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BIGGIE: I GOT A STORY TO TELL

On March 1, Netflix released the documentary Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, based on the life and death of iconic Brooklyn emcee The Notorious B.I.G.

The film captures the man born Christopher Wallace as he rose to Hip-Hop superstardom through never-before-seen home video footage and untold stories from the people closest to him.

There have been many films, TV series, and documentaries that touch on various aspects of B.I.G’s life. Many of them concentrate on his tragic unsolved murder on March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles, or his rivalry with his former friend, Tupac Shakur. However, Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell delves not only into B.I.G’s history but also into the lives of influential figures who helped him become one of rap’s biggest legends.

The documentary particularly converges on B.I.G’s mother, Voletta Wallace. We learn about her journey from Jamaica to New York, her involvement with B.I.G’s father before he deserted them, and her many years spent struggling to provide for her son while living in the drug and crime-infested community of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

Ms. Wallace always saw her son as Christopher, never The Notorious B.I.G. Although she was aware of her son’s fame and fortune, she mostly just appreciated that he no longer had to resort to illegal means to sustain the family.

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Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell. Christopher Wallace (Biggie). c. Courtesy of Christopher Wallace Estate

B.I.G’s childhood friends and members of his drug-dealing crew took a vested interest in his musical talents. They felt he possessed the potential to make it in the music industry and that his talents were God-given; all he needed to do was leave the street life and focus on honing his craft as a Hip-Hop artist.

B.I.G’s intelligence and natural musical aptitude is another heavily explored theme in this documentary. His inspirations came in the form of his musician uncle in Jamaica and neighboring Jazz saxophonist, Donald Harrison. Their direction prompted Chris to discover his love for music at a young age, which eventually led to his obsession with Hip-Hop and rapping.

How Does The Documentary Of Christopher B.I.G. Wallace Fare?

Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell is probably one of the first looks at who Christopher Wallace was at his core. Hip Hop fans are over-exposed to tales of B.I.G’s exploits as a charismatic, charming once-in-a-lifetime talent in other films about him. In contrast, I Got a Story to Tell is a candid, non-sensationalized version of a naturally talented introverted prodigy.

Admittedly, the documentary makes B.I.G. out to be a hero with few flaws, despite his past in the drug trade. His tumultuous relationship with Lil Kim is glazed over to the point that her only acknowledgment is brief clips of her during Biggie’s rise. Whether or not her lack of a mention is done on purpose to maintain B.I.G’s integrity, Lil Kim’s erasure is only telling half of the story.

Still, the documentary is a stimulating depiction of a figure in Hip-Hop that fans thought they already remembered everything about. Seeing how willing people were to nurture the Notorious B.I.G’s talents adds a layer of depth to the King of New York and the aura surrounding him even two decades after his death.

BIGGIE: I GOT A STORY TO TELL INFO:

Synopsis: In the wake of the Notorious B.I.G.’s landmark induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and ahead of what would have been his 50th birthday, Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell offers a fresh look at one of the greatest, most influential rappers of all time by those who knew him best.

Made in collaboration with Biggie’s estate, I Got A Story To Tell is an intimate rendering of a man whose rapid ascent and the tragic end has been at the center of rap lore for more than twenty years. Directed by Emmett Malloy, this intimate documentary features rare footage filmed by his best friend Damion “D-Roc” Butler and new interviews with his closest friends and family, revealing a side of Christopher Wallace that the world never knew. I Got A Story To Tell is executive produced by Sean Combs, Voletta Wallace, Mark Pitts, Stanley Buchthal, and Emmett and Brendan Malloy. 

DIRECTED BY: Emmett Malloy

PRODUCED BY: David Koh, Wayne Barrow, William Green, Aaron L. Ginsburg, Terry 

Leopard, Daniel Pappas

EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY: Stanley Buchthal, Emmet Malloy, Brendan Malloy, Voletta Wallace, Mark Pitts, Sean Combs

INCLUDES TALKING HEAD APPEARANCES FROM:

Celebs – Sean “Diddy” Combs, Faith Evans, Lil’ Cease, Fab 5 Freddy

Family/Fam Friends – Voletta Wallace, Gwendolyn Wallace 

(Biggie’s grandmother), Dave Wallace (Biggie’s uncle)

Childhood Friends – Damion “D Roc” Butler, Suif “C Gutta” Jackson, 

Hubert Sam, Easy Mo Bee

Industry – Mister Cee, Mark Pitts (Biggie’s manager)

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