Notorious: It Was All A Dream

posted January 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM CST | 0 comments

We cant front. Recent news of Lil Kim being enraged over her portrayal in the long-awaited Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious doesnt come as the biggest shock to us. When we spoke a few weeks back to Naturi Naughton, the former 3LW member who plays Kim in the film, she was forthcoming about never speaking to the female rapper for the role. Yeah, the whole thing struck us as odd, too, but who were we to critique the filmmaking process?

Besides, with B.I.G.s mom, Voletta Wallace, Sean Diddy Combs and former wife Faith Evans on board, we knew the meat n potatoes of the life story for one of Hip Hops illest emcees would be in decent shape. And we were right. Notorious director George Tillman, Jr. (Soul Food and Men of Honor) never gets lazy with the lens and simply tells a VH1 special; instead, the man channels 8 Miles lyrical essence and Rays dramatic presence and puts together a fulfilling two-hour tribute fit for Brooklyns finest. Lil Kim might not approve, but any fan who knows the words to Everyday Struggle for damn sure will.

In the following interview sessions, HipHopDX goes behind the music and movie-making with many of the major players in Notorious: Tillman, Ms. Wallace, Naughton, Jamal Woolard (Notorious B.I.G.), Angela Bassett (Ms. Wallace), and Antonique Smith (Faith Evans).

VOLETTA WALLACE
and ANGELA BASSETT

HipHopDX: At what point did you realize your son was turning into something special?
Voletta Wallace:
When he did the Juicy video because I was in the video. He asked me to be in his video. I think he asked me on a Thursday night: Mom, would you like to be in it? I said, Hell no. He said, Please, mom. I said, Get an actress. His words were, Ill get an actress if youre dead. Youre not dead. I would really like for you to play my mother in the video. He went on, and his manager Mark [Pitts] spoke to me and told me it wont be nothing out of disrespect. I thought about it and then [my son] said my granddaughter was going to be in it. She was only 18 months at the time. Okay, if my granddaughter is going to be there, Im going to be there to see my granddaughter. No one else is going to touch my granddaughter. At that point, when I listened to Juicy, I said, Wait a minute. No landlord dissed us. Whats this about? He said, Mom, I was just writing a story, a rags-to-riches kinda thing. When I listened to that song I dont want to call it a song cause if he heard me calling it that, hed kill me- I said, God, who wrote that? He said, I did. I said, You wrote that? He said, Yeah, I did. I told you. So, I let it go. Respect? I gave him extra. But when I truly found out that my son was Notorious B.I.G. the entertainer and the poet was the day of his funeral. I dont want to get mushy today. [She begins fanning her eyes.] I dont want to do that.

DX: You two seem very close. Can you talk about when you all first met?
Voletta Wallace:
I had seen Angela in so many movies. I have a great deal of respect for her. Lynn Whitfield played in [A Thin Line Between Love and Hate] with Martin Lawrence and I said, Damn, I want her to play me. Yes! But then, after a while, I said, No, I want that lady to play Voletta Wallace." Not only that, but the age and the structure of the body and face [was better suited for Angela Bassett]. I saw Lynn nine years ago and thats when I was first trying to do this script. I asked her and she said whenever Im ready [shed do it]. But every time I saw [Angelas] work I saw her angry. I saw her sad. I saw her determined. I saw a woman who loved. I saw a woman who could resent. I said, Damn, thats Voletta! I told my co-producers Mark and Wayne [Barrow] that I would really for them to go and talk to Angela because Im not going to feel good if I [never ask]. If she says no, Ill move on. But if she says yes, shell make my day. Id ask, Did you get Angela? Theyd say, Yes, were trying. Id say, Dont talk to anyone else. I want to talk to her. Id really like for her [to be in the movie. When they told me they reached out to her and shes getting the script and shes considering it, I was hopeful. Then I was home one day and they said, Yes, Angela will do the part. Okey-dokey.
Angela Bassett: It wasnt hard at all. Over the years, Ive seen her in interviews and documentaries and it was just fascinating. Just to observe someone and the strength of mother and character. What I appreciate about humanity is resilience of the spiritespecially when its the worst it could possibly be. That, to me, is really special. When the opportunity came, I think I spoke to George first. He came to L.A. We were able to meet at Faith [Evans] house. I was just so nervous, a little bit nervous and a little bit not. Was I going to be everything [Voletta] imagined? I was just humbled from being asked. Its yours. You didnt have to jump through any hoops. Youre who Id like to do it.
Voletta Wallace: The thing about Angela also, when I met her for the first time, my grandson was told that Angela was coming over. He said, Angela Bassett is coming here? I said, Yes, shes coming. And when she comes in, she says, Hi, son. That really warmed him up. We sat and we chatted. I felt the way she brought that comfort among the kids and the house that I knew her for years. I felt like she was my sister. I thought, God, she looks like Voletta Wallace at a very young age. Her whole demeanor [was familiar]. Like I was telling someone else, while we were talking, Faith said, at one point, she looked around and saw her talking and she thought I was talking. She said, Oh my God. Thats Angela talking.

