Arts, Culture & Media

"Notorious," the Biggie Smalls biopic

Christopher Wallace, who is more commonly known as Biggie Smalls or the Notorious B.I.G., was at the height of his hip-hop career in the early 90s when his rise to super-stardom was tragically cut short. Twelve years ago, at the age of 24, he was killed in a now-infamous drive by shooting. "Notorious," a biopic based on Biggie Smalls' life, hits theaters nationwide today.

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Voletta Wallace is the mother of the late Biggie Smalls and is one of the film's producers.

She says that she came across some things in her son's life that she was not aware of, and didn't like once discovered.  Given that she has had a hand in the production of the film, it presents a difficult situation.  She says, "It was extremely painful, but I felt that it was something that I had to do because it's a project that I started.  

"When I began this project, everyone knew him as an artist, as the greatest rapper.  They never knew him as a father, or a son, or even as a man.  When I was doing the research, I found out about the man, and parts of that man I didn't like very much.  Or I hadn't liked very much."

For the casting of Biggie Smalls, Wallace was surpised that so many people in New York, in the U.S., and even in Canada were able to emulate her son in such a convincing fashion.  They had the speech, the rapping style, and even Biggie's swagger.

One of the film's takeaways is the set of lessons that Biggie's life taught him, says Wallace.  "Christopher did some awful things in his life, but he had a talent.  He had a wonderful talent.  And for all of those women, those men, those kids out there, I would like for them to use their talent.  Don't focus on what was so awful, because, you know what?  Good might cost a penny, but bad costs a million dollars, and a penny's worth of good is worth more than a million dollars worth of bad.  I would like them to take their talent and make it the best that they can."

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