a hip-hop movie that is worth watching on the big screen. Is hip-hop really just about drug dealing, money, and women?

  • Chris

    Havent seen it yet so I cant say if Mary Ann is right on this but I do get the impression that she doesnt really care for rap and probably doesnt understand where the character is coming from and didnt really say if Jamal’s performance manages to recreate Biggie on stage for two hours.

    Katrina, hip-hop is not just about drug dealing, money and women it’s simply a version of poetry, it’s just so hard not to talk about drugs when you come from the projects where having a women equals money and the only way known to get money is to deal drugs. Sometimes its comical, others confrontational and every now and then it’s inspirational.

  • Jim

    I’m over 40 and I’m very familiar with the story of Biggie Smalls murder. I’m curious if the movie shows Biggie paying to have 2Pac murdered, and even giving the killers his own gun — they had to kill him with that gun. At least that’s one of the stories.

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s ironic to “whitewash” the story of a black gangster?

    Truth is always more interesting than fiction. Showing the impact of Biggie’s drug dealing would have been a real statement, something this movie is clearly attempting to avoid as it attempts to rewrite history.

  • Chris-E

    MaryAnn, love the review.

    To everyone else, cut the shit! Don’t give me this “hip hop is poetry” bullshit. Most of these guys are criminals and are shitty human beings. They have no remorse for what they did and continue to do. Once they had the money and the fame they could have gotten away from the streets, but they embraced it because they were criminals.

    The fact that rappers can put a few words that rhyme together doesn’t make them “artists”. It just shows that they learned some basic English in 3nd grade before they dropped out of school and began selling drugs. And don’t use the hood as an excuse for their “behavior” (or “experiences” as rappers like to say).

    He wasn’t even a good rapper!!! He always sounded like he had doughnuts in his mouth and was gasping for air!

    Am I supposed to feel sorry that he got capped? He was a fuckin’ criminal! It’s not like he got rich and gave money to hospitals or some inner city projects to keep other kids from being criminals. He did nothing endearing and he did nothing for anyone but himself. He spent the money on champagne, gold chains and bitches!

    West side! Peace out.

  • Chilla

    Honestly, i haven’t seen the movie..but as an aspiring rapper myself, i have to comment on what i just read. It’s very obvious that the writer of this review doesn’t understand the impact of Biggies’ life, death, and film biography. This movie was neccessary for hip-hop, and if you cant understand that, then you don’t understand hip-hop, and this movie wasnt’ intended for you. This story was made as a testament to the man that is considered the elite of a culture that is struggling with identity at this moment. What effect would it have on the current generation of hip-hop, if Biggie was portrayed as anything less than the “god” he was to his fans. Biggie was a victim of circumstance, and made a rise to money, power, and respect with nothing but what he was born with. This film was made to leave his legacy for his family and fans that truly understand the fullness of his strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of how great or terrible this depiction is, it will serve its purpose for those who understand and appreciate what it represents. If you disagree, then you simply dont understand. Why would a movie made to celebrate someones life, be used as a tool to condemn him for his mistakes after he already paid the ultimate cost…It’s a movie made in the honor of The Notrious B.I.G, what honor would lie in chastising him post-mortem, after the lesson is already obvious. Just celebrate the films intentions and inevitable success…if you cant, then dont ruin the movie for those who can.

  • Chris

    Hip Hop is poetry, built out of the evolution of RB by Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album and put first into action by Grand Master Funk. Since then Biggie, Pac, Talib Kawelli, Kanye, Common, Mos Def, Black Star, Outkast and countless others have pushed the meaning and the genre further than ever before telling the truth of inner city living of those less fortunete, telling the beauty and darkside of love, being grateful for the blessings they were given, and trying to inspire those that are in there same situation the artist once found themselves to push themselves harder than the artist did and not look for an easy way out. The fact that a rapper can put a few words together gives them a chance that most people are not privelged too have but the few that use those skills for good and not a quick buck have used it in hopes that they can change the areas they grew up in and prevent a future generation from inheriting the same pain and troubles. Just beacuse they dont have a mop top or live on Walden pond doesnt make them any less of an artist. An artist writes about what they know, and what do you write about when all you know know is ho’s, drugs, guns and money.