[Director] George [Tillman, Jr.] says Ms. Wallace was on the set sometimes.
Angela Bassett: All the time. She was wonderful. Shes nothing but supportive in every possible way. It was great to have her.

Voletta Wallace: There are certain things I knew. My son has a tendency to run his nose. Whenever theyre talking, Id call George and go, George, tell him to rub his nose or scratch his head. Tell Angela, when she talks to Christopher to touch him. Im a toucher. I like to touch. When we called him "Chrissy Pooh," he wasnt angry. Ive been calling him "Chrissy Pooh" ever since he could understand words. We shared the Christopher Robbins/Winnie the Pooh books. Thats how "Chrissy Pooh" comes in. He loved it. But then, when he was getting older, he was like, God, mom. Dont let anyone hear you calling me that. He wasnt angry, but he was looking to see if someone was there.

DX: Youve had the challenge and the reward of playing women who, when you portrayed them, were still with us. How do you do it?
Angela Bassett:
I guess I never think about it. I guess, just honestly and with preparation and hard work.

DX: How emotional has this been revisiting this?
Voletta Wallace:
There are certain parts of Christophers life I never knew. There are days I went to the set and Id ask, Did that really happen? I read the script and went no, no, no. They say, Ms. Wallace, we have to do this. Wed do a lil arguing with George and Wayne. There was a lot of Hollywood there. There were things I accepted, but it was hell [going through them]. The funeral scene was hell. I dont know what hell is, but it wasnt pretty.

DX: While doing the movie, what was the one part you found out that surprised you the most?
Voletta Wallace:
His relationship with Lil Kim. Oh God. For most of those (graphic) scenes, I was there but many times Id walk away. Once, I had a filthy mouth but I dont use the F curses. I use stinky and damn. Ill call you garbage in a second. You nasty piece of garbage! But the profanity when I heard it [in the movie], I gotta get outta here. Last night [at the screening] I couldnt get out. It was shocking. But the Kim scene? [Nods her head]

DX: How did you deal with the whole east coast/west coast controversy?
Voletta Wallace:
You have to understand that I have my life of my own. I was thrust into this life when my son died. When my son became Biggie Smalls, Notorious B.I.G. or whatever he called himself, fine, thats your life. He told me, This is not for you, mom. My music? Dont listen to it! And I respected him. I moved on. Tupac [Shakur] called the house so many times. I knew they had a relationship. [Christopher] called him "duke." [Hed say] Im going to see duke. I knew the relationship was good. 'Pac called me "Ma Duke." When I heard about the [beef], I asked my son, Is that for real? I remember when [2Pac] got shot and I said, Why did he have to fight back? My son said the most touching to me. He said, Mom, its so hard when you have to go out there and work and work and someone to come and take it away from and for you just to sit and let them do it, it hurts, mom. I dont blame him for fighting back. My son was 300 pounds, so he knows what it is to work and work till you cant even breathe. I guess he was just putting himself in 2Pacs shoes and vice versa.

NATURI NAUGHTON and ANTONIQUE SMITH

DX: Have you seen her perform? Did you meet her?
Naturi Naughton:
I actually havent met her. The way I picked up on performing was studying a lot of videos and listening and reading a lot. I worked with Tynisha Scott, the choreographer, in just getting the vibe and swagger. I worked really, really hard to capture the essencewithout having her at my side to help me. I just channeled her.

DX: What conversations have you had with the real-life character you portray?
Antonique Smith:
A lot of conversations. She gave me everything about what she was going through emotionally in all the scenes. She let me read the memoirs of her book. I did a lot of research online. I was watching her interviews and her videos. Then I read a lot of the press stories. I had a whole binder-full of stuff the director gave me to study. So, yeah. I got to talk to her a lot. That was wonderful.

DX: Was there anything she said that helped you capture who she was?
Antonique Smith:
You know, the only thing she was worried about was being portrayed honestly. She didnt want come off as mean or any certain kinda way like that. She wanted people to like her. She wanted to be likable on screen. To me, that was pretty easy. If making her happy was all she wanted, thats easy to do.
Naturi Naughton: I didnt get to meet her or speak to her on the phone. I didnt have that opportunity. I just did my best to use the people that were around that situation like Lil Cease [click to read], Junior M.A.F.I.A., all the guys that were there with B.I.G. They were my only resource. They were the people I hung with all the time. I was hangin out in Brooklyn all the time. I went to St. James. I was on Fulton, right there where B.I.G. and Kim grew up, right where he grew up on the corner. I wanted to make sure that I talked to other people.
Antonique Smith: But you know what, Naturi? Thats actually not a bad thing. People dont always see themselves very clearly anyway. Faith was able to tell me what was going on in her head, but as far as people being able to tell you what Kim was like, nobody knows what theyre like.

DX: I know the nude scenes were a lot, but what else where scared of in playing her?
Naturi Naughton:
I think I was just intimidated by how she was just secondary in B.I.G.s life, always being rejected. The emotions that it takes to get there Weve all felt that- was really, really tough cause I havent actually been the other woman or mistress in my personal life, so its hard to go there. But I can relate in just the feelings of what Kim mustve been going through. Being able to show that vulnerability is actually harder cause a lot of people expected Oh, shes gonna do it like this and show the Kim thats hard and always putting on that faade. Its actually harder to show the other side, the side that people dont know, which is actually the most challenging to be vulnerable.
Antonique Smith: Faith and I grew up completely different. We grew up in the same area actually. So, were from the same area, so Id say we have the same swagger in that sense. Her grandmother had foster kids, hundreds of kids. She was with her grandmother. Sometimes with foster kids, its kinda problematic with them with fighting and all that kind of stuff. She definitely grew up different than I did. When she met Biggie, she wasnt, you know. You see it in the first scene when they meet. She wasnt exactly jumping to want to know him. She was like, Hi. Okay, I gotta go. It was very interesting to play somebody whos whole background is very different. I played Mimi [in Rent] on Broadway. She was a drug addict, exotic dancer who had AIDS. Thats completely different from me. And Faith is famous with kids and a husband. All of those things are new. Plus, Ive never lost anybody that was that close the way she lost big. And Ive never had the challenges that she had with Biggie. Weve all been hurt and weve all been lied to, but theres a different level when youre married to somebody. I had the most amazing time bringing that to life.

DX: Were you all actually singing?
Antonique Smith:
Uh huh. That was me. I did my best to change my voice and try to sound as much like her as possible and get all her riffs and inflections.
Naturi Naughton: And that was really me rapping. I did my best to turn into a rapper overnight. It was really, really fun. I got a chance to rhyme, and thats something Ive never done.

DX: Biggie wasnt a very attractive man. Does it amaze you that he was able to get all these women?
Naturi: Naughton:
He had so much swagger.
Antonique Smith: That Brooklyn swagger! He was really charming and boyish.
Naturi Naughton: I wish I had the chance to meet him. Kim really loved Big. The personality he had and how magnetic he was in a room. Like she said- charming. For a woman, feeling like youre special and youre the most beautiful girl [is important]. Even if youre not the only most beautiful girl, if a man can make you feel like that, youre captivated. Thats the kind of thing that catches you beyond the physical.

Director GEORGE TILLMAN, Jr.

DX: How long was the process to find Big?
George Tillman, Jr.:
It took us at least three or four months to find the right people. The most difficult one, obviously, was trying to find the right Big. Coming on as a director, the first thing you think about is who is the best actor out there who has the weight, the skin completion, who can rap and can also take on pretty much all of the obstacles we needed to do to get this movie across as far as dialect, choreography and how Big walked and talked? So, it took a lil time to find the right Christopher Wallace. After the open casting call, we still didnt really find what we were looking for. Then one day Jamal came in. Ms. Wallace happened to be there that day in the room. She said, Thats my son. I was a lil concerned with his acting ability at that time. He never acted. He came in, did some improv and read some scenes. I wasnt convinced. The next thing you know, he came out to L.A., got him an acting coach and he just went from here to there. That was the beginning steps to finding the right guy.

