Notorious B.I.G. Film Casts Gravy to Play Legendary Rapper

March 6, 2008 10:25 AM ET

The planned Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious has found its star after an open call audition. Brooklyn-based rapper Jamal Woolard, who performs under the nom de MC Gravy, has been cast to star as B.I.G., beating out more than a hundred other Biggies who tried out for the part. Like the man he will be playing, Woolard segued from his job as a drug dealer into that of a rapper. Gravy also earned instant street cred two years ago, when he was shot in the buttocks before a radio appearance outside NY hip-hop station Hot 97's studios, and then proceeded to brush off his wound and go inside for his interview.

Gravy joins a cast that includes Derek Luke (who will play Sean "Diddy" Combs), Anthony Mackie (as Tupac Shakur) and Angela Bassett in the role of Biggie's mother Violetta Wallace. In casting Jamal to play her son, Wallace said, "He is a talented and charismatic actor, and I am excited that he will bring Christopher's character to life" and that Gravy's "charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile" captured the essence of B.I.G. The film, which will be directed by George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor, Soul Food), is due out January 2009.

Related Stories:
Notorious B.I.G. Role Still Open; Latest to Audition Is Beanie Sigel
Notorious B.I.G. Biopic-Makers Searching For Un-Notorious Star
The Everyman Review: Long Train Ride Home - Remembering Notorious B.I.G.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »