Dive into the features you want to see

Abortion alcohol alcohol free america Art artist spotlight awards beer Belfast best best looking Best New Music booze Brexit British Cannabis cbd Cheese chocolate Christmas climate change closure Coffee collaboration College Green Comedy cooking counter culture counterculture Cover Story Covid Culture DC Films Derelict Ireland Direct Provision Drink drug Drugs Dublin Dublin City Council Dublin International Film Festival easter Entertainment Environment equality Fashion feature feminism Festival Film First Listen Food gaeilge Gaming General News gift gifts Gigs Graphic Design guinness harm reduction Harry Styles healthcare Heaters Heatwave heist Hennessy Homelessness Housing HSE ice cream Identity instagram Interview introduction to ireland Irish Irish coffee Irish News irishmade justice Justice League Kanye West launch Leonardo DiCaprio LGBTQ+ List Lists Literature Living Hell Lockdown Index Made by District Made in Ireland magdalene laundries meme Mental Health menu merch metoo Michelin mural Music narolane new menu New Music News nightclub nom non-binary nphet One of everything Openers opening openings Opinion Pairing pancakes Photography Pints Podcasts Politics pop up pop ups potatoes Premiere presents Pride queer Ray Fisher reservations Restaurants restrictions rugby Science Shebeen Shite Talk shitetalk signature dish Skateboarding small batch Social Media soup Space Subset sustainability tacos Taxis Technology Television The Big Grill theatre Thumbstopper tiktok To Be Irish Top 10 Tracks Top Ten Tracks Traffic Trans rights Transport Travellers trends TV Ukraine Ultimate Food Guide vegan Visual Art vodka Weed where to eat whiskey wine Women's rights Workman's youtube
Entertainment / March 8, 2021

I watched the Biggie documentary and you should too

Entertainment / March 8, 2021

I watched the Biggie documentary and you should too

By Emily Mullen

The new Netflix documentary documents Christopher Wallace’s origins and the meteoric rise of Notorious BIG. As told by his family, friends, mentors, and allies, the people who decades on miss him most.


What’s the gist: Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell is a heartfelt biopic about how Christopher Wallace became Notorious BIG. It’s a worts and all documentary, which charts his motivations, his intellect, his vulnerabilities, and gives an unabashed view of what drove him. With a touch of social commentary and a dollop of rap history, you get to know Biggie through the people who knew him best. At its core, it’s very much a “Netflix” Netflix documentary. The flow of the narrative, the use of footage, and the hint towards ambiguity at the end, all feel like the familiar Netflix formula. In terms of material, it’s a mix of old hand recorded performances, titbits from Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s antics, old interviews (with a heavy reliance on his final interview), photos from his family archives alongside recent interviews with his friends and family- some shot in unusual locations like resource centers and stores- other’s in on sight locations.

Where can you watch it: Netflix

Where and when is it set: Mostly set in Brooklyn, with an obvious focus given to Bed-Stuy’s Fulton Street. The birthplace of his mother and the home of his uncle and grandmother in Jamaica features. His doomed trip to California is also briefly covered. It tracks Wallace’s childhood in the 1980s, through to his fame as Notorious BIG in the 1990s right up to modern-day with interviews with his nearest and dearest.

Who worked on it: Filmmaker Emmett Malloy partnered with Biggie’s estate manager Wayne Barrow and his mother Voletta Wallace on the film.

Christopher Wallace
Christopher Wallace Estate


Who’s involved: Probably one of the most intimate pictures of Biggie that you are likely to get, Molloy’s partnership with Voletta gave the production unrivaled access to the people closest to the rapper. His closest family were interviewed, including Voletta herself, Biggie’s grandmother, his uncle, and his wife. His oldest friends, mentor saxophonist Donald Harrison, members of Junior M.A.F.I.A., his manager, and several people who worked indirectly or directly with him in the music business, were all interviewed.

Why should we watch it: It would be hard to find a more personalized account of Biggie’s life. We are all familiar with the rough origin story of BIG but this documentary holds some nuggets that even seasoned fans wouldn’t have seen or heard.

Highlights are: Biggie’s mother Voletta’s one-liners and the range of emotions she still feels about her son. Her account of throwing what she thought were “hard” mashed potatoes that were drying in her Fulton Street home into the bin- and her reaction when she heard they were actually crack- was particularly poignant and darkly funny.

Elsewhere on District: 9 empowering female characters that changed our TV screens