DX: There must have been some funny times, having all these big guys come in to audition
George Tillman, Jr.:
It was weirdest thing, too, cause the first time we had at 400 or 500 people come out but we had to putem all in a line, at least 20 in a line for the first casting. They all just rapped some Biggie. We were like, No, he goes. He can rap. He doesnt work. We just nailed it down from there. And then, when you get those people nailed down, you put them in to do the scenes, a lot of them couldnt act. Or they were doing the Biggie that we all see in the media. That narrow-down process was really tough. For a minute, we felt like we werent going to find him. We went out to L.A. We talked to Guerilla Black, guys who sounded like Big. But it wasnt really working. But Jamal just came out of nowhere. That was a blessing to have someone come from left field. It really worked out.

DX: Was Guerilla Black ever close to being the one?
George Tillman, Jr.:
He came down to at least the top seven. Whats interesting about Guerilla Black is that he sounds just like him but I had a concern that the people would think somebody is just trying to imitate and be just like [Biggie]. He came in. His audition wasnt bad, but there was just something missing, that charisma. I was able to see some of Bigs behind-the-scene footage that D-Rock shot when he was on tour and he just had a lot of charisma. It wasnt anything you saw in the media. I think Guerilla Black was missing some of that. Hes a great guy. But Jamal just came in and there were very much a lot of similarities between the two.

DX: Did you know Christopher personally?
George Tillman, Jr.:
No I didnt know him. The interesting thing is that when I was doing Soul Food, I wanted him to play a small part in Soul Food. Its the weirdest thing. I talked to a casting person and they were just talking, I dont know if you want Christopher, Biggie Smalls in your movie. I hear theres something going on in this east coast/west coast thing. That was the first time I really started hearing stuff about that. It was just about the music for me. It was my first film and I was trying to get Sean Combs on the soundtrack for Soul Food. Its so funny, I was at the hospital for something at Cedars [Sinai Hospital] and I ran into Bigs doctor who was there that night [he was killed], actually trying to bring him back. Its just all these similarities. And I just love the music. I never got a chance to meet him, but I felt like he was close. And then I looked at Soul Food and this movie, it was just connected. Even though theyre two different movies, they were connected theme-wise. I just felt connected the material into him without meeting him. But I felt connected to him.

DX: What drew you to the project?
George Tillman, Jr.:
What drew me to the project, the most important thing, was the music. The second of all were just the themes of the film, you know what I mean? Its not like Soul Food or Men of Honor, films that Ive done, but they have similar themes. But what I love about it is that Christopher represents something thats been going on across the country for many African-American men. The themes were the most important thing for me. I wanted to make a film that really wasnt per se Hip Hop, but it had Hip Hop in it. I wanted to make a film that was dealing with human beings. The only films that I really responded to were Wild Style back in the '80s and 8 Mile, the movie Curtis Hanson did. I felt like there was something missing there. I think thats what really excited me was to try to do something different and try to look at the man instead of the music. What he went through is what attracted me to the project.

DX: At the end of the day, how close do you think you got to the real story?
George Tillman, Jr.:
With this movie, it tells a lot of stories. I think I got 90%, 100% [of Biggie] as the man. Theres another story. Youre dealing with east coast vs. west coast. Youre dealing with whos behind the shooting. That story is still happening. Its still being discovered. We dont know all of those details. People that do know are not talking. That stuff will come out eventually. But one of the things I cant wait to see till the DVD comes out are the behind the scenes of this guy. I wanna show how I match up certain scenes to what Biggie was at certain situations. Youll get it. Youll see how connected we are at really capturing it. With that relationship with Kim and that relationship with Faith, he saw Faith as a movie star. He saw Kim, to a certain degree, as a physical being, but they had a big connection. Thats why those scenes are much more graphic as compared to those with Faith. That shows the dynamic of all the things that he had. He could go there. Thats why we show him selling [drugs] to a pregnant woman. He had those kind of dynamics. Thats what I wanted to show across. I feel really, really strong that we nailed the man. But theres other stories still happening. A lot of that stuff will be coming out and coming close to being revealed in the next five, 10 years.

