NOTE: This spoiler sent in by Frances
The movie opens with Biggie (Jamal Woolard) talking and the title NOTORIOUS spanning the screen. Then it shows a very loud and large party and Biggie’s song “Hypnotize” is playing. A guy tells Biggie that he can’t wait for the new album and congratulates him, pouring him champagne. Later outside Biggie is in a car with his friends and “Going Back to Cali” is playing and his friends are all happy and excited and one says that they’re back on top. The traffic light turns red and while the car is stopped, the guys holler at some girls on the sidewalk. Then we hear a gunshot. We hear Biggie’s voice and he says that in the beginning God gave him a clean slate, and we see flashbacks of Biggie’s life. Then Biggie says “But where I grew up I knew I couldn’t stay clean. If you were a nice boy then you were an easy target.”
The movie flashes back to Biggie as a boy (Christopher Jordan Wallace Biggie’s son in real life) when he was known as Christopher Wallace, maybe around 9 years old in private school uniform during recess. He and his friend Damion (Jasper Briggs) are reading at a rap magazine and idolizing rappers such as Fab 5 Freddy and Kurtis Blow. Damion goes up to a girl and tells her that he’s going to be in a magazine some day. The girl says that Christopher cant be in a magazine because he’s too black, fat, and ugly, and she walks away laughing. Christopher is clearly hurt by this remark and shouts that at least he doesn’t have train tracks on his mouth, since the girl is wearing braces.
Christopher and his mom Voletta Wallace (Angela Bassett) are walking down the street and she is praising him for his excellent grades in school. Older Biggie is doing a voiceover and says that he grew up in a bad neighborhood and the only time that his mom would let him off the stoop was when she was walking him home from school, meaning she was very protective of him.
A guy (Cyrus Farmer) is waiting for them in front of their home and the mom is surprised and tells Christopher that the man is his father. Christopher is watching his parents in the kitchen and his dad slips his mom a $100 bill and the mom is angry at him for giving such a small amount and that he’s not trying to be a part of Christopher’s life. He leaves and Christopher listens to some rap music.
Voletta comes in and Christopher asks if he was coming back and Voletta says she doesn’t think so. Christopher cries and Voletta comforts him.
On the stoop Christopher is writing rap lyrics down venting about his dad. Two guys pass by with big gold chain necklaces and he says that’s when he decided that he was going to stop being that kid on the stoop. He goes up to his friend Damion, now known as D-Roc (Dennis L.A. White) to teach him how to deal drugs. By the time he was 17 Biggie says that he wasn’t an ordinary kid, he was paid. A teenage Christopher is in his room with a plate full of crack and his mom barges in. He hides the plate under his bed and tells her that he was praying. He asks why they have to listen to corny old country music and she says that she likes the music and they tell good stories. She wants to know who he was talking on the phone with last night and he says Jan (Julia Pace Mitchell) and it sounds like they are getting serious. Christopher asks his mom how much a garbage man makes and she said 28,000 and asks why and he says no reason and his mom drops him off for school.
We see Christopher on the roof of a building unlocking a big box. In the box is a bunch of jewelry and nice clothes and shoes. Christopher changes out of the outfit that he had on and puts on expensive looking sneakers and a gold necklace and some rings; he is hiding the clothes and jewelry that he’s been buying from drug money so that his mom wouldn’t get suspicious. Lastly, he puts a gun in his pocket.
We see him at school where he volunteers to go up to the board to do a math problem. He gets the problem right and his math teacher Mr. Webber (David Costabile) says it’s impressive and that he looks smarter than he looks. Christopher brings up that Mr. Webber had told him before that he was going to grow up to be a garbage man. On the board Christopher writes his own math problem that shows that a garbage man makes more than he makes as a teacher and that he’s a dumbass. The class laughs and high-fives him. Mr. Webber tells him to get out of his class.
Later that night, Christopher is at a restaurant with Jan (Julia Pace Mitchell) and she says that she’s pregnant. Christopher is clearly worried about this and says damn. Jan becomes angry that he reacted this way and thought he was gonna be happy. He says that he is and is going to support her. Jan is glad to hear that he is not treating her pregnancy like it would ruin his life and gives him a kiss. Christopher is clearly still anxious about it though.