    Pull your head out of your ass Chris-E and learn that just because you didnt experience a certain style of living doesnt mean it doesnt exist and it certainlly doesnt mean you would have made different choices if you were put in the exact same situations as some of hip-hop’s legends. None of them sounde proud of what they did, but they all agree that most just wanted to get by and were blessed with an ability that so few posses.

  • shoop

    If this were 1955, this review would be an editorial about those damn kids and their rock and roll “music” (backed up by letters to the editor). The song remains the same…

  • JoshB

    An artist writes about what they know, and what do you write about when all you know know is ho’s, drugs, guns and money.

    You write what sells to testosterone poisoned suburban white teenagers, i.e. ho’s, drugs, guns, and money. You’re fooling yourself if you think there’s anything more to the success of thug rappers than that.

    It’s a movie made in the honor of The Notrious B.I.G, what honor would lie in chastising him post-mortem

    Is this a serious question? Are you honestly suggesting that there’s honor in celebrating a drug dealer as a hero?

  • Chris-E

    Enough with the “victim of circumstance” and other bullshit. That’s just another excuse to justify being a criminal. Milton was a poet, “Biggie” is just a thug.

    Chris, you don’t know what “style of living” I am used to, but I know not everyone in the hood is destined to sell drugs, drink 40’s and slap bitches. I grew up in Long Beach and lived in Los Angeles and later Baltimore and DC. I have seen all kinds of tough shit, but that doesn’t change what choices people have. You can choose to be a criminal or not. According to the review, Biggie chose to be a criminal from a young age because the wanted the “Benjamin’s”.

    Sure, not everyone has the same advantages but crime is never justified and shouldn’t be rewarded.

    There are people who were born impoverished that overcame obstacles and didn’t resort to crime as a way to make money. These are the people that films should be made about. “Biggie” was just a selfish thug.

    JoshB, your are correct, most of these “ablums” (misspelled intentionally) sell to young white kids in the suburbs who want to be hard core but would actually piss their pants if they set foot in the real hood.

    Chilla, what did Biggie ever do to gain respect from anybody? All he did was get money. Do you respect him for this. Money shouldn’t equal respect, especially after the things he did and the fact that he was never remorseful for the crimes he committed. Give respect to people that help others regardless of the money and who sometimes give at a cost to themselves.

  • Chris

    Chris-E, it’s obvious that you know jack about the life of Biggie, so maybe you need to see this movie just to get an idea of the importance of this man in hip-hop as well as overall music. The guy died at the age of 24 and was only in rap professionally for 5 years yet changed everything, not to mention establishing what is today known as East Coast sound. He sure as hell wasnt perfect but most are not. I’m not saying you should look at Biggie’s life and saying you should take it as a way to live your life, but there is no doubt that outside of maybe Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Kanye West, no one has influenced hip hop more over the past 20 years. It’s an interesting story, and one that should be told so that people never forget that he changed the sound of hip hop, that they understand where the sounds they love today come from.

    Hip hop is poetry and if you havent listened to hip hop, not to be confused with rap which is a production of beats with a catchy hook and no depth in terms of substance, then you have no right to judge hip hop. Ray Charles did drugs for well over a decade. So did Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and countless others. Stars have been arrested, killed, committed suicide and imprisoned, but in the end they are all still artists and poets. They have interesting stories and they shaped the face of music in some form or another and that is why their stories should be told.

  • Jay

    @Chris-E

    Seriously, you’ve got absolutely no idea of what your talking about. The amount of ignorance that you’ve expressed in your post lacks, not only observed detail about the topic, but, also any coherent logic behind it. Honestly, can an entire genre of music be ‘criminal’? Does the same go for Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll/R&B? That sounds even more stupid as I type it. Let’s not even mention the murky waters of subtle race baiting by equating a creative medium with criminality when the majority of it’s performers are Black. But, I digress.

    The ‘criminal’ element in Hip Hop is a byproduct of the 80s crack wars that plagued American inner cities. Most Hip Hoppers were considered ‘soft’ by the drug dealers who ruled the streets in these communities; eventually stronger sentencing laws made the gangsters retreat into the urban music business. (The mafia did the same with Rock and Roll in the 50s).

    A little education: ‘Rap’ is creative wordplay over beats. Actually, it’s called ‘rhyming’ and requires lyrical sensitivity, timing snd cadence (or ‘flow’) and stage presence (charisma). Biggie was extremely adept at all of these traits. Think it’s easy, listen to a freestyle battle sometime.

