Friday, September 26, 2008

Biggie Smalls is the Illest Pt.2 - Notorious B.I.G. Live at The Palladium Circa 1994

The year was 1994, Nas's Illmatic dropped on Tuesday and myself along with 6 others in my crew were on a plane to New York for the first time, heading to the 1st Annual Source Awards and after party at the Palladium in Manhattan. Hip hop's "Golden Age" was at its peak, Biggie had a single on the Who's The Man Soundtrack and a couple of mix tape singles in the streets...

Deciding not to get ripped off by scalpers selling possibly fake Source Awards tickets, we decide to go to the after party and get there as early as possible. After being greeted by a line wrapped around the building and very high security (shoes off please), we were in hip hop heaven. I can't remember who was spinning, but every track was on point, and I remember the deejay dropping Puerto Ricoooooo...Hooooooo!! and the roof almost flew off of the place.

The Performances..MOP the opening act. "How About Some Hardcore" came on and it was over... people jumping around wildin' out EVERYWHERE. You had to be there to know what I'm talking about. seriously. RZA showed up and got the crowd hype with his signature Wutang chants, but...

Next was Biggie. Never had I seen a cat perform with as much clarity, energy, and support from an audience without even having an album in the stores yet, but, we were in New York and he was definitely the hometown hero for the night. When he yelled "Is Brooklyn in the house!!?" you would have thought all three thousand plus people (and counting) were all from his block up in Bed Stuy. A defining moment for me personally was being surrounded by a crowd of folks (especially the females) that recited EVERY single word to his unreleased single "Dreams" which at the time was an exclusive mixtape (yes, cassette youngsters) only release.

Nas was actually the headliner for the night following his new album release, but after B.I.G.'s performance, cats were so amped that a couple of fights broke out and Nas didn't even get to make it to the stage. Even though it would have been nice to see him perform (especially after bumping Illmatic in my Walkman for the whole week straight), I had no regrets, because Biggie absolutely stole the show.

Reminiscing for a minute,
Junior Star

Biggie Smalls is the Illest Pt.1 - "Notorious" in Theaters 1.16.09

I got a call from my wife yesterday asking "Guess who has a documentary/drama film coming out about them?" I had no idea, being that I haven't been keeping up with new films as of late, but when she said Biggie, I started having flashes of who could possibly portray one of the world's greatest rappers of all time. As soon as I got home, before I even took off my shoes, we checked out, the official site from producer Wayne Barrow, who along with Mark Pitts managed B.I.G. throughout his carreer and who both have worked with Ms. Vonetta Wallace since her son's untimely death to build the "Legacy of Christopher."

I don't want to give too much away because I'd like for the videos to speak for themselves, but to see Ms. Wallace describe how she felt when Brooklyn emcee Jamal Woolard (aka Gravy) walked in for casting is definitely worth the time to watch these clips. Other casting highlights include Faith Evans, Puffy, Tupac, Lil Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A., and others, with Angela Bassett playing Christopher's mother Vonetta Wallace(!). The videos on the crew, props, production, wardobe and more (with updates!) have us so excited that we'll be up in the theater like back when Boyz in the Hood and Juice were released back in the days.

Thank you (in advance) for not bootlegging this film,
Junior Star