“I look at myself as the eyes of the world. You know, I gotta tell my story.” -Biggie

When you come from the ghetto, it’s an accomplishment in itself to have survived the dangerous obstacles that block your personal path to achievement. If there is one Hip Hop moment that always stalls my nostalgic ego tripping, it’s when I have to relive the moment when I heard that The Notorious B.I.G, aka Biggie Smalls, was killed.

His life, music, and untimely death had a tremendous effect on me as a young man. 

A&E’s “Biggie: The Life of The Notorious B.I.G”, which premieres tonight, Monday, September 4th at 8:00 PM EST, had a lot to live up to when it came to memorializing the legacy of the great “Frank White”.

Biggie: The Life of the Notorious B.I.G. - Official Trailer | Premieres September 4 | A&E

'Biggie: The Life of the Notorious B.I.G.' offers a look into the life of Biggie Smalls, as the biggest names in hip-hop, including Jay Z, Nas, 2 Chainz, Mike Will, and T-Pain, talk about the late rapper's legacy.

The documentary serves as the inaugural project to premiere under the recently relaunched “Biography” banner. Directed by Mark Ford and noted as the first biography authorized by the estate of Christopher Wallace, the film was promised to be the most revealing that anyone has ever seen. 

With interviews ranging from his mother Voletta Wallace, his widow Faith Evans, Jay-Z, Nas, Puff Daddy, and others, I was what one might call “cautiously excited” to check it out.

Having seen numerous documentaries on Biggie, this is hands down the best. Where other productions focused more on Big as the celebrity or the mystery behind his murder, A&E’s piece unearths the soul of what he meant to his family, friends, and the culture. 

The best part of this documentary is the fact that it is, in so many ways, narrated by Biggie himself. 

Using audio/video from various interviews, Big is able to give you a true account of the events being covered here. You as a viewer are able to hear his take on growing up without a father, his relationships with the women in his life, and his success as an rap artist. It truly gives the documentary a sense of integrity that goes unmatched.

Nas on Biggie's Legacy | Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. | A&E

Nas talks about coming up in the industry at the same time as Biggie, and the legacy the late rapper left behind. #LifeOfBiggie Subscribe for more from Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.

The visual style of Biggie’s lyrics, weaving in and out of the narrative, adds to the authenticity of the piece, allowing the viewer to understand the context in which these bars were created.

Another credit to the film is the usage of rarely seen footage of “Fat Chris”, which is how everybody referred to him around his way. Seeing a video of Big from 1986, with a flat top, rapping into a camera with the same charm and confidence that he was known for was dope. 

I’d never seen that before. It brought a smile to my face instantly. Learning that Biggie’s first recording experience was in the production studio of Jazz Saxophonist Donald Harrison, who lived a couple of blocks from where he grew up, was another gem of information.

The documentary covers Big’s humble beginnings as a emcee - from linking with DJ 50 Grand to meeting Mister Cee, to eventually auditioning for Puff Daddy. Big was still in the street and this blessing would change his life forever. Some fans are well aware of how Biggie came to be known as the “King on New York”, but it’s the minor details that breathe new life into his “Ashy to Classy” story.

Relationships are somewhat the backbone of this documentary. His big brother-little brother relationship with Lil Cease, his undying love and admiration for his mother, and his complicated marriage to Faith, it all played a role in the makings of the man and his music. 

Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. - Everyman Promo | Premieres September 4 | A&E

'Biggie: The Life of the Notorious B.I.G.' offers a look into the life of Biggie Smalls, as the biggest names in hip-hop, including Jay Z, Nas, 2 Chainz, Mike Will, and T-Pain, talk about the late rapper's legacy.

One person that was left out, in a way, was Lil Kim. Though she does show up in the film via archived footage and interviews, it becomes disappointingly clear that she didn’t want to be involved.

Outside of his closes friends, you get to hear a lot from contemporaries like Nas and Jay-Z. They too had a close relationships with Big. The film also covers how Biggie and Tupac met, the love they had for one another, and how things went bad after the infamous shooting at Quad Studios.

Biggie: The Life of The Notorious B.I.G is must-see television. It is an intimate journey through the life and times of one of hip-hop’s greatest emcees. 

After watching it, you will emerge with a greater understanding and appreciation for what he was able to accomplish in such a short life. The lives touched in Brooklyn and around the world are undeniable. 

As a Hip Hop fan, it was gratifying to watch what he created, and how it still lives on through all of us.

We’ll Always Love Big Poppa!