Starring Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett, Christopher Wallace Jr.
based primarily on the book "Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G." by Cheo Hodari Coker
||Jamal Woolard (a.k.a. Gravy)
July 8, 1975
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
||Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls)
Born: May 21, 1972
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Death: March 9, 1997, Los Angeles (drive-by shooting)
April 24, 1974
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
||Sean 'Puffy' Combs
Born: November 4, 1969
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
August 16, 1958
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Born: February 3, 1953
Birthplace: Trelawny, Jamaica
September 23, 1979
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Born: June 16, 1971
Birthplace: East Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Death: September 13, 1996, Las Vegas (drive-by shooting)
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey, USA
Born: June 10, 1973
Birthplace: Lakeland, Florida, USA
May 20, 1984
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey, USA
||Kimberly 'Lil Kim' Jones
Born: July 11, 1974
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
One thing I learned about the game is when you get a lot of money, n%ggers don't like you. I'm getting more money now. ... I'm not paranoid to the point where... Yes, I am. I'm scared to death. Scared of getting my brains blown out. -The Notorious B.I.G. (The New York Times, December 18, 1994)
Questioning the Story:
Did Christopher 'Biggie Smalls' Wallace really tell off his math teacher like in the movie?
Yes. The Notorious B.I.G. true story reveals that Christopher Wallace did tell off his math teacher after the teacher told him that he’d amount to nothing more than a garbage man. In the book Unbelievable: The Life, Death and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G., Christopher’s mom, Voletta Wallace, tells the story of how
her son once came home from school and asked her if she knew how much a garbage collector made. She’d remembered seeing a magazine article that compared teachers’ salaries with other professions. Chris took the article to school the next day and after class Ms. Wallace received a call from Chris’ guidance counselor. "The guidance counselor told me how Christopher walked into class and said, 'Do you know how much a garbage collector makes, sir?'“ "No," the teacher replied. "A teacher makes a starting salary of $22,500," Wallace informed him.
"A garbage collector starts at $29,000." "Do you have a point, Mr. Wallace?" "Yes, sir. You said some of us inside here are gonna be garbage collectors. But we're gonna be making more money than you, so that's cool." Cheo Hodari Coker's book, Unbelievable, also deals with the Tupac Biggie feud and both rappers' deaths.
Coker's book, on
which the movie
Biggie did tell
off his math
Was Christopher Wallace’s dad really absent when he was growing up?
Yes. The real story supports what is shown in the Notorious movie regarding Christopher’s father, Selwyn. He was absent from his son’s life, except for buying food and baby supplies for the boy until he was two; after that, his contact with the family ceased. -Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son...
Did Christopher’s father lie to his mother about being married when they met?
Yes. In the Notorious B.I.G. movie, Chris’ dad stops by for a surprise visit, and he tries to give Chris’ mom one hundred dollars. When his mom asks his dad if the gesture is a sign that he plans on coming around, his father says that it’s not possible, reminding her that he is married. She tells him that he should have disclosed that fact before sleeping with her. In real life, Voletta Wallace discovered that Christopher’s father had a wife during her pregnancy with Christopher, a fact that is not contradicted by the movie.
Was The Notorious B.I.G.’s mother really from Jamaica?
In her book, Voletta
Wallace says that she
did not know Biggie's
father was married.
Yes. Voletta Wallace, portrayed by Angela Bassett in the movie, immigrated to New York from Jamaica in 1969 when she was sixteen. Living in a small flat, she secured employment and continued her education, eventually earning her GED. In 1971, a friend introduced her to Biggie’s father, Selwyn. Her only child, Christopher, was born on May 21, 1972. After realizing that a career in nursing was not for her, Voletta secured teaching jobs to support her son.
Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.
Did Christopher Wallace’s mom really call him Chrissy-Pooh?
