Was B.I.G. really influential enough to deserve a biopic?

Fanon Hutchinson | 1/14/2009, 5:47 a.m.
Perhaps the most highly anticipated film of the new year, “Notorious” chronicles the life, times and death of...
Perhaps the most highly anticipated film of the new year, “Notorious” chronicles the life, times and death of hip-hop legend The Notorious B.I.G. (played by Jamal Woolard, pictured). Writer Fanon Hutchinson looks at the hype surrounding the film and asks: Does B.I.G. merit such treatment? Fox Searchlight Pictures

The content remains largely the same on Biggie’s second album, “Life after Death,” though the tone is less bleak, because now he has “made it.” There are fewer hard luck tracks and more songs dedicated to the credo, “Let’s party, drink champagne and sleep with random chicks.” He even has the good sense to include a how-to song on the rules of selling drugs (“Ten Crack Commandments”). This is just what black youth need. There are, however, a few notable songs on “Life after Death,” such as “Notorious Thugs,” which pairs Biggie with the rapid-fire delivery of Bone Thugs and Harmony and showcases his impressive ability to go toe-to-toe and bar-for-bar with the nimble-tongued Cleveland rap quartet.

Don’t misunderstand: I don’t think that Biggie was without talent. On the contrary, I think he was a very skilled wordsmith. But to label him as “the greatest rapper of all time,” as a lot of people has done, is a slap in the face to all of the great MCs that came before and after him who have had more of an impact in the development and evolution of hip-hop.

What about KRS-One? Or Big Daddy Kane? Or a man who I think should be in everybody’s top-five, a person who revolutionized hip-hop music and in my opinion truly took rap to a new level — Rakim? When are the movies about their lives coming out? That shouldn’t be a notorious question.

Fanon Hutchinson is the editor and publisher of “The Truth,” a Los Angeles-based hip-hop and sports blog. For more, visit bighutchbaby.blogspot.com.