DX: Was Puff on site a lot?
George Tillman, Jr.:
People were telling me, Dont do the movie. Hes gonna be all up in your stuff. Hes gonna try to direct the movie. It was great. I met him one time out in L.A. It was right before Jay-Zs American Gangster CD [click to read] came out. He executive produced it. We met at a table. He wanted to meet me. I really saw something behind him that I really loved. The one thing he said was, How do you see the movie? I have a lot to lose if the movie doesnt really work. When he said that, I didnt see all of this stuff that you see on TV. I just saw a guy just like myself whos concerned about certain things and concerned about what hes brought to the table over the years. We only talked for 15, 20 minutes and that was it. It really nailed to me what he was really about: A young man whos father passed away. Similar to Big, he had a single mom. He was a guy that had to work hard his whole, entire life, so I felt like, Okay, how do you even nail him on film? And that moment [at the restaurant] made me realize how we could nail him. Hes a guy whos just trying to get to where he needs to be. Hes a guy thats really trying to make something better of his life. The whole thing about selling the dream [in the movie] came out of that conversation. And then I met him about a week before we started shooting, which was kinda tripped out because he had some issues with material in the script. There was one scene he was particularly concerned about and thats when he tells Big he got fired. In the script, hes a guy full of arrogance. But the truth is, when I talked to other people around like Andre Harrell and other people, heres a guy who lost everything. Wheres the next step? We started talking about the scene and I just realize, Heres a guy whos presenting something thats completely different. He said, I was a guy that was full of shit. I was a guy who I thought I knew what I was doing. I was a guy who was arrogant and I lost everything. He was concerned about that. But that was the last time I really talked to him. He came to the set one time and he said, Good job. He saw the dailies. Thats the extent of things. I think he was happy with the way things were going. Also, we showed two sides. He wasnt all that what people came to me to be worried about.

JAMAL WOOLARD

DX: What was your introduction to hip hop?
Jamal Woolard:
The first rap record I heard, I think, would be [LL Cool J]. Thats what turned me on to the rap game. Being from Brooklyn and knowing what B.I.G. did to the game and how he turned the lifestyle upside down and being a fat kid [helped me relate]. You know girls dont want the fat boy. But he added swagger to the game and changed that perception. He wasnt fine or handsome to himself. He told you in the record that Im black and ugly as ever, however That was it for me. The message is Money dont make the man.

DX: So, you had the swag before this?
Jamal Woolard:
I do my thing.

DX: Youre not as big as Chris. Did you have to put on weight?
Jamal Woolard:
Oh yeah. Definitely. I went to "Biggie Boot Camp." Maybe four or five months before casting, I was already in my zone, trying to get there. I already knew the competition. I had already seen a few people they were looking at, the sizes of them. I went from 285 to 340.

DX: That wouldve been a bummer if you didnt get the role?
Jamal Woolard:
Yeah, that wouldve stunk, wouldnt it?

DX: What did you eat?
Jamal Woolard:
Everything. I gained the weight and [learned] the mannerisms, the behavior, the walking pattern, the penguin [stride], the way his feet went outwards, the hand movements, the chin up high, knowing how to talk to Cease, knowing how to talk down to Kim, knowing how to talk up to Faith. He was very apologetic. I did the cotton balls/Marlon Brando-style of method acting, putting them [in the mouth] because [Chris] had an extra piece of meat right here in his chin. That helped the voice also. I read the whole script holding my tongue so that when I went in there on the day of, my voice would be much clearer for the microphone. How he moved his hand and his hand gestures. He wouldnt sit up like this. Hed always crotch back. Hed always be the king of the room. The presence. The speech. The slang. But being from Brooklyn, I cheated with that. We already got our own slang, so it was automatic with that. Being a real ladies man, I was automatic with that. And the swagger, I was automatic with that. Being funny, I was automatic with that. So, there were a lot of good pluses. I just really studied him. I had to get the eye structure. He always twisted up. Being too plain in the face? Thats not B.I.G. He always had something going on in here. All the time.

DX: Can you describe him in your own words?
Jamal Woolard:
Nah, I cant do that. Like I said, Im just acting like him. I couldnt be him. Only he could give me, Oh, that was close, but there are certain things I wouldnt do. I dont know. I just tried to perfect it and nail it. From the rolls in the back of his head. We both had these lil bumps in the back of our head. He rubs it. I mess with them once in a while. He would really mess with them. When he was thinking or something was bothering him, hed agitate them. Hed always mess with nose. I didnt know what that was. I asked his moms what that was and she didnt know. He would always mess with his nose. Whats crazy is that, messin with CJ, his son, CJ rubs his nose all the time. I just really studied that. And how he is around Puff. Hes always looking up to him. Its a certain it would never be hes just too big. Its like a king talking to his peasants. Not saying that others are peasants; its just that nobody is me. Speak to me like Im Shakespeare. His chin is always sky-high. Its never down. I dont know where he gets that from. His mother? When you watch Ms. Wallace, [her eyes] are never straight to you. Its always with her glasses down, like a strong, authority figure.

