If white filmmakers have been historically culpable of perpetrating tasteless black caricatures on screen, emerging black bourgeois filmmakers today don’t seem to have much more of a clue. And while it’s now less a case of race than class, Notorious director George Tillman Jr. and writers Reggie Rock Bythewood and Cheo Hodari Coker seem to still be taking their cues more from the sensationalistic style of alien ghetto underclass drama and what’s come before, rather than bringing new and improved insight to the table beyond the cool music.
Hip hop performer-turned-actor Jamal Woolard imparts his massive charismatic presence to the screen here. He’s the late Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G., gunned down at the height of his career in the infamous East Coast versus West Coast hip-hop turf wars a decade ago.
The ghost of Biggie spouts second thoughts from beyond the grave about a wasted life in the pursuit of sex, drugs and bling. But the film’s undercurrent star-struck homage to hedonism couldn’t be more apparent.
Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Features: Filmmaker Commentaries; Behind The Scenes Footage; Deleted Scenes; Unreleased Footage Of The Real B.I.G.; Digital Copy.