Yes. In the movie, Voletta Wallace (Angela Bassett) affectionately calls her young son Chrissy-Pooh. The Notorious true story reveals that the real Voletta Wallace used this nickname when Christopher was younger. During an interview given more than a decade after Biggie's death, his mother recalled the nickname she used for her son. “…when my son was small, I used to call him Chrissy-Pooh,” Voletta said. “I got his name, and [Christopher Jr.’s], from the Winnie-the-Pooh books." Christopher Robin was the main character. -Interview Magazine
Did Biggie really start selling crack cocaine at age 12?
Yes. Biggie started selling crack cocaine when he was approximately 12-years-old. “I used to sell crack,” Christopher Wallace admitted in 1994, as he sat on the stairs outside his mother’s third-floor apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. “My customers were ringing my bell, and they would come up on the steps and smoke right here. They knew where I lived; they knew my moms.” (The New York Times) "I heard about crack on the news and I was like, 'That's what n*ggas must be doing,'"
Wallace recalled in another interview. It didn’t truly tempt him until he watched his friend and future Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Chico Delvec become a successful drug dealer. "This n*gga's coming through with the butter Fila velour sh*t, the big cables, four finger rings," Wallace remembered. "I'm like, 'Yo, we the same age. I'm sitting here … asking my moms to throw me down money for some ice cream. And this n*gga is getting cash!'” One day, Chico invited Wallace to go to the Ave (Washington Avenue) with him. "I feel like I was the bad influence," Chico admits.
"Because when I introduced him to the game, he just like got addicted to it." -Unbelievable
Biggie started dealing crack
around the age of 12, after
he watched a peer become
a successful dealer.
Did Chris’ mom discover he was dealing after she mistook his drugs for old mashed potatoes?
No. Unlike what is seen in the movie, Notorious B.I.G.’s mom, Voletta Wallace, did not throw away her son’s drugs after she mistook them for a plate of dried up mashed potatoes. The real story reveals that Chris’ mom learned of her son’s drug dealing in a different way. Following a 1990 arrest for having a loaded, unregistered gun, the police revealed to Chris' mom that her son was a drug dealer. She refused to believe it was possible. She confronted Christopher, and he admitted to her that the
accusations were true, as revealed in the book The Notorious B.I.G.: A Biography, which also focuses on the Tupac Biggie Smalls feud and Tupac's death. Voletta learned about other bad things that her son did after he became a star.
“I found out about my son and his little antics through his music and through magazines,” Voletta told The New York Times in 1994. When Chris was growing up, his mother worked two jobs and was often not at home.
Holly Lang's BIG
how the rapper's
mom learned of
her son's dealing.
How many times was Biggie arrested?
Biggie Smalls was arrested seven times. Biggie was first arrested in 1989 for carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm. He was sentenced to five years probation for the offense. He was arrested again in 1990 for violating his probation. In 1991, he was arrested in North Carolina for selling crack cocaine, and he spent nine months in jail. Fame didn't help to suppress his criminal ways. On March 23, 1996, The Notorious B.I.G. was arrested outside the Palladium dance club in Manhattan for threatening two autograph seekers. He smashed the windows of their taxicab with a baseball bat
and then pulled one of them out of the cab, punching the fan in the face. Several months later, during the summer of 1996, he was arrested at his home in Teaneck, NJ, after the police found 50 grams of marijuana and four automatic weapons with laser sights, enlarged bullet clips and filed-off serial numbers. He faced another arrest that summer on charges of beating and robbing the friend of a concert promoter on May 6, 1995, at a Camden, NJ nightclub. The man received $25,000 from Christopher Wallace in a civil suit. Biggie's last arrest took place in the fall of 1996, around the time of Tupac's death, after police found him smoking marijuana in a car near the Fulton Mall in Brooklyn. -The New York Times
Did Christopher Wallace graduate high school?
No. As emphasized in the Notorious movie, Biggie Smalls (Wallace) dropped out of high school when he was seventeen. -The New York Times
Did Biggie's mom really kick him out of the house when he was 17?
Yes, but she only kicked him out of the house for two weeks, after she discovered that he was dealing drugs. She also took out a life insurance policy on him. Voletta Wallace felt that if her son was dealing drugs, then he was as good as dead. -The Notorious B.I.G.: A Biography
Did Biggie really sell crack to a pregnant woman?