DX: How was it meeting Ms. Wallace that first time?
Jamal Woolard:
Nervous. But you know? The first time I met her, I didnt meet her that way. I didnt even know she was in the room. By the way the room was shaped, she was over there in the corner. When I walked in the room, Im facing this way cause this is where everything was at. Shes back there and I dont even know whats going on. After they called me back the second time, they told me she was in the room. When I got it months later, [they said] She picked you in the first process. Thanks for telling me nowafter the fact.

DX: Has the acting bug really struck you?
Jamal Woolard:
I love it, man. Its a newfound love.

DX: Have roles started coming in?
Jamal Woolard:
Were coming. Were putting it together. But right now, the change is here. Its about Notorious.

DX: How did your experiences as a rapper help with preparations here?
Jamal Woolard:
You know, doing the rhyme and the style of rap [before] was a plus instead of taking an actor who dont know how to rap and say we need you to learn how to rap. Its a long process. Already knowing that and having the swagger and knowing the lifestyle of the game of Hip Hop, was a great plus that helped me get in there, know what Im sayin?- and really nail it. Being from Brooklyn, being from Bed Stuy, being just a few blocks away, its all in there.

DX: What is it that you think you communicated through your body to help us appreciate who Biggie was?
Jamal Woolard:
I think with Big, everything is in the eyes. He wasnt giving you a lot to let you in. He put the shades over the eyes all the time. Everything was in the eyes. Maybe it was something deeper inside of him [that happened] as a child that made his eye like that. Who knows? I dont know, but I played it like I knew it. I played it like my eye was uncomfortable when I talked to women or I didnt want you to focus on that. Id put the shades on till I get you to love me and then I could take the glasses off cause then it wouldnt matter. Thats a part of being a player. We cant tell you the truth till we get you.

DX: Were you at the funeral?
Jamal Woolard:
Yeah, thats the closest Ive ever been to Big. It felt like we lost the mayor, the President, the hope, the dream. We were living through him. No matter how much money we had no matter if we had a few dollars- we were trying to buy a Coogi hat. We were trying to get to the club to talk to B.I.G. We were trying ask him, How you do it? Can we get on? Tell us sumthin on how we can get out the hood. We just like you. Mayonnaise sandwiches and jars. We just like you. Youre the one setting the blueprint. What do we do?

DX: How much impact has Bigs death had on your Brooklyn?
Jamal Woolard: Big
definitely had an impact on the world! Music aint been the same since. If anything, the music got worse. He was makin messages and stories to relate to everyone. Now people are just makin regular records, regular hood records that have no substance at all. Theres no point to it. Its just rapping. Theyre just sayin anything on a record, ringtone rap.

DX: How does playing him change the way you look at his music?
Jamal Woolard:
I think Im also a fan, too. Im like, Wow, I didnt know the pressures he was going through. I figured everything was all right at home. Hes doing great. I dont hear nuthin about it. His moms wasnt in the public eye like that, so I couldnt figure it out. I felt it was time for everybody to know the man, Christopher Wallace. We already knew Big. I wanted to know Christopher. Do you drop tears? Do you cry, Big? What was your childhood like? This is the story, the story of the man, Christopher Wallace, before he got to Biggie and "Frank White" and Notorious B.I.G. What made him? What was his foundation? What drove him to be that successful? Thats what I think we all want to know as fans of newcomers to the game. What made him? Once you see that he was livin just like us my moms always wants me to do this and do that- the relation is even [stronger]. We already related to him through the music. Now were relating to him as a person. Wow. For the new generation who dont know Big, when you say who the king is between Big and 2Pac, theyre saying 50 [Cent] [click to read] and Jadakiss [click to read] and everything else. Theyre not payin homage. To pay homage and respect to Christopher is well deserved.

DX: What was your own experience with drug and gang culture?
Jamal Woolard:
Ya know, Ive been through struggle. Ive been there before. Im a changed man. I aint been there for a long time. But when you got a child, she gotta eat. You gotta do what you gotta do in the hood. And whats so crazy with the similarities, like I said before, when Big had his child, his life turned around when he got to Bad Boy Records and got the deal. I had my daughter on the set and my life changed. I had her on March 10. Big died on March 9, so its a lot of spiritual things to this. Its real.

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