Fox Searchlight finally found its Biggie. They just announced that Brooklyn-based rapper Jamal Woolard, will portray the late rap icon Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., in its upcoming biopic Notorious.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett and Anthony Mackie also have been cast in the film. Luke will play Biggie record producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, who offscreen is an executive producer on the film. Mackie will play rival rapper Tupac Shakur, while Bassett will play Biggie's mother Voletta Wallace.
Woolard, who also is known as Gravy, is not a total unknown. He has released a number of albums, though he's perhaps best known for being shot before a radio appearance outside the New York hip-hop station Hot 97 two years ago, after which he proceeded with the interview and became a part of hip-hop lore.
Like Biggie, Woolard was a drug dealer before he became a rapper. He had released a number of albums on indie labels in the 1990s before being signed by Warner Bros.
Notorious goes into production this month and is set for release in January.