Rated R

Cast:Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, Anthony Mackie

Notorious is the bio picture of the arguably greatest rapper of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. Jamal “Gravy” Woolard, is a Brooklyn native rapper himself, and was shunned from the rap game because of his similarities to Biggie. Jamal now takes those similarities that he was once criticized for, to the “B.I.G.” screen, to play his idol Christopher Wallace.

The movie Notorious starts on the night of the infamous Vibe party, on March 8th, 1997. Biggie is in California promoting his much anticipated second album release. P. Diddy, Biggie and their friends leave the party, and get into two separate cars. While listening to his new hit “Going Back to Cali” a car pulls up next to Biggie’s passenger seat, and proceeds to fire a gun at the car. We are given a glimpse of Biggie’s face and his life flashes before his eyes, bringing us back to his childhood in 1983. We see a young Christopher Wallace (played by Biggie’s son Christopher Jordan Wallace) rhyming and playing with his friends at school. His mother Voletta Wallace (Bassett) picks him up and they walk home together, only to see a new face in front of their door, his father. Christopher soon realizes that he doesn’t want to be left out in all the fun and approaches his friend D-Rock, who shows him the ropes in the drug game. Fast forward to Christopher in High School and we see the huge transition his life took. He hides from his mother the new clothes, jewlery and gun he now carries at all times, and is a very well known name in his neighborhood for selling crack. Voletta soon realizes what her son has been doing and she throws him out of the house. Not to long after that Christopher is picked up for drug possession and has to spend some time in jail. He reflects on his life and realizes his rapping skills could keep him out of places like jail.

He meets Sean “Puffy” Combs, and they come to an agreement that he will quit selling drugs and focus on rapping. Puffy’s deal falls through and he has no money to sign him to a record deal. Going back to making money the only way they know how, Biggie and D-Rock get run down by the cops, as Biggie tosses his gun in the trash. The cops pick up the gun and now someone must go to jail for the illegal firearm. D-Rock convinces Biggie to let him take the fall for him, because once one of them make it , they all make it.

Things start to look up, and Puffy creates Bad Boy Records, and signs Biggie with a check for $60,000. While recording Puffy brings in an old record of a song called “Juicy” and after a couple of hours deliberating a classic is born. Other highlights and tragedies are genuinely and vividly brought to our attention in Notorious, leading all the way to the tragic end of Christopher “B.I.G.” Wallace.

Jamal Woolard shines in his portrayal of Biggie, and the supporting cast does a surprisingly great job. In a cast of mostly newcomers the movie holds up well, and at time you feel as if you are watching Biggie’s life unfold before your eyes, which is the main goal in bio pictures.

The movie Notorious pulls no punches and shows the good and often bad side of Christopher Wallace, and this movie is a must see for any hip-hop fan.