Yes. The Notorious true story reveals that Biggie Smalls did sell crack to a pregnant woman. The director of The Notorious B.I.G. movie, George Tillman, Jr., commented on this scene in an interview, “…you can’t white wash it too much because you want it to be real. Like can you take out the scene of him selling crack to the pregnant woman. If you take that out, is it real? Is that for Hollywood’s sake, taking it out? These are the things that he did.” -EURweb.com
Did Biggie really have a daughter before he became famous?
Yes. Biggie Smalls was 22 when his daughter T’Yanna was born in 1994. A decade after Biggie's death, T'Yanna's mother, Jan Jackson, talked about the father of her child, Christopher Wallace, in an interview with Blender.com. "I met Chris when I was coming home from work," Jan recalled. "I didn’t know him, but we had common friends. I was on a bank of pay phones and he brought his big ass in the booth with me and started making jokes and asking me why I was serious all the time." While they were together, Jan eventually discovered that she was pregnant with Biggie's daughter. "Right around when I was pregnant, he met Puffy," Jan said. "He thought he was a dedicated businessman, that he had his head on straight. ...
We broke up when T’Yanna was six months old. He came to me one day and said, 'This relationship is not where I want to be right now.' I was hurt, but I respected that he didn’t lead me on."
Biggie and his daughter, T’Yanna, appear
together in the 1994 music video for
"Juicy." T’Yanna (right) fourteen years
later at the Notorious
Where did the nickname Biggie Smalls come from?
Christopher Wallace’s nickname Biggie Smalls came from the 1975 black comedy movie Let’s Do It Again, starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. Biggie Smalls is a gangster in the movie, portrayed by actor Calvin Lockhart. -IMDB.com
Did D-Roc really take the fall for the gun?
Yes. In 2009, Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs spoke about Damion ‘D-Roc’ Butler and the Notorious B.I.G. movie in a video blog for Diddy TV. “Ya’ll saw like the most stand-up n*gga in the world, D-Roc. … That’s a true part of the story. He went and took the bid for Big.” The former Junior M.A.F.I.A. member, D-Roc, was imprisoned again in 2001 for his involvement in a shootout between members of Lil' Kim's and Capone-N-Noreaga's camps. He was released in early 2009 (MTV.com). D-Roc was driving the GMC Suburban on the night that Biggie was killed in the 1997 drive-by shooting in L.A. (Vibe Magazine).
The real Damion 'D-Roc' Butler
(right, circa 1996) took the fall for
Biggie like his counterpart does in
the movie (left).
Did Biggie really meet Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs after a friend submitted a tape he had recorded?
No. The way Biggie’s demo tape got into the hands of Sean “Puffy” Combs is more elaborate than what is shown in the Notorious movie. After spending nine months in a North Carolina jail, a tape that Biggie recorded on a friend’s four-track fell into the hands of Mister Cee, a DJ working with Big Daddy Kane. Biggie had rapped over an old Big Daddy Kane beat (Kane was one of his favorite rappers). Cee passed the tape on to Matty at The Source magazine. As a result,
Biggie Smalls acquired national attention when he was featured in the magazine’s March 1992 “Unsigned Hype” column, which introduced new rappers. Matty then passed the tape on to Sean “Puffy” Combs at Uptown Records after Puffy told him that he was looking for some hardcore rappers.
Similar to the movie, Christopher 'Biggie Smalls' Wallace did first meet Puffy after the tape he recorded landed in the hands of Uptown Entertainment, a New York record label that focused primarily on hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues. At the time, Puffy was working as a record producer at Uptown. Puff was the first one to hear the demo tape, which is called “Microphone Murder.” (The New York Times)
Listen to The Notorious B.I.G. Microphone Murder Demo available on the movie's soundtrack. During his time at Uptown Records, Puffy had gone from intern to vice president, dropping out of Howard University after his job promotion.
However, by 1993 he had become so unruly and impatient that the company’s CEO, Andre Harrell, fired him (Sean’s huffing and puffing earned him his nickname). As chronicled in the movie, Puffy quickly formed his own label, Bad Boy Records, taking hip-hop artists The Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack with him (Time). Biggie’s album Ready to Die, which hit store shelves on September 1, 1994, was the second album Bad Boy released (the first was Craig Mack’s Project: Funk Da World).
The real Sean 'Puffy' Combs and Notorious
B.I.G. (right) pose with the promotional
B.I.G. MACK box, replicated in the movie.
Did Puffy really give The Notorious B.I.G. $60,000 as an advance for signing with Bad Boy?
The amount was actually closer to $25,000. Voletta Wallace touched on this in her book Biggie, which was published eight years after Biggie's death. In the book, she writes, "The truth is, Christopher accepted the illusion of a friend and mentor for about $25,000. That's the amount Puffy lured my son with... It was enough money to make my son believe that Puffy was ready to do anything for him.” In The Notorious B.I.G. movie, Puffy (Derek Luke) presents the check to Biggie (Jamal Woolard) in a B.I.G. MACK box, identical to the original pictured above. The box was a promotional tool used to advertise Bad Boy Records'
two hottest artists at the time, Craig Mack and The Notorious B.I.G. -Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son...
Did Biggie’s mom really battle breast cancer?
Yes. The Notorious B.I.G. true story reveals that Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace, battled breast cancer twice, beating the disease both times. She describes her struggle in more detail in her book Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.
Did Biggie really marry Faith Evans after knowing her for less than two weeks?
"I married her after knowing her eight days and I was happy," the real Biggie recalled in an interview the day before his death. "That was my baby. At the same time, with us being so spontaneous, we did it backwards. Maybe she won't admit it, but I will. We should have got to know each other and then got married. The relationship kind of dissolved, but we're still going to be friends." The Notorious B.I.G. married Faith Evans on August 4, 1994. They met on a photo shoot for Bad Boy Records, the label that carried them both. -Vibe Magazine
Was Puffy really the one who wanted “Juicy” to be Biggie’s first single?
Yes. The real Notorious B.I.G. answered this question during a 1994 interview after the release of his first album Ready to Die. “‘Juicy,’ that was Puffy.
I mean learning and being with Puff I understand there are certain ways to go about the game, you know, and one way is to make radio happy. You gotta make a radio song. You gotta make a song that you know the radios are gonna pump. You want them to respect your music and pump your album, so I made a radio song.
I didn’t think it was gonna come out first, but Puffy was like, ‘Yo, let’s drop it first. It’s a hot joint, it’s hot now. Let’s pump it for the summer, get some money.’ So f**k it, let’s do it!” -EURweb.com
the movie, Puffy
wanted 'Juicy' to be Biggie's
first single from his debut
album Ready to Die
Did Faith barge in on Biggie when he was cheating on her?
Yes. According to Faith Evans’ tell-all memoir Keep the Faith, she busted in on Biggie cheating on her on more than one occasion, including once with Lil Kim.
“As soon as I saw a small lump next to Big’s large frame, I flew into a rage, ran over to the side of the bed, and pulled back the covers,” Faith writes. ”I grabbed some chick out of the bed and started beating her a$$. At some point, the chick’s wig came off in my hand; It was a short, cropped wig.
I stopped throwing punches for a minute to get a good look at the chick I was beating up. It was Lil Kim. She was completely butt-naked, yelling as I pushed her around the room. ‘So you not f*cking her, right?’ I screamed at Big. … Kim left the house and I stayed, talking to Big about why he couldn’t be honest with me about her. … Even though we ended up having sex that day, at that point I decided I was 100 percent through.”
In her book, Faith
and Lil' Kim.
What was Tupac Shakur doing in New York at the time of the 1994 Quad Studios shooting?
The day after he was shot five times in the lobby of the Quad Studios building in Times Square, Manhattan, Tupac Shakur appeared in a wheelchair at his sexual abuse trial, which was the reason he had been on the East Coast. He was found guilty of three counts of molestation. He was innocent of six other counts, including sodomy. The trial was the result of a 1993 incident, after which a woman claimed that Shakur and others had sexually abused her.
