I have a story to tell’
Netflix’s Biggie: I’ve Got a Story to Tell is a must-watch!
by Netflix Biggie: I have a story to tell was released in March and added a new perspective to the legendary rapper’s legacy.
The streaming platform has done an impressive job of humanizing the Notorious BIG and telling its story in a way we’ve never heard before.
There were a few stones left unturned, but it was heartwarming to see just how comedic and charismatic the late rapper was and where his drive and inspirations came from as a kid.
This isn’t the first time Biggie’s story has been told. His mother, Voletta Wallace, and former manager, Mark Pitts, produced the 2009 biographical drama Famous with Jamal Woolard, Anthony Mackie and Naturi Naughton.
The film focused more on Big’s story from poverty to riches, but Netflix did a great job of adding context to his origin with rare footage and conversations with family and close friends.
It showed how committed he was to developing his career and how hopeful he was for the future, even after the infamous West Coast Beef vs. East Coast spike.
Check out 11 things I learned watching Netflix Biggie: I have a story to tell:
1. Biggie and his team vlogged it all. At the time, it was just considered “recording the day”, but his best friend, Dr. Roc, recorded all the rare footage we saw on the documentary.
2. Biggie spent his summers in Jamaica. Many Brooklyn children are of Caribbean descent, but many of them are Americanized and unfamiliar with their family’s culture. But the ‘Juicy’ rapper ‘loved’ Jamaica according to his mother and went there every summer until he started selling crack. His uncle Dave has been indirectly credited with inspiring a young Biggie’s musical aspiration.
3. Biggie had been writing songs since elementary school. He said his mother gave him a cassette player where he listened to Fat Boys and Run DMC tapes. His elementary school friends said he was already writing nursery rhymes when they were in school.
4. Biggie’s neighbor was grooming him to be a jazz musician. In a previous interview, the late rapper mentioned his neighbor, Donald Harrison, who was a jazz player and took him to the museum and taught him how to play instruments.
5. Roland Young, better known as Ollie, pushed Biggie to pursue music before he was also killed, even though Big sought him out to help with his street entrepreneurship. Big O convinced Biggie to record a demo after his infamous rap battle on Bedford Avenue. 50 Grand, who hailed from Bedstuy, recorded and mixed Biggie’s demo which he says was done in one take in about an hour.
6. Biggie’s original rap name was MC Cwest. It’s unclear when he changed it, but he urged fans not to call him Biggy Smalls because of a lawsuit he was threatened with by the original Biggy Smalls, in an unearthed interview that was featured. premiered in the documentary.
7. Biggie’s favorite rapper was Big Daddy Kane. Mister Cee, who was Kane’s tour DJ at the time, gave Big’s demo to The Source Magazine editor and that’s how he landed his feature in the coveted Unsigned Hype. .
8. Biggie’s mom battled breast cancer when her career took off.
9. Biggie’s father abandoned him and his mother probably because of his own shame at having a child outside of his marriage.
10. Biggie wanted to branch out into entrepreneurship. The late Brooklyn rapper wanted to run his own record label, get into movies and TV shows, and create his own clothing line.
11. Big’s mom “had no” tears to shed at the funeral. She didn’t listen to his music as per his request, but did eventually “listen once” after he passed away.