Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Biggie larger than life in "Notorious"

"Notorious" will make you laugh, possibly shed a few tears and it will give you a better understanding of the 300-pound plus slain rapper, the Notorious B.I.G.

Christopher Wallace was shot and killed at the age 24 on March 9, 1997 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

While it has been nearly 12 years since his death, his clever lyrics remain forever etched in the minds of hip-hop fans across the world.
"It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up magazine / Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine," the Notorious B.I.G. raps in "Juicy." The making of the popular track was among the highlights in movie. It was Sean "P. Diddy" Combs who brought Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" to Biggie Smalls [played by Jamal Woolard, shown above].

In fact, sampling the Mtume song wasn't a popular suggestion. B.I.G. actually laughed at the thought of rapping over the funk/soul track and joked about the look of the group members [see pic above]. But it didn't take much convincing before Biggie jumped in the booth and delivered with one of raps most well-known tracks of all-time.

The movie didn't lack drama. His relationship and rushed marriage with R&B singer Faith Evans was filled with emotion, especially when the songstress caught B.I.G. cheating.

Archive Photo: Lil' Kim at Spotlight in NYC in June 2008. [credit: MFeenz]

However, it's the role of Lil' Kim that everyone is talking about. Kim has been speaking out against the movie because she doesn't agree with the way she is being depicted. Maybe she thought she was more than a friend that Biggie occassionally messed around with? [i.e. a jump off] But after seeing the movie, I could see why she would be mad. But news flash to Kim: this movie is about B.I.G., not you. You should be glad you had as big a role as you did in the movie. There are others, most notably rapper/former B.I.G. lover Charlie Baltimore, who were not even mentioned in the two-hour biopic.

Everyone is asking about the performance of former 3LW group member Naturi Naughton [pictured above] who played the role of the "Queen Bee." I think she did pretty good. She wasn't always believable, but she got into the role as the movie progressed. I have to admit watching her mimmick Kim's antics and signature "wha-wha" was hilarious. And I won't give everything away, but there are some parts of her performance that you just have to see with your own two eyes. :-)

But nothing was more comical than watching Derek Luke [known for his role as Antwone Fisher] portray Puffy. I will give him credit for nailing the silly dances that Puff is known for doing.
I liked the movie best for its transition from one scene to the next. The flow of the movie was much like Biggie's because it was smooth and easy to understand. For example, an argument between Faith and B.I.G. was followed up with an emotional studio session with the Jersey singer recording, "You Used to Love Me." You couldn't help but nod your head to that track. A classic.

The movie also sheds light on the seemingly friendly relationship B.I.G. had with 2pac before the East Coast vs. West Coast feud began. It would be that feud that would lead to the deaths of both rappers, which was shown in the movie.

Lastly, the movie showed the softer side of Christopher Wallace. His relationship with his mother, played by Angela Bassett, showed the intimidating drug dealer turned rapper as a typical mamma's boy. He bought his mom country records because that's what she liked. But it was when she discovered "old mashed potatoes," where their relationship took a turn. But like a true mother, she never turned her back on her only child.

Bassett, who at times used a Jamaican accent, was the perfect woman to play his mother. Voletta Wallace portrayed as a strong and loving mother who only wanted the best for her son.

It was easy to feel her pain as she took the limousine ride through Brooklyn as she took her son home for one last time. A great ending for a great movie.

Watch this AP report about the movie:

1 comment:

Darren Sands said...

I used to have a serious crush on Naturi and now this gives me a REAL reason to see this movie LMAO