Shakur served time at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York until Death Row Record’s Suge Knight posted his bail money the next fall, pending an appeal of his conviction. In return, Shakur agreed to a three year contract with Death Row. -TruTV.com
On the night the attack, November 30, 1994, Tupac headed to Quad Studios, because he had been invited to rap on a song with East Coast rapper Little Shawn (TruTV.com). His assault at the studio proved to be the spark that ignited the Tupac Biggie rivalry, further fueling the feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers.
Were Sean Combs and The Notorious B.I.G. responsible for the assault on 2Pac at Quad Studios?
Sean Combs (Puffy/Diddy) has denied allegations that he and Christopher ‘Biggie Smalls’ Wallace were involved in the assault on West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur at New York’s Quad Recording Studios on November 30, 1994. Allegations surfaced fourteen years after the assault, in a 2008 LA Times article. Producer/Rapper Sean Combs said in a statement, “This story is beyond ridiculous and completely false. Neither Biggie nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during, or after it happened (MTV.co.uk). The Los Angeles Times retracted the story on April 7, 2008,
citing that they no longer believed that their information was credible. Tupac himself believed that Puffy and Biggie, in addition to others, knew about the shooting before it happened.
Biggie and Tupac were friends
before the assault on Tupac at
Quad Studios. The event fueled
the East Coast/West Coast feud.
Did Lil’ Cease really yell down to 2Pac before he entered Quad Studios, just prior to the shooting?
Yes. A 1995 Tupac interview reveals this to be true. “As we're walking up to the building, somebody screamed from up the top of the studio,” Tupac recalled. ”It was Little Caesar, Biggie's sideman. That's my homeboy.” (Vibe Magazine, 1995) Moments later, the assault took place as Tupac and three friends (Tupac’s buddy Stretch, Stretch’s buddy Fred, and Tupac’s sister's boyfriend, Zayd) entered the elevator in the lobby of the building. In addition to shooting him five times, Tupac’s attackers robbed him, taking over $35,000 in jewelry (TruTV.com).
Lil' Cease (right) hollered down to
Tupac as he entered Quad Studios.
Actor Marc John Jefferies (left)
portrays Lil' Cease in the movie.
Were 2Pac’s attackers really two men dressed in army fatigues?
Yes. “We get to the studio, and there's a dude outside in army fatigues with his hat low on his face,” Tupac Shakur told Vibe Magazine in a 1995 interview. ”When we walked to the door, he didn't look up. I've never seen a black man not acknowledge me one way or the other, either with jealousy or respect. But this guy just looked to see who I was and turned his face down. It didn't click because I had just finished smoking chronic.”
Tupac entered the Lobby and noticed another man, who appeared to be in his thirties, sitting at a table reading a newspaper. “…I could tell they were from Brooklyn from their army fatigues,” Tupac said. “I pressed the elevator button, turned around, and that’s when the dudes came out with the guns-two identical 9mms.”
Read the Tupac Shakur Vibe Magazine Articles and Interviews Collection.
In the collection of interviews, Tupac explains the details of the shooting, in addition to revealing how the event led to the 2Pac Biggie feud.
Tupac describes the
assault in detail in
the Tupac Shakur Vibe
Did 2Pac really take the elevator up to Puffy’s floor, demanding to know who set him up?
Yes. After being shot five times in the Quad Studios lobby, Tupac did make it upstairs in real life. He paced and ranted, demanding to know who set him up (TruTV.com). Tupac told Vibe Magazine in a 1995 interview, “So I stood up and I went to the [lobby] door and … as soon as I got to the door, I saw a police car sitting there. … So we jumped in the elevator and went upstairs. I'm limping and everything, but I don't feel nothing. It's numb. When we got upstairs, I looked around, and it scared the sh*t out of me.
…Andre Harrell was there, Puffy [Bad Boy Entertainment CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs] was there, Biggie... there was about 40 n*ggas there. … I saw Booker, and he had this look on his face like he was surprised to see me. Why? I had just beeped the buzzer and said I was coming upstairs. Little Shawn bust out crying. I went, ‘Why is Little Shawn crying, and I got shot?’ He was crying uncontrollably, like, ‘Oh my God, Pac, you've got to sit down!’ I was feeling weird, like, why do they want to make me sit down?”