    Unfortunately, the reviewer is obviously ignorant of both the context and the breadth of hip hop culture to give any objectivity in her lazy review. Shame.
    It’s okay to not like a movie, but, saying blatantly inflammatory (not to mention suspect) statements like: “I might have expected some hint of irony about how Biggie got off the streets by selling the streets right back to the streets, except he never really gets off the streets at all. He’s carrying a gun into a recording studio, for pete’s sake.”
    Really? So, The Ramones and John Lennon were ‘thugs’ because they used drugs and worked with Phil Spector? These are lazy and shallow opinions that add nothing to educate or entertain, unlike the medium (if not the movie) being reviewed here.

  • Muzz

    Fellas, if the movie can’t be bothered to tell about the breadth of the genre and the character and make people interested in it then it’s crap. That’s what this is about. Doesn’t matter if Biggie was a god amongst men or not, or that you like him. (and there are good rap movies like Hustle and Flow for reference)
    Calling it a hagiography sounds highly appropriate. These lads were ghetto saints. Hell the ‘ghetto’ probably doesn’t even care for them. Fanboys and wannabes of “the life” do.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s a movie made in the honor of The Notrious B.I.G

    And that is the problem.

    Unfortunately, the reviewer is obviously ignorant of both the context and the breadth of hip hop culture to give any objectivity in her lazy review.

    I am not ignorant of these things. If I were, I suspect my review might have been more positive.

    Really? So, The Ramones and John Lennon were ‘thugs’ because they used drugs and worked with Phil Spector?

    You really wanna go there? You really want this to be about tallying up the various crimes of big stars and deciding whose are worse?

    If this was a movie about some white rock star — or country star — that apologized for his misdeeds and appeared to be covering up others and did nothing but deify him, my review would sound much the same.

  • jay

    I am not ignorant of these things. If I were, I suspect my review might have been more positive.

    So, by describing Biggie’s lyrics as “music”(sic) the reviewer shows a deep understanding of the complexity of lyrical content and context in the medium. No bias there. Bravo. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

    I can think of several movies that apologize for the misdeeds of their protagonists in bio pics. Of the top of my head are “Walk the Line” and “Ray”. But, those movies feature more ‘respectable’ artists with a more mainstream appeal. Maybe I’d have to reach further back to “Great Balls of Fire” to find a more sanitized, blatantly lame bit of hokum (although Dennis Quaid was brilliant). But, “Notorious” is a much better film than that. It deserves a much better (or less condescending) review. That was my point. Your biases are showing and, like an ill-fitting blouse, not in a good way.

    Finally, Muzz believes that if a movie doesn’t present the context for it’s drama upfront than it’s “crap”. Well, um, no.
    A movie presents characters in dramatic situations. “Hustle and Flow” doesn’t define the environment of it’s Hip Hop milieu, but rather it depicts a pimp trying to break into the game and, in spite of his ambition, finds redemption along the way. The style of Hip Hop showcased in that movie is very different than the densely populated environment of Brooklyn in the early to mid 90s. Different style of music and very different POV. Urban as opposed to Rural. But, I’ll end it here. Is the film enjoyable? Yes, even if you’re not a fan of the material or the ‘lifestyle’ (a useless generalization describing media fed posturing and record label promotion. Real ‘ghetto lifestyles’ mean bills, and taxes and rent and working crap jobs). It’s not a perfect film but, to many young people the Notorious B.I.G. is a cultural touchstone. And, the amazing performances by the young cast clearly makes it worthwhile viewing.

  • JoshB

    So, by describing Biggie’s lyrics as “music”(sic) the reviewer shows a deep understanding of the complexity of lyrical content and context in the medium. No bias there. Bravo. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

    She used the word song in quotes, not music.

    Also, I don’t think you understand what (sic) is for. See here:

    It’s not a perfect film but, (SIC, the comma goes before the but)to many young people the Notorious B.I.G. is a cultural touchstone.

    You wield your non sequiturs with such skill. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) So people like him. What does that have to do with the quality of the movie (or his “music” for that matter)?

  • Henry

    “Dressed to impress
    Spark these bitches’ interest
    Jazz on the beat so sweet
    Ladies know you feel me
    Grab your titties for the B.I.G”

    You’re so right. The mind boggles at the complexity of this touching poetry. Jeez MaryAnn, stop being so *bias*.

