The new documentary of The Notorious B.I.G. Yet this one, contrary to other projects based on the rap superstar, released a side of the legendary hip-hop artist that no one has ever seen.
Netflix has made great documentaries lately. Michael Jordan’sLast Dance didn’t cease to impress and gather much acclaim.
Yet, when it comes to Biggie, the documentary goes beyond expectations. Unlike many other documentaries, TV episodes, or films, Biggie: I Got A Story to Tell delivers a first-person look into the life of the legendary artist.
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell review
So, his story isn’t really new to the general public. A lot of us know the basics of who he was and where he came from. Yet, Netflix’s documentary works, and does a great job, of exposing more.
There are a lot of elements of his work ethic displayed in the documentary. First, they successfully debated his favorite rappers and their flow; Biggie’s favorite being Big Daddy Kane.
Second, they recounted what songs should be sampled, and how intricate should the rhyme patterns be to tell this story.
“Drip” is a vast but powerful concept. Just as hip-hop has permeated almost every dimension of popular culture, it has also had an enduring impact on jewelry drip all over the world.
The resurgence of “The Drip” (use of the phrase in hip-hop shot up 195 percent in 2017), places the contemporary scene in a particular moment in drip history.
Hip-hop in the 80s and 90s
Rappers and athletes of the 80’s/90’s famously pioneered the concept of bling. The first man to popularize hip-hop in the 70’s, DJ Kool Herc also introduced the culture to the power of a few gold chains on an album cover.
In other words, he pioneered what we now call jewelry drip.
Hip-hop originated from the experience of being Black in America. A concept that it has never ceased to reflect.
Lines like “Come with me and we’ll attend their jubilee, And see them spend their last two bits, Puttin’ on the Ritz, ” is steeped in racial prejudice. The lyrics reflect the timely sentiment that Black communities were impoverished due to their inability to spend money responsibly.
The insinuation that jewelry drip reflects the fiscal incompetency of Black people continues to pop up in discourse today. Such criticism ignores the historical significance of jewelry co-opted as a symbol of financial success against insurmountable odds.
Diamond mines in South Africa
Jewelry drip also has the political undertone of reclaiming an industry built on Black labor and resources.
15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs discovered a transparent rock on his father’s farm in December of 1866, and within three years mines along the south bank of the Orange River were producing 95 percent of the world’s diamonds.
All of the mines were controlled by European men. This list includes Johannes De Beers, whose company invented the marketing phrase “diamonds are forever,” and controls virtually all diamonds on Earth today.
The workforce behind this production consisted mainly of Black migrant workers, as did the gold industry in Johannesburg. The gold mining operation in South Africa employed more than 100,000 people, most of whom were Black.
Black designers at the cutting edge of jewelry drip
Black jewelry designers today are working in an industry that has been inaccessible to Black craftsmen for centuries.
One of the first people to crack the industry was Arthur George “Art” Smith, a designer and one of few black students in the 1920s to graduate from Cooper Union.
Art formed a network of mentors that included the legendary Winifred Mason. Mason is considered the first commercial African-American jeweler in the United States.
In an industry that typically requires immense wealth to access training as well as material, the relationship between academic opportunity and Black jewelry designers is immensely important.
Goodwin’s work is a testament to art that has the agency to take on radical storytelling. Hip-hop drip mainstays like Jacob the Jeweler and Ben Baller continue to shape jewelry on the East and West coast.
The history of drip tells the story of perseverance and vision. With talented Black designers taking center stage in the jewelry game, the future looks bright and shiny for drip in jewelry.
Photographs of our favorite late rappers have graced the culture way before social media. And though they have passed on, they have hundreds of images out there, and many of the photographs of those late rappers hold a special place in their fans’ hearts.
Rappers live the rockstar life, pun intended, as clichés of past music idols are evoked through these artists. The photographer, though, is crucial to humanizing those talents in today’s day and digital age.