Tupac Shakur displays his anger
after the Quad Studios shooting as
medics put him into an ambulance.
Did 2Pac get shot in the head during the 1994 Quad Studios assault?
Yes. In the movie, it looks like Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) is suffering from a bullet wound to the head in the scene where he is demanding to know who set him up. The Notorious movie true story reveals that in addition to being robbed of his jewelry, Tupac was shot five times; twice in the head, twice in the groin and once through the hand and thigh (although some reports state that he shot himself twice accidentally (MTV.ca)). “I didn't know I was shot in the head yet,” Tupac recalled in the Vibe Magazine interview.
”I didn't feel nothing. I opened my pants, and I could see the gunpowder and the hole in my Karl Kani drawers. I didn't want to pull them down to see if my d*ck was still there. I just saw a hole and went, ‘Oh sh*t. Roll me some weed.’ … Nobody approached me. I noticed that nobody would look at me. … Puffy was standing back too. … They started telling me, ‘Your head! Your head is bleeding.’ But I thought it was just a pistol-whip.” Tupac was treated at Bellevue Hospital. The following morning, just hours after surgery, he checked out of the hospital against doctor’s orders (TruTV.com).
Did Tupac hook-up with The Notorious B.I.G.’s wife, singer Faith Evans?
In the movie, Biggie snaps and chases Faith around a hotel room, accusing her of having an affair with rapper Tupac Shakur. A Faith and Tupac magazine photo is what causes him to lose his cool, further intensifying the Tupac Biggie Smalls feud. 2Pac spoke to The Source magazine about his rumored relationship with Faith. "[Biggie] stole my lyrics, I stole his bitch. ... He touched my style, I touched his wife." He was even more candid in a radio interview, openly stating, “I f*cked his wife. I’m f*cking him in the game. I’m destroying him.” The emphatic comments came after 2Pac accused Biggie of copying his musical style and
having knowledge of the Quad Studios shooting prior to it happening. Tupac further reinforced his claims in his song "Hit 'Em Up,"
in which he called Biggie a "fat motherf**ker," accused him of copying his style, and openly stated, "I f**ked your wife." Faith denies having slept with Tupac, but she does admit to meeting him in October 1995, when the two were in Los Angeles. Faith had been doing some songwriting for an R&B group and Shakur was there recording his album All Eyez on Me for Death Row Records. “He was cool,” Faith admits, “I saw him at a couple parties, and we was chillin’, havin’ drinks, him and my friends.” (Vibe Magazine) The actual Faith and Tupac photo from the magazine is shown on the left.
Biggie exploded in anger when
he saw this photo of his wife
Faith Evans with Tupac Shakur.
Did Biggie really use a cane as the result of an automobile accident?
Yes. In the Notorious B.I.G. movie, Biggie Smalls (Jamal Woolard) is seen with a cane after he is in an automobile accident in which Lil' Cease (Marc John Jefferies) is driving. The Notorious B.I.G. real story reveals that the 1996 accident did take place. As a result of his injuries, Big had a rod put through his leg, which left him unable to walk during his two months of therapy. Eventually, he was able to get around, but he required the use of a cane. Biggie used his cane in the music video for “Hypnotize.” Unaware of his injuries, many fans assumed the cane was a stylistic element for the video.
Biggie Smalls addressed his accident in the song “Long Kiss Goodnight,” singing the lyric, “I used to be as hard as Ripple be, 'til Lil' Cease crippled me.”
The movie fails to mention that the car accident was actually a blessing. When doctors examined Biggie, they found that he had severe respiratory problems that could have been fatal if they had been left untreated. The problems stemmed from the fact that Biggie had asthma and smoked copious amounts of marijuana. -MTV.ca
Did Biggie really get a tattoo like in the movie Notorious?