    Also, thanks to the guy who made the clumsy “ill-fitting blouse” simile, as you have beautifully illustrated the mindset of someone who can revere a misogynist as a god.

  • Jay

    @JoshB

    Oops, that was my mistake. I misquoted the passage. Thanks for the catch. I wrote music instead of song and I apologize.

    What does that have to do with the quality of the movie (or his “music” for that matter)?

    My problem is with the quality of the review. I think the point I’ve attempted to make is that the review comes off as condescending and seems to judge Biggie’s music as opposed to the films content. It seems that the artist’s music and public lifestyle is being reviewed instead of the movie.

    But, thanks for avoiding that point and focusing on minor grammatical errors. You wield your captiousness with such skill. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

  • JoshB

    But, thanks for avoiding that point and focusing on minor grammatical errors. You wield your captiousness with such skill. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

    Ah, it’s like you set out to define irony. You can’t use ‘sic’, and use it incorrectly at that, and then whine when someone points out your grammatical errors. You reap what you sow.

    the review comes off as condescending and seems to judge Biggie’s music as opposed to the films content. It seems that the artist’s music and public lifestyle is being reviewed instead of the movie.

    No, that’s what you want to read into the review so you can give your wrongheadedly superior lectures about “real ‘ghetto lifestyles’.” MaryAnn explicitly addressed your concerns:

    If this was a movie about some white rock star — or country star — that apologized for his misdeeds and appeared to be covering up others and did nothing but deify him, my review would sound much the same.

  • Mike

    To all of you saying that Biggie isn’t a poet because he’s a thug and a criminal: why are these mutually exclusive? Everyone has a story to tell and Biggie told his through his music, which happened to speak to a lot of people. In what way is any different from any other form of art?

    I’m not saying it’s okay to be a thug or a criminal, but a lot of people out there can relate to his lyrics because it’s the way things are. It’s too bad but you shouldn’t knock it and say it has any less artistic value because of the content it portrays.

  • Gene

    People here are trying to pick apart the man and the genre of music instead of speaking about the film itself. I have some strong opinions about things people are writing here, but in order to avoid personal attacks, I will avoid speaking on this and I will just speak on the movie.

    As BIG was one of my all-time faves, i was really waiting to see this. Earlier in my life, I was surrounded by hip hop, we grew up together… so i feel like I know this culture better than most do.

    The acting in the movie is great. The rapper “Gravy” does a serious job in the main role. He doesnt look exactly like BIG, but he is a great combination of looks, acting ability, size and sound needed for this role.

    If you know TONS about BIG, you wont find alot of surprises in his ‘movie” life story. But if you dont have deep knowledge of the man’s brief life, you may learn a few things you never knew about him.

    BIG’s story needed to be told. He was a confused YOUNG man that was trying to deal with life’s issues handed down to him. The movie focused on facts, and sometimes that doesnt make for a good movie. this time it does.

    Keep in mind that this movie deeply involved input from BIG’s good friend (Diddy) and his mother. So yes, he will be seen in a good light when its all said and done. But they also show that he was no saint. That sounds like most of us.

    Please, see the movie before spitting things about the man and his music. Fine, you dont like hip hop, street life, or you dont UNDERSTAND the music or the LIFESTYLE. Then just say you dont get it and keep it moving. But those of you who are open minded, or have love for the man or the culture, give this movie and honest try.

    One love

  • Chris-E

    “BIG’s story needed to be told”.

    That’s a fucking riot!!!

    None of these rocker & rapper films need to be told. I loved ‘The Doors’ (the band not the movie) but I still acknowledge that Jim Morrison was a piece of shit person. Same goes for Jerry Lee Lewis as stated above. I never said that because an “artist” was a crappy person that you couldn’t enjoy their music. Hell, I listened to Biggie in High School a little, but making a movie about him like he actually accomplished something or deserves to be remembered as a good person who was a “victim of circumstance”is a joke.

    The problems with all these biopics is that they justify behavior because the artists were famous or popular. ‘Great Balls of Fire’ may have been sanitized so that the film had a lighter more humorous tone, but they showed Jerry Lee as the ignorant redneck hick he was. They never compared his music to art or poetry. We’re never supposed to accept gladly that he married his 13 year old cousin. There was never any attempt to say it was okay or that “deep down he was really a good guy”. It just showed that he played the piano well and was a dumbass in the rest of his life.