The next day D-Rock and Christopher meet a guy named Primo (Jermaine Denny) on the street. Primo heard about Christopher’s rapping skills and challenges him to a rap battle. Primo raps first, then Christopher takes the mike and Christopher clearly wins the battle.
Christopher gets home and his mother is sitting in the living room looking angry. He comes in gives her a kiss on her head and shows her that he got her a record album (“the corniest country album I could find”). His mom shows him that she got a letter in the mail saying that he had missed 20 days of school in the last month. Christopher says that he tried and says that he cant see himself in school and that he has more important things to do and tells his mom that Jan is pregnant and that he’s going to be a father. His mom is angry and thinks that he’s still a boy and that she didn’t come to the country just to take care of him and cleaning up after him, like plates of mashed potatoes under his bed. When Christopher heard this he realized that his mom unknowingly found his stash of crack under his bed and runs in to check for it. His mom told him that she threw it out and it was disgusting. Christopher hurriedly runs to the trash to get it out and tells her that it wasn’t mashed potatoes. She figures out that he’s a drug dealer and Christopher says he’s a man and shows her his money. His mom slaps him and tells him to get out.
Christopher takes some things and leaves his house and works harder at dealing drugs. While D-Rock refuses to sell drugs to a woman across the street because she’s clearly pregnant, Christopher goes up to her and sells her crack. He becomes an even higher up drug dealer in the hierarchy by having 4 guys below him dealing his drugs and that he didn’t do anything but count his money but then he slipped up and got caught.
His mom gets a collect call from jail. It’s Christopher who says that he needs her help and she says no because he got himself into the mess. She tells him to close his eyes and they pray together. In prison he started to write in a notebook about his life and we see time going by through the photographs and papers on his cell walls, we learn that Jan gave birth and that it’s a girl and we see that he has filled up a bunch of notebooks with his writings.
Finally, Voletta welcomes Christopher home after his sentence ended. She takes him to the room where Jan and his daughter is. Christopher is clearly happy and his mom cries and tells him he’s going to be a great father.
Later that night Christopher meets up with his old friends. One asks him what he’s going to do now that he’s out. Being that he didn’t want to get in trouble for drugs again he still wanted to make money to support his daughter. He starts to rap and all the guys are impressed at his rapping. One of his friends notices that he says Biggie Smalls at the beginning of his rap (where his nickname originates) and a guy says that if he keeps rapping like that then they’re going to have to start recording so Biggie tells him to put a tape in. He raps some more and everyone gets really into it.
Christopher meets up with a music producer; Puffy (Derek Luke) and his friends introduce him as Biggie Smalls. Puffy asks what story he’s trying to sell and Biggie says he wants to tell the story about an average boy from Brooklyn. Puffy asks Biggie if he still deals drugs and since Biggie doesn’t answer, Puffy tells him that he doesn’t want to sign an artist who could get locked up for selling drugs. Puffy warms up to him and he finds out that Biggie is only 19 and promises Biggie that by the time he turns 21 he’ll be a millionaire and talks about how they (in the East side) are losing in the competition with the West coast rappers such as Snoop and Dr. Dre and they’re waiting for someone like him to represent the East coast. Biggie says he’s in.
Biggie is coming out of a shop and greets a woman, who becomes known later as Lil Kim (Naturi Naughton) calling her Big Mama and flirts with her. We learn that he’s been greeting her everyday and asking her about her day. She says “Whatever you say Big Poppa” and they flirt some more. He asks if she wants to get something to eat.
A few moments after Biggie is having sex with Lil Kim and only after does she ask if he’s seeing someone and he said it’s too late to ask that. The girl says that she was and he says that he’s going to take care of her.
Puffy comes and tells him that he got fired from Uptown Records. Biggie is mad because he thought that he was really going to be a rap star. Puffy says that he has some shows lined up for him but not really any big crowd ones until later and tells Biggie not to go back to dealing drugs because his (Puffy’s) father died from doing that.