Yes. Biggie had Psalm 23 tattooed on his left arm. Lil’ Cease and D-Roc got the same tattoo. Biggie and his mother had said that prayer and numerous others together in real life, so it makes sense that her character would be happy about the tattoo. Biggie also wanted to add his son’s name to his arm, but told friends that the process was too painful. -MTV.ca
Who killed The Notorious B.I.G.?
On March 9, 1997, after leaving a party cosponsored by Vibe Magazine and held at the Peterson Automotive Museum, East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a drive-by shooting at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles (HuffingtonPost.com). The Notorious B.I.G. murder case remains unsolved, despite a handful of possible theories regarding the identity and motives of Biggie Smalls' killer. For example, journalist
Randall Sullivan argues in the book Labyrinth that Suge Knight hired onetime LAPD officer David Mack (a convicted bank robber with gang ties to the Bloods)
to arrange a hit on Wallace, and that the gunman was a hit-man and mortgage broker named Amir Muhammad. Sullivan’s Labyrinth book was used as the basis for Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac.
The book accuses
a former LAPD
cop of arranging
Eyewitnesses described the lone gunman as an African American male in a suit and bow tie. The composite sketch on the right was compiled from witness descriptions provided a day after Biggie Smalls' death. The assailant was reportedly driving a dark-colored Chevrolet Impala. The precision of the attack has led investigators to believe that the shooting may have been a professional assassination. -LATimes.com.
A police sketch of the
The Notorious B.I.G.’s second album, Life After Death, was released posthumously sixteen days after his death. The double album acts as a sequel of sorts to 1994’s Ready to Die.
Did Biggie’s funeral procession through Brooklyn really happen?
Yes. On March 18, 1997, Christopher Wallace’s body traveled through the streets of his Brooklyn neighborhood. The funeral procession began in Fort Greene and ended in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where he lived as an only child with his mother in the apartment building at 226 St. James Place (The New York Times). The footage of the crowd in the street at the end of the movie is real footage from the day of the funeral. As seen in the movie, the crowd erupted when someone started playing The Notorious B.I.G. song "Hypnotize." (Biggie & Tupac)
What did Sean "Diddy" Combs think of the movie?
Sean “Diddy” Combs, founder of Bad Boy Records, signed on to executive produce the movie about his friend and business associate Christopher Wallace. "Going to watch the movie is one of the hardest things that I've ever done," said Diddy. "It opened up so many wounds for me." In a separate video blog, he called the movie "incredible," and said that his praise does not stem from the fact that he was involved as a producer on The Notorious B.I.G. movie (Diddy TV).
Also serving as executive producers were the rapper’s mother Voletta Wallace and former managers Mark Pitts and Wayne Barrow.
Was Biggie supposed to be in LA on the night of his death?
No. "The day that Biggie was killed he wasn't supposed to be in LA," said Sean "Diddy" Combs. "That morning I got a call from Biggie. ... He was supposed to go to London. He called me and said, 'I'm not going to London.'" Biggie told Sean that he wanted to go with him to the Vibe party in LA to celebrate
finishing his second album, Life After Death. "The call just plays over and over in my head," Sean confesses. "I'm like, 'What if he would have just got on the plane?'" -Diddy TV
Expected in London, Biggie
went to LA to celebrate
finishing Life After Death
How did the real Kimberly “Lil Kim” Jones feel about her portrayal in the movie?
After reading an early version of the Notorious script, Lil Kim made it publically known that she felt that the story portrayed her unfairly. “The film studio and producers involved were more concerned about painting me as a ‘character’ to create a more interesting storyline instead of a person with talent, self-respect and who was able to achieve her own career success through hard work,” she said in a statement. “Even though my relationship with Big was at times very difficult and complicated…it was also genuine and built on great admiration and love for each other.
Regardless of the many lies in the movie and false portrayal of me to help carry a storyline through, I will still continue to carry his legacy through my hard work and music.”
