Will “Notorious” Mark the Maturation of Hip-Hop Cinema?

notorious-poster-final-bigA lot of people I know laughed at and mocked Notorious when it was announced, calling it a “B-movie” and proclaiming it would be horrible. Given the care taken in making this film as well as the talent involved in front of and behind the scenes, however, I knew that this was not merely a half-assed, let’s-find-another-way-to-profit-off-Biggie trifle.

One of the things I’d always looked forward to was the day hip-hop films matured, when they would outgrow the buffoonery of shit like How High, I Got Da Hook-Up and (*vomit & bile*) Soul Plane. Don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed my fair share of coon cinema. But there comes a point where one must … get better.

Is Notorious that film? Will this be the one to open Hollywood execs’ eyes, to make them see that hip-hop culture has stories that should be told on the big screen, stories that deserve big budgets and marketing schemes, stories that should be given the same prestige as a Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan biopic? Who knows. Variety calls it a “rock-solid biopic” and The Hollywood Reporter says it’s “the first gotta-see movie of 2009. It has terrific performances, a powerful soundtrack and eye-catching visuals.” So, one can certainly hope.

I’ll be seeing the film twice this week: once at a pre-release screening, and again with some friends on opening night. I wasn’t cool enough to get an invite to the real premiere, but I’m not bitter or anything, Fox Searchlight. In any case, I’ll be sure to let y’all know what I think.

[Notorious Review] @ Variety

[Notorious Review] @ The Hollywood Reporter

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