Despite Puffy’s advice, Biggie goes back to dealing. During one drug deal the cops catch him and D-Rock and they try to run away. While running biggie drops his gun into a trashcan. The cops catch them and bring them to the headquarters for interrogation. Chris and D-Rock both deny that they own the gun and the cop interrogating tells them that there is no way that both of them were going to walk out. Chris and D-Rock fight over who gets the blame in that they were both being selfless and both wanted to take the blame. D-Rock is going to take the blame because he says that he’s going to get a lighter sentence than Biggie who’s already been to prison, and he believes that Biggie is going to make it in the rap business and become famous and tells him “when you make it, we all make it.” The cops come back in the room and D-Rock takes the blame.
A newly motivated Biggie tells Puffy that he needs to start making records now. They go to a recording studio and Biggie starts rapping. He is so good that Puffy say that he is ready.
At a large venue Christopher is introduced to the crowd as Biggie Smalls or the Notorious B.I.G. and everyone cheers for him. He says he felt that he owed it to D-Rock and to himself to do well. He sings “Party and Bullsh*t” with his friends in the background doing a little skit where they pretended to fight but then they all dance again.
Biggie’s at a really nice house hanging out with Tupac (Anthony Mackie) and there’s a party going on and he talks about the girls all eyeing him. Even though he could have any girl at the party he goes to Lil Kim and shows her that he’s only looking at her.
Biggie and Lil Kim are done having sex and are putting their clothes back on. She’s singing along to Biggie’s album that’s playing and he tells her that she has a nice voice and to keep singing. She thinks that he’s making fun of her so she freestyle raps and Biggie tells her it’s good but that since she’s a girl it should be more sexy than gangster and to loosen up. She freestyles again but this time more like what Biggie advised her to do and he loves it.
Later Biggie and his mom are arguing about him breaking up with Jan as well as being a rapper. Mark (Kevin Philipps) tells his mom that he’s going to make sure that Biggie’s doing the right thing and Biggie mentions that he’s thinking of making Mark his manager.
Biggie and his mom talk privately and his mom tells him that they found a tumor on her chest and Biggie is in denial and doesn’t want to hear his mom tell her that she might not live so he leaves the house before she could finish.
Mark notices that Biggie hasn’t been talking lately and Biggie opens up about his mom having breast cancer. Mark said that he was only 15 when he lost his mom to cancer, and tells Biggy that he has to be strong for his mom.
Puffy has a party to celebrate the creation of Bad Boy Records. Biggie pulls him aside and Puffy asks how his mom is and he says that she’s getting her strength back. Puffy gives Biggie a check for being an artist signed on his company.
At the recording studio they are listening to his playback and he says he wants that for his first single. Puffy plays “Juicy Fruit” performed by James Mtume and Biggie doesn’t think that the song is going to be good put together with his song. Biggie says he needs Pepsi, more weed, and some females if they want the track done.
After the small party, Biggie is back in the studio rapping what we all know now as “Juicy.” Everyone is impressed especially when they see that he doesn’t have anything written down.
At the album release party, Biggie comes in a pinstripe suit; everyone knows who he and Bad Boy Records are. Puffy in an all white suit goes on stage and thanks Biggie for making Bad Boy Records happen. Biggie has Tupac come up to the VIP section and Biggie tells him to be careful about the company that he keeps. A video camera starts taping them and Tupac tells the camera that he and Biggie are going to take the rap world by storm.
Biggie is lounging in a really nice bathroom when Lil Kim comes in and shows him the outfit she wants to wear for her first concert (we should assume that Biggie got Lil Kim signed on to Bad Boy Records). He tells her to make the outfit sexier by getting rid of the shirt and wearing just the suspenders.
At a Bad Boy Records photo shoot, Biggie notices Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) and tries to flirt with her but Faith Evans denies him and says she doesn’t need him right now. He continues to flirt with her and she warms up and shows him her daughter China.
Biggie and Faith take a walk and talk about what they were doing before they got into music. She warms up to him even more and beatboxes while he raps and Biggie ends up kissing her.
Biggie is famous and there are a lot of people who showed up at a store where he was doing a signing. A fat guy thanks him for making them all look more attractive, a guy thanks him for representing the drug hustlers of Brooklyn and a girl makes him sign her boob and a group of girls tell him that they love him. Faith is at the signing with Biggie and Biggie tells her that he loves her.
Biggie and Faith Evans get married.
At the recording studio, Faith and Biggie are acting like a couple while Lil Kim is recording and there’s clearly tension between Lil Kim and Biggie. Faith leaves the room and Lil Kim starts to rap like a gangster instead of the way that Biggie taught her and Biggie gets angry at her for telling everyone explicit things about their sex lives so he comes in and pushes her to the wall. Lil Kim is angry that he married Faith and wants to know what he sees in her. Biggie avoids the question and just tells her to do the song.
Biggie’s is performing “Juicy” at a concert with a huge crowd and everyone loves him. Meanwhile, Faith is at home and the doorbell rings. It’s Jan with her daughter and wants to know where Biggie is and tells Faith to tell Biggie to visit her daughter once in a while.
That evening, Faith and Biggie are talking on the phone and Faith tells him that his ex came to visit. Biggie says he does visit his daughter when he can and that he gives them money. Faith says that giving money isn’t the same thing. Biggie tells her that Mark’s using his hotel room so she shouldn’t call after (in the background we see a girl in Biggie’s bathroom). Faith is suspicious but seems like she brushed it off and hangs up.
Faith comes to Biggie’s hotel room and gets the girl inside with Biggie to open the door by pretending she’s housekeeping. She sees Biggie in bed and is angry, beating the girl and screaming at Biggie. Biggie tells her to stop and Faith leaves crying.
At the studio Biggie comes in while Faith is recording and it sounds like she’s singing to him and they’re both sad. Later, Biggie and Faith make up. Still, there is conflict between Lil Kim and Biggie as Lil Kim is doing a concert and is singing her negative lyrics towards Biggie.
We see that Biggie is getting more and more famous and that his songs are on the Billboard charts and he’s doing more photo shoots.
Biggie meets up with Tupac and they play billiards. Tupac says that a kid came up to him and told him that he was his hero. Tupac says that he told the kid that Malcolm X or Dr. King. Clearly, Biggie and Tupac are really good friends.
One night Lil Cease (Marc John Jefferies), a young kid working for Biggie sees Tupac outside of the studio building and goes down on the elevator to let Tupac into the building. When he gets to the floor however, Lil Cease sees people beating up Tupac and the guy beating him up points the gun at him and tells him to go back into the elevator. Lil Cease goes back upstairs and tells Biggie that Tupac is getting beat up so Biggie goes downstairs to help him. By the time he got there though, Tupac was out of the building and the cops come and think that he was the one who beat up Tupac. Tupac didn’t see who assaulted him and now doesn’t trust anyone, even telling Puffy to back off of him and became suspicious of everyone especially his friends.
The news is reporting that Puffy and Biggie were behind the Tupac beating. On top of that one of Biggie’s friends is getting charged for sexual abuse.
At the Source awards, Suge Knight (Sean Ringgold) the CEO of Death Row Records (West Coast record label rivaling Puffy’s label) insults Puffy and Bad Boy Records and Puffy tells his group that they have to rise above this.
Lil Cease is waiting outside in the car for Biggie and is listening to a radio program talking about the feud building up between Biggie and Tupac, how the fans are taking sides, and how it’s becoming an East coast versus West coast rivalry. Biggie comes out and the kid shows him a magazine with Tupac and Biggie’s wife Faith on the cover and plays him a tape of Tupac’s song “Hit ‘Em Up” where Tupac claims that he had sex with Biggie’s wife.
Biggie barges into his home while Faith is doing an interview and starts throwing things scaring her into locking herself in a room. He knocks on the door angrily asking if she slept with Tupac. Mark tells him to calm down and to leave.
At Puffy’s office, they tell Biggie that he is doing what Tupac wants him to do by being angered at his songs and that Biggie needs not to attract attention from the media.
Faith is packing her stuff to leave because she says she doesn’t even know who Biggie is anymore and that he should have asked her about the Tupac thing like a man. Apparently they just took a photo together and that was it. Biggie tries to get her to stay but she leaves anyway.
Biggie is getting ready to perform at a concert and has a temper tantrum about the shoes he was given to be too small. He talks with Puffy and they talk about how the media is playing up the rivalry and how they want to still be standing after this thing blows over. Someone gets Biggie the right size shoes and he performs.
After the show they are leaving the venue when a car pulls up and Tupac is screaming about how Biggie was the one behind the incident and showing his West Coast pride. Security comes with guns and the photographers are shooting the footage between the apparent rivalry and Tupac drives away. Voiceover Biggie says that he and Tupac should’ve gone somewhere alone and talked about it, but they didn’t because they were both beyond that.
A video montage goes on showing how the magazines are playing up the rivalry and how the rap fans are taking sides and have explicitly negative feelings about the other “coast.”
Biggie is rapping at a concert with Mecca when a bunch of people at the concert start booing him and show their support for Tupac. Biggie gets angry and plays the song “Who Shot Ya?” which the media implies was Biggie implicitly saying that he shot Tupac, and winning the crowd back.
Lil Cease is watching TV when the news comes on saying that Tupac was shot while in a car with Suge Knight. We see Biggie with a newspaper saying that Tupac is dead at 25 and he is talking to his mother, saying that he thought he had more time to straighten things out with Tupac. Later he watches the video of him and Tupac at the party when they were still friends and is silently crying.
Lil Cease is driving Biggie somewhere when they get in a car crash. Biggie is in the hospital when D-Rock visits him. He has just gotten out of prison and Biggie tells him that he has some money for him for taking the blame those years ago. D-Rock says he didn’t do it for the payoff and talks about the price of fame. D-Rock leaves and Biggie is left contemplating his life.
Biggie is out of the hospital and is spending time with Jan and his daughter Tyanna (Taylor Dior). Lil Kim tries to go visit him but since his daughter is there he tells her not to come. Lil Kim says she’s tired of him treating her badly and hangs up.
Biggie is back with Puffy but says he wants to do something different. Puffy and Biggie are listening to “Sky’s the Limit” on playback and Biggie laughs and says that he did it and that he’s the greatest.
Biggie gets a wakeup call from Puffy saying that he’s going to LAX. Biggie is talking to his mom on the phone and she says that she doesn’t want him in L.A. and Biggie says that he is just there to promote. Biggie says that she’s proud of her getting her master’s degree while dealing with cancer. His mom says that she wants him to be careful. Biggie is in L.A. with Lil Cease coming out from a tattoo shop and he is getting death threats through Lil Cease’s cellphone. Biggie is planning to have his children come to L.A. with him.
It is back to the “present” time--the party scene that was the beginning of the movie. It is the Vibe Magazine party and “Hypnotize” is playing. Voiceover Biggie says that that night he was thinking that all his life he was trying to be man but that night he felt like he didn’t need to try and that for some reason it felt like God was giving him a clean slate.
However, the party ends early because the fire marshal deemed the place a fire hazard. Outside Biggie calls Lil Kim and apologizes for being mean to her and that when he gets back to New York, they would talk things out.
He gets in the car and the scene replays of the boys being excited and the traffic light. We see that a car drives by and shoots Biggie in the car beside it and the car with the shooter immediately drive away. Biggie is not moving and they all drive him to the hospital.
It is Biggie’s funeral and we see all of Biggie’s friends and family attending. Mark asks what he can do and his mom tells him that she wants to take her son home one last time. The funeral procession goes through Brooklyn. His mom has a flashback of Biggie at dinner with Faith and his daughter and how for grace, Biggie just says “Thank you” and she thought it was perfect.
Back to present time Voletta rolls the window down and notices that all the people in the city are cheering for him. A voiceover of Voletta saying that her son Christopher Wallace told stories, some funny, some sad, some violent but people listened. She is sad that he died at 24 but finds solace in knowing that before he died he became a man and was ready to live. She said someone in the crowd at that moment turned on the radio and she could hear her son’s voice: it is Biggie’s song “Hypnotize” playing. The movie ends with Christopher Wallace’s birthdate and death date and the note that says that Biggie did not get to see the release of his second album “Life After Death” but that it went on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.