The Notorious B.I.G.’s mother fired back, telling an interviewer, “This is not a Lil Kim movie… This is a Christopher Wallace movie. It has nothing to do with Lil Kim. If she’s disappointed and upset, that is her problem.” -MTV.co.uk
Sean “Diddy” Combs responded to Lil Kim’s frustration by admitting that she was not accurately portrayed in the movie. “I gotta say that, what ya'll saw in the movie about Kim, that's not like the real Kimberly Jones," Diddy explained. "Don't believe what you saw in the movie. It wasn't just about that. She was with us, that was our queen. She'll always be the queen. She got every right to feel that way. The movie's really about B.I.G., so don't focus on none of our parts. Because [you need to] focus on B.I.G. as the man." -Diddy TV
Prior to his starring role in Notorious, had Brooklyn-based rapper Gravy been best known for getting shot in the buttocks?
Yes. Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard (a.k.a. Gravy) was arguably best known as the guy who got shot in the buttocks near hip-hop radio station Hot 97 in 2006. The shooting happened as Woolard was on his way to do an interview with Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex. Woolard made headlines when, instead of going straight to the hospital, he went upstairs and did the interview anyway. “I was there to do my job,” said Woolard, “so I did my job. … What was I supposed to tell a powerful influence like Flex, at Hot 97? ‘You know what, Flex? I’m sorry, man. I can’t do the show.
I was standing downstairs-got shot in the ass.’ What, are you nuts? Right? It wouldn’t make any sense. So I had to do what I had to do.” -The New Yorker
Did a shooting take place at a Notorious movie screening attended by the actor who plays Biggie?
Yes. On January 16, 2009, Brooklyn-based hip-hop star Gravy (Jamal Woolard), the rapper/actor who plays Notorious B.I.G. in the movie, attended a showing of the film at the Grand 18 theatre in Greensboro, North Carolina. More than 700 moviegoers were evacuated after patron Clive O'Connor was shot twice in the stomach during an argument in the theater's crowded lobby. The Notorious actor was not suspected to have any involvement in the incident. The victim was reported to be in stable condition following surgery (ConcreteLoop.com).
Another incident related to the movie occurred a day later when four men were stabbed at an after-party at Brooklyn's Djumbala Club following the film's New York premiere. Although the nightclub billed its event as the "official" after-party, "Notorious" distributor Fox Searchlight said it had no connection to the club's event. -Starpulse.com
I heard that Biggie’s mom provided her own recipes for the movie’s apartment food scenes. Is that true?
Yes. To add to the film’s authenticity, Biggie Small’s mom, Voletta Wallace, brought her own recipes and some of the ingredients to the set. “Having Ms. Wallace here has been the best thing for this film,” prop master Kevin Ladson revealed in a Notorious Fox Searchlight video diary. “For example, we’re doing a food scene tomorrow and the recipe is from her. Ms. Wallace came in with spices, different food items. It doesn’t get any better than that.” -FoxSearchlight.com
Did Biggie’s real life son portray his father in the movie?
Yes. Biggie’s son, Christopher "CJ" Wallace Jr., portrays the young version of his father in the Notorious movie. Twelve-year-old CJ is Biggie’s son with singer Faith Evans. He was close to four months old when his father was killed in a drive-by shooting. During an Interview Magazine discussion, CJ talked about playing his father in the movie. “It was an experience I’d never had before. You learn a lot about the person you’re playing.” He said that the hard part was the crying scene.
“Wendy, my acting coach, said that I should think about if he was alive, how I miss him, and, yeah, I just got really into it. … I just thought about things in the past and about how successful he would be if he was still alive.”
Biggie's son, Christopher Wallace
Jr., stands next to his grandma,
Voletta Wallace, on the movie set.
Does Biggie’s son want to be a rapper when he grows up?
“Probably,” Christopher Wallace Jr. told Interview Magazine. “But first I want to go to college. And I want to graduate and study film.
Notorious: Behind the Movie Interviews & Video
Watch a real Biggie death video taken by fans, and view footage of The Notorious B.I.G. funeral procession. See Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Voletta Wallace, and Biggie's daughter, T'Yanna, talk about Biggie's death, his legacy, and the Notorious movie. Finally, listen to a Tupac interview, during which the rapper speaks candidly about being shot five times.