So the title role in Fox Searchlight’s long-gestating Notorious B.I.G. biopic has finally been cast, and it’s… Brooklyn rapper Gravy, best known as the dude who allegedly took a bullet in the buttocks moments before a radio interview on Hot 97 a couple years ago. My first reaction – and I say this as a dedicated New York rap head – has gotta be, “Who?”
Back around that whole shooting incident, no less an authoritative rap blogger than Nahright’s Eskay mocked Gravy as “a C-List rapper” whom “you’ve probably never heard of,” and his hip-hop career hasn’t exactly taken off since then. Now Eskay’s pointedly wondering whether Gravy has any acting chops to speak of – a fair question, but one on which I’m willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, since I’ve never seen him act. I have, however, seen him rap, and the few tracks I’ve heard are strictly cookie-cutterN.Y.C. mixtape-goon stuff. Go ahead and check out a representative (and NSFW) clip for yourself below. Okay, he’s not (quite) the world’s least charismatic performer. But honestly, beyond the very slight physical resemblance (hey, a pudgy guy ina hat!) and the fact that he puts words together overbeats, Gravy isn’t a very strong contender for the “next Poppa” title. His voice doesn’t even sound anything likeBiggie’s! Am I wrong to hope they just have Gravy lip-synch in the movie?
Of course, I could be wrong. Gravy could turn out to be a hip-hop Laurence Olivier. (Hey, I didn’t really expect Diddy to make much of an actor, either, and he turned out pretty well.) But you’ve gotta assume that rapping is a fairly important part of this role — and right now, this seems roughly comparable to casting Aaron Carter in an 8 Mile remake. Anyone not feeling underwhelmed by this choice?