90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Notorious B.I.G: Life, Death, Rhymes

Notorious

The rapper Biggie Smalls grew up Christopher Wallace in Brooklyn with a hard-working, middle-class mom and sterling elementary school report cards.

At 17, he dropped out of school. Dealt crack. Did jail time. Made a hip-hop music demo. Signed with Bad Boy Records. Became “Notorious B.I.G.,” famous hip-hop star, and died in a hail of bullets at 24.

A new film looks at the life and death of Biggie Smalls. This hour, On Point: We’ll talk with its director, George Tillman Jr., and with hip-hop scholar Tricia Rose, about looking at Biggie and hip hop in the age of Obama.

You can join the conversation. Were you big on Biggie? Are you still? Have you seen the film? And where does hip hop go when there’s an African American in the White House?

Guests:

From Los Angeles, we’re joined by George Tillman Jr., director of the new film “Notorious,” about the life and death of Biggie Smalls. Tillman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and studied film at Columbia College in Chicago. His 1992 short film “Paula,” about a 17-year-old African-American single mother, won the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Student Academy Award and the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame Award. He went on to direct the feature films “Scenes for the Soul” in 1995, “Soul Food” in 1997, and “Men of Honor” in 2000.

And from Providence, Rhode Island, is Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and author of the books “The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop — and Why It Matters” (2008) and “Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America” (1994).

More links:

Update: You can read the latest on the release of the Smalls’ autopsy here

See the official “Notorious” site. Also worth visiting is MTV’s main B.I.G. page.

You can watch the film’s trailer here:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 20, 2014
A shot from the AMC reality series, "Freakshow." (Jessica Brooks / AMC)

From TV to Broadway, circus sideshows — freak shows — are having a big cultural moment. What’s the history behind the comeback?

 
Nov 20, 2014
In this file photo, Hillsborough Sheriff deputy patrols outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. JP Morgan is one of several large financial institutions currently under investigation for alleged violation of Federal bankruptcy laws. (AP)

You’re supposed to have a clean slate after bankruptcy. But that’s not always true. We’ll ask what’s going on.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: November 14, 2014
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

On why we tweet, what we like and a Miley Cyrus and “Serial” theme song mashup you never knew you needed.

More »
Comment
 
Guest Post: U.S.-China Climate Deal is an Important Step In Long Road Ahead
Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014

After a landmark agreement between the US and China on climate change policy and clean energy development, a recent On Point guest reflects on what’s important in this new deal.

More »
Comment