Years ago, photographers like Anne Liebovitz toured with rock bands like the Rolling Stones and captured some of the most intimate and public moments from the life of greats who have passed, like John Lennon.
Now with the digital era, photography is diluted and more personal – in a public manner.
Photographers have always released posthumous photographs of late rappers
In recent news, Vikki Tobak has launched her very successful exhibit, Contact High: A Visual Story of Hip Hop. Showcasing rappers from all areas of the genre and those who have passed in their quest to be the best MCs, photography is recognized as a key element to hip hop culture.
Contact High chronologically exhibits photography contact sheets from the film cameras of some of the most notable hip hop photographers ranging from 1979 to 2012.
Photographers relish the chance to capture rappers, but sometimes they are gone too soon
Photographers want to shed light on their work and hope to capture eye-catching content with your favorite rapper. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get the chance to meet your favorite rapper, and those late rappers weren’t here long enough to give all of us a fair chance at a meet and greet.
So we look to other photographers to give us the peak we need into the lives of our most favored rap artist. The photographers with access are the internet’s blessing to voyeurism.
Christopher Lee photographed Juice Wrld in Midtown Manhattan in April of 2019, before he tragically passed at age 21, in December of 2019.
Clarke Tolton captured this photograph of late rapper Mac Miller at his home in July 2018 before we lost him that same year in August.
Ryan Lowry photographed Pop Smoke in his neighborhood of Canarsie Brooklyn early in 2020 the same year he passed.
Al Pereira took this photograph of the late rapper Tupac. Here Nas appears in a contact sheet image after seeing Biggie and Pac side by side along with Redman in his circulated photo at the time back in 1993.
Jorge Peniche photographed Nipsey Hussle for a long time and has been through some real moments with the man, even on the day he was released from his probation.
Barron Claiborne photographed of late rapper Biggie and was confident in giving Notorious B.I.G. a persona like no other, like a king, he describes this now-famous image.
Notorious B.I.G. is getting some more respect on his name. A blacktop court at the Crispus Attucks Playground will be named after the late BK legend.
City Councilman Robert Cornegy finally got the green light after making a promise to the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace. According to an article from DNAInfo, Cornegy promised to preserve B.I.G.’s legacy. Cornegy said, “I promised his mother, Ms. Voletta Wallace, I would preserve his legacy, so naming this park after him seems very fitting.”
Cornegy will be cutting the ribbon next month at Crispus Attucks Playground on Fulton St. and Classon Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. According to the Daily News, the councilman was honored,
“This honor is very personal to me. Twenty years later, this comes full circle, this renaming of the basketball courts is in his honor.”
Biggie is partly responsible for putting Bedford-Stuyvesant on the map with his music. B.I.G. never forgot his roots. The rapper always spit hard hitting lyrics reminiscing on the hood he was raised in. According to Cornegy,
“Christopher Wallace’s music put Bedford-Stuyvesant on the map in a billion dollar global industry.”
Before hitting the record stores, Biggie would shoot buckets at the park.
The renaming of the court didn’t come easy and Cornegy had to knuckle up in a contentious debate at a community board meeting. Former public member of the board’s Transportation Committee, Lucy Koteen was one of those haters.
In the latest community board meeting, Koeten pulled up and handed out fliers with B.I.G. lyrics she felt were absurd. According to DNAInfo, she compared Biggie’s legacy to that of Al Capone and Bernie Madoff.
“When we name something, we’re saying this is somebody we should respect or want to emulate,” said Lucy Koteen.
“Would we name it Al Capone Basketball Court? Would we name it after Bernie Madoff?”
Koteen why are you legacy blocking? Da fuq did Biggie do to you? I know he had your kids listening to his music and you were tight, huh?
Either way, Koteen and other detractors were straight dubbed!
The renaming ceremony is set to take place within the first couple of days in August. They are looking to hold the event ahead of the annual basketball tournament held in honor of B.I.G. on August 5.