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musical observations

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Mar. 20th, 2009 | 10:31 pm

Biggie Smalls' music was actually pretty damn boring; he was an articulate but monotonous rapper, and the beats were dull, production decent enough but uninspired. Why is there a film about him?

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Madeleine

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from: madeleine
date: Mar. 21st, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
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I teach at an inner city school (North Philly. You know what that means because you lived in/near Philadelphia once, didn't you?)

The teens flocked to see the movie because the guy is ruthless, mean, ugly and comes from the same kind of place that they are in now. He flashes money and has excretional taste in clothes. Most importantly he is black and famous.

Why is there a film about him? because there's a whole world of people who will pay serious money to see it, which is the whole point of making a film in the first place.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Mar. 21st, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
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I suppose it's more "out of all the hip hop stars out there why him?" I feel like I've missed something that's resulted in there being a mythology around him that doesn't exist around other people. (Being dead does help with mythology too, granted.)

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Madeleine

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from: madeleine
date: Mar. 23rd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
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interesting. I'll ask the kids their opinion but I suspect there's more herd mentality in their decision to see the movie than actual consideration of Biggie as an artist.

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Bandraoi

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from: bandraoi
date: Mar. 21st, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
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It's because he's another one of rap's "martyrs."

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danalcapone

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from: danalcapone
date: Mar. 22nd, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Biggie Smalls' music was actually pretty damn boring; he was an articulate but monotonous rapper

Fridge: You are wrong :)

Are you much of a hip hop fan? I am (or was - haven't listened to much new hip hop for a year or two). But I was listening to a lot when Big first came out, and for the subsequent decade or so and IMO he was really something special.

Lyrically, he was a cut above his peers - witty, with loads of clever wordplay, killer delivery and an awesome voice. But on a wider level, he managed to articulate the desires/aspirations/dreams/nightmares of his peers and audience. His songs drip with charisma and everything that's incredibly *cool* about being a black male in America - when I listen to his music, I feel that he's presenting his audience with an archetypal/cinematic vision of black America one you can trace through figures like James Brown, John Shaft, Sly Stone etc right the way back to Robert Johnson. If I can get this, as relatively affluent white guy in the UK, how much more must it speak to a poor black kid growing up in the States?

Also, he did this at a time when hip hop was riding it's first real wave of commercial success so he is *absolutely* emblematic of the industry. What happened to him, and the damaged life scripts lived out by his peers like Suge, Tupac et al tells you a pretty fucked up story about race in America.

*Absolutely* there deserves to be a film about him. I don't actually want to go and see - in part because I don't think it can leave up to his music and life - but he's arguably the most important figure in what was the most exciting new music of the last 20 years, and he was gunned down in his prime. The real question to me, is why wouldn't there be a film about him?

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