On March 9, 1996 Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-four years old. “Biggie Smalls,” as he was also called, ended up becoming one of the two most notable and tragic casualties of the East Coast/West Coast rap beef of the 1990s. (The other death was that of fellow rap legend and former-friend-turned-enemy Tupac Shakur, half a year later.)
But whereas so many other documentaries or movies have remained fascinated with the rapper Biggie Smalls and his violent end, Netflix’s upcoming documentary Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell seeks to humanize Wallace and give us a more personal look at who he was before the music, away from the stage.
Bringing color to the documentary, Wallace’s mother Voletta and Biggie’s former manager/collaborator Sean “Diddy” Combs shared executive producer credits on the project, and Emmet Malloy was the director. It is the first officially estate-sanctioned documentary of Biggie, and it will include never-before-seen footage of the rapper as well as intimate conversations with Wallace’s friends, family, and associates.
The movie has been in the works since 2017 under the working title of another Biggie Smalls hit, One More Chance. Director Emmett Malloy told Rolling Stone Magazine, “The running joke about documentary films is often how long they take to make. This film lived up to all those stereotypes, taking us four years to develop and make it.”
But then Malloy’s statement proceeded to tie-in how the struggles that pushed Wallace towards a life in the streets still persist in present-day America. “Through those years we were immersed in Brooklyn in the 70s through the 90s. It is easy to see how much Brooklyn has changed since Christopher Wallace was a kid, but it’s also clear that many things about being a young black man in this country have not changed.”
Netflix released the following statement about the film: “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.”
Wallace’s son C.J. shared with People Magazine how much more his father was than just hip-hop royalty or the GOAT lyricist. “He is this huge iconic figure, and it’s hard to separate the human from the icon sometimes,” he said ahead of his father’s posthumous induction. “If the world doesn’t know anything about Christopher Wallace, it’s definitely that he had a good heart and he was a great spirit.”
Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell will premiere on Netflix this coming March 1.