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Film / Notorious (2009)

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No dream is too big.

Notorious is a 2009 Biopic about the life and death of Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., starring fellow Brooklynite and rapper Jamal "Gravy" Woolard as Big Poppa himself. The film also stars Derek Luke as Sean Combs, Angela Bassett as Voletta Wallace; Biggie's mother, Antonique Smith as Faith Evans, Naturi Naughton as Lil Kim, and Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur.

Woolard would later reprise his role as Biggie in the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me, eight years later.

Not to be confused with Notorious (1946), a midcentury spy thriller.


I love it when you call me big Troper!:

  • The '70s: Biggie’s childhood.
  • The '80s: Biggie’s teenage years.
  • The '90s: Biggie’s music career.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Violeta does this with Biggie.
  • Badass Boast: The song “Hit Em Up” by Tupac is considered this.
  • Biopic: The film as a whole received mixed to positive reviews, but Jamal Woolward's performance was praised by nearly all who saw it.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Biggie has potential to be good in school, but he skipped classes because he would rather pursue a life as a drug dealer.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: How Christopher Wallace feels about being a crack dealer. But then he goes to jail and his mother refuses to pay his bail, so that he understands the consequences of what he has done.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Biggie understandably hates it when his mother calls him “Chrissy Poo.”
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: D-Rock refuses to sell crack to a pregnant woman, Chris is fine with it.
  • Fat Bastard: Biggie eventually becomes this.
  • Get Out!: Twice in this film.
    • The teacher tells Biggie to get out of his classroom after Biggie compares his salary to a salary of a garbage man.
    • Biggie's mother also tells Biggie to get out of her house after Biggie is revealed to be selling drugs.
  • Good Parents: Biggie’s mother was a loving mother towards her only son. Biggie himself zig-zags this trope with his daughter he had with Jan. He’s accused of being a deadbeat, but he did love his daughter.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Given he only appears twice in the film, Suge Knight is not a major character in the film. But he is presented as creating the East Coast-West Coast Rivalry and seems to have brought out the worst in Tupac.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: The film insists that "Who Shot Ya" was not written as a diss track to Tupac. But Biggie Smalls, decides to embrace it at a concert unfortunately right before Tupac is killed.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Lil Kim and Biggie was this until the latter married Faith.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Biggie resorts to drug dealing to support his baby’s mother, Jan and his daughter.
  • Killed Off for Real: Tupac and Biggie both get shot and killed.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Tupac blames Biggie for being set up to be robbed and shot at Quad Studios.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Faith beats the everloving crap out of the mistress she caught Biggie cheating on her with.
  • Oh, Crap!: Puffy immediately recognizes how awful things will be when Suge Knight's thinly veiled insults to Bad Boy will become the East Coast-West Coast Rivalry.
  • The One Who Made It Out: D-Rock goes to jail so Chris can make it as a rapper. D-Rock later is released and is proud of Biggie Smalls.
  • True Companions: Puffy is this to Biggie, he really does want the best for Biggie. After doubting Puffy could support him, Biggie truly gives up drug dealing and becomes a star.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • While he started off as a decent guy, Biggie starts doing questionable things (beating Lil Kim and his wife Faith) in the climax of the film.
    • Tupac is first seen as a fun, if volatile, guy who is a friend of Biggie. After the Quad studio shooting, he is always extremely hostile to Biggie Smalls, lies about sleeping with Faith Evans, and seems to be escalating the East Coast-West Coast rivalry.
  • Where Are They Now: The pregnant addict is later shown as a sober mother.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Biggie and Tupac eventually become this, as this was the apparent cause of both of their deaths.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Biggie attacks Faith after he accuses her of sleeping with Tupac.