  • MaryAnn

    “Hustle and Flow” doesn’t define the environment of it’s Hip Hop milieu, but rather it depicts a pimp trying to break into the game and, in spite of his ambition, finds redemption along the way.

    Exactly. *H&F* is a really good movie that does not pretty up less than upstanding characters yet also presents them as genuinely human; we can like them as people without having to approve of absolutely everything they do — they’re complicated. And I think even those who don’t like the music would still like the film (though it’s hard for me to say for sure because I do like the music in the film).

    For those of you who are mistaking my trashing of this film as a referendum on rap, can you take this knowledge — that I think *Hustle & Flow,* a movie about a pimp who makes good in the music biz, is really good — as evidence that my problems here are with *this movie* and not with rap or even Christopher Wallace as the person he may have actually been? Whether I think Wallace *should* be “honored” or not, I don’t think this movie does that, unless you think that rendering him as something uncomplicated and unthoughtful is honoring him.

    I can think of several movies that apologize for the misdeeds of their protagonists in bio pics. Of the top of my head are “Walk the Line” and “Ray”.

    Really? Neither of those movies pretends that its subject was less than a complicated person, and neither excuses the less than nice things either man did. *Walk the Line,* especially, is very hard on Johnny Cash.

    But if Wallace was not a simple guy who totally lucked out, *Notorious* does not show that. When he tells Sean Coombs that he could be one of the greatest rappers ever, on the basis of absolutely nothing we’ve seen, it’s laughable. It’s not Wallace’s arrogance that’s the issue, because of course a certain amount of arrogance is required of anyone who tries to sell himself like musicians do: it’s the movie’s attitude that this is so obvious that there can be no question otherwise. It doesn’t tell a story that allows us to see that this is true: it just tells us, with no sense of self-awareness that that’s what it’s doing, that this is a fact.

  • BrownianMotion

    The folks who say “you don’t understand hip-hop”, please. It is you who do not understand hip-hop and how it was corrupted from the pure spoken word art form that talked about the twisted combination of beauty and pain on the streets of the disenfranchised to what it is now: A bloviated, slickly produced, beat-matched, seductive paean to bitches (who ain’t shit), blunts (always in great supply), and bling (to be prominently displayed).
    I understand and enjoyed early hip-hop (yes, Wallace didn’t start it) and while I can appreciate his rapping skill (is use of metaphor and wordplay was simply superb) and Combs’ deftly produced tracks, I implore you to listen to the message behind his music. (c.f., ‘The Ten Crack Commandments’). Or, you can look up the work nihilism in the dictionary if you are having trouble figuring it out.
    The other piece is this victim of circumstance b.s. There are ways out of American slums if you will but take them, and their rewards are more long lasting and satisfying than incarceration, addiction or death. I live in Baltimore and can assure you that drug dealers and ‘hustlers’ don’t end up in Cabo San Lucas but in the Hole or in a hole. It infuriates me that our poets use the power of their skills to line the corridors of Hell with the bodies of our young people and adopt a ‘only God can judge me’ and ‘I’m just doing what I gotta do’ attitude when called to account.
    Want to see the true legacy of the bards of today? In the 70s/80s you could listen to the radio with everyone in the family without 1/4 to 1/3 of the song being redacted; listen to an ‘Urban Contemporary’ station today and try to replicate the feat.
    To the movie per se: I haven’t and wouldn’t see it. I remember Wallace alive, and remember when he took the name of a comic gangster along with his not-ready-for-prime time Mafia. Try some Lupe instead and don’t dumb it down.

  • Chris-E

    Dewey Cox was an asshole too and he got a movie!

    People just don’t get it!

  • Demetrius

    all i have to say is anyone who doubts BIG’s skill as a poet and storyteller obviously never listened to songs like “Juicy”. stop focusing on the topics of the grittier songs only. in regards to the movie, i have not seen it nor have much interest as i pretty much remember what went down back then and don’t need to know how many women he slept with or anything else on that personal a level.

  • MaryAnn

    stop focusing on the topics of the grittier songs only.

    You know what? The movie itself barely focuses on the music *at all.* And the few songs that do appear in the film are pretty “gritty” indeed.

    But you say you haven’t seen the film, so you wouldn’t know that.

    Honestly, there is an enormous difference between a real person and the way a real person can be portrayed in a film. My review is about film. It is not a referendum on Wallace or on rap.

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