March 2008 Archives
March 7, 2008 6:20 PM
Producers picked BK rapper Gravy to play B.I.G, but the people of Brooklyn have their own ideas. Find out who they think should have the role.
March 6, 2008 12:00 AM
Just three days before the 11th anniversary of B.I.G.'s death a collection of unlikely collaborators are releasing a song paying homage to the late New York rapper.
The song, entitled "Can I Speak to Biggie," features 50 Cent, Bizzy Bone, Bobby Valentino, Chingy, Maino, R&B singer Chris Notez and New York rapper "Hav Boy" Monte. Produced by Monte, the track is the first of its kind not to be affiliated with Diddy's Bad Boy label. [Listen here.]
Monte said the inspiration for the track came from a conversation he had with Mase and Jadakiss, where the three discussed doing a song in honor of Biggie.
"The studio that I work out of is in Bed-Stuy where Biggie was raised, the block that he was on every day," Monte said. "That conversation between Mase and Jadakiss just kept running through my mind so I called a bunch of people that I thought would be great for the record, people who had meaning whether it meant past, present or future."
Monte said the response to this idea was a positive one.
"Everyone that I reached out to was happy to do it," he said. "Nobody even wanted any money for doing this."
Bizzy Bone called his participation a "no brainer."
"I didn't even have to think about it," Bizzy said. "How could I not want to pay tribute to such an amazing spirit and talent as Biggie. It is an honor to be a part of this."
Monte plans to release behind-the-scenes video footage from the recording of "Can I Speak to Biggie." He will also continue Biggie tribute songs each year but with different artists.
Monte hopes that the song will be linked to the upcoming Fox Searchlight biopic on the Notorious B.I.G., whose cast was coincidentally also released today.
"Can I Speak to Biggie" is being released nationwide to radio stations both today and tomorrow.
March 6, 2008 12:00 AM
Brooklyn rapper Gravy has been tapped to play late hip-hop icon Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., in the upcoming biopic Notorious.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Fox Searchlight has hired Gravy (real name Jamal Woolard), to join the star-studded cast, including Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) who will play Sean "Diddy" Combs, Angela Bassett (What's Love Got to Do With It) as B.I.G.'s mother Voletta Wallace and Anthony Mackie (She Hate Me) as Tupac Shakur.
An open casting call saw hundreds of Biggie wannabes trying out for the part of the legendary rapper who was killed in an unsolved L.A. drive by in '97, many of them professional actors.
Woolard won out over the pros in part because he can rap. Executives said they'd rather work with a rapper who can flow than teach an actor how to emcee.
Besides being a rapper like Biggie, Woolard was also a drug dealer before he became an artist. He released a few albums on indy labels in the 90s before inking a deal with Warner Bros.
Voletta Wallace was reminded of her son when she met Woolard, taken by "Jamal's charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile," she said. "He is a talented and charismatic actor, and I am excited that he will bring Christopher's character to life."
The George Tillman Jr. ("Soul Food") directed flick goes into production this month and is set for release in January of '09.
In related news the 11th anniversary of B.I.G.'s death is this Sunday (March 9). SOHH NYC has been celebrating the rappers legacy all week by showcasing some of the artist's greatest videos.