A First Look At A&E’s “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” Documentary

From the humble beginnings in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood to his untimely death at just 24 years old, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace’s life was nothing short of controversial yet inspiring. The documentary, directed by Mark Ford, is the first biography to be authorized by B.I.G.’s estate. Including never-before-seen footage from his early days, to his rise to fame with Bad Boy, even unheard audio of the late rapper. The exclusive screening was held July 13 at Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Dine-in Theater, and was presented by the 13th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Throughout the documentary, lyrics to some of Biggie’s most classic songs are followed with bright, visual interpretations. Featuring commentary from those close to the Brooklyn native such as childhood friends, Lil’ Cease as well as several other members of Junior M.A.F.I.A., Jay Z, Nas, Diddy, Faith Evans, his mother, Voletta Wallace, and more. They all painted a picture of what B.I.G. was like in his personal life versus how he appeared as both a rapper and celebrity. Even showing some interactions with former friend-turned-rival, Tupac Shakur.

Chronicling Biggie’s years from early childhood to his rise to fame, the documentary takes an up-close and personal look at the late rapper’s life. Even showing unreleased clips of rapping during his teen years before meeting Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy) and signing to Bad Boy. In fact, it was veteran DJ Mister Cee who brought the two together, after hearing Big’s demo tape. The rapper even admitted to not wanting his mother to learn of his hustling ways, which almost cost him his record deal. Before the world knew him as The Notorious B.I.G., people close to him, especially those who lived near his home on St. James Place and Fulton Street knew him simply as “Biggie of Fulton Street”, as he was the type of person to show love to everyone.

The documentary also offers a glimpse of what life was like for him during his days at Bad Boy Entertainment, not to mention how “Juicy”, arguably his most popular record almost didn’t happen. Even the story of how the now infamous East Coast/West Coast rivalry began from the fateful nights at Quad Studios and the 1995 Source Awards.

As a whole, the documentary is one to look forward to as it shows a more personal aspect of Biggie’s life, and how twenty years after his death he is still recognized as one of the greats. The documentary will air September 4th on A&E as part of the network’s Biography franchise.