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Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G. 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0609808351
ISBN-10: 0609808354
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From the same people who brought you vibe magazine?s New York Times bestseller tupac shakur comes the other half of the story that rocked the world: unbelievable, the larger-than-life biography of Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.

In this riveting account of Biggie?s remarkable life, hip hop journalist Cheo Hodari Coker tells the story you?ve never heard about the dramatic, tension-filled world of Biggie, Tupac, Puff Daddy, and Suge Knight, tracing their friendships and feuds from the beginning to the bitter end. Despite the clash of personalities and styles, all four were key players in a volatile and creative era of hip hop, a time when gangsta rap became popular music.

Before he rocketed to fame as Biggie, Christopher Wallace was a young black man growing up in Brooklyn with a loving single mother. An honors student who dropped out of school to sell drugs, Biggie soon discovered that he had a gift for rocking the mike. Coker?s narrative is based on exclusive interviews with Biggie?s family and friends, some of whom have never spoken publicly about Biggie before.

Compellingly written and brilliantly illustrated, with rare color and black-and-white photographs from VIBE?s archives and Biggie?s family, this is an in-depth look at the life and afterlife of an icon whose music is as powerful and prevalent as ever. A virtuoso of flow as well as a master storyteller, Biggie was arguably the greatest rapper of all time. We?ve heard a lot of speculation about Biggie?s death. Now it?s time to remember his life and celebrate his work.

About the Author

CHEO HODARI COKER is a hip hop journalist turned Hollywood screenwriter. His writing has appeared in VIBE, Spin, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Village Voice, Premiere, Details, The Face, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Source, XXL, The Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine, URB, and Rap Pages. He has worked on feature film scripts about Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, and Marion Barry for Warner Brothers, MTV Networks, and HBO.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609808354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609808351
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Boop on May 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am so glad that I read this book. This book glorified Biggie as a everyday fella not a superstar. How good of a person he was and what he did for others including the ones that hated on him, which were many.
This book gave a first account on how he went for "ashy to classy" and how hard he tried to keep it once he found out that he really had talent for music rather than talent for selling crack.
What I didn't know, but really didn't surprise me was how much of a playa Biggie was. He had his wife Faith, Lil' Kim and Charlie Baltimore and I am going to say that it was more than that. It bugged me out him and Faith never even spoke to each other when the saw each other on the night he died. I guess it is true that you never know that last time you may see someone for good.
I love the loyalty of his true friends from St. James, mainly Lil' Cease. This book also showed you how grimey Lil' Kim really is. What devastated me that most was how his relationship between him and Tupac just crumbled over bullsh--, straight bullsh--. If you ask me my opinion and this is just my opinion, I think Tupac what just in the wrong place at the wrong place, just like the rest of his situations. Now, don't get me wrong that's my boy too, he just makes bad judgements, just like Biggie staying out in Cali, like everything was cool.
Overall, this book was the best biography I ever read. It was straight up real, it made you feel as if Biggie was telling you the story of his life himself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was inspired to read this narrative after being a fan of Wallace for 10+. It is a fond delivery of a fighter who propelled himself into the American Recording Industry Association of America Spotlight. It delivers on all fronts -- life and early life, hardships through the streets of the Bronx, NY Burroughs area, his rough and tough relationship with his mother(and her health battles) and through his two marriages. Explores in to the nitty gritty details of his illustrious music career -- despite his anxious battle with the mainstream record companies and street thug life. Delves in to his later days as a hip pimpster and his rivalry with Def Jam record artists, Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight. I purchased this product to continue learning.

Taylor Metzer
Honorary Bachelor of Arts, Business Economics, 2011
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By Twain on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Coker has written a readable, entertaining, and comprehensive biography of the man who became, rather improbably, the greatest rapper of all time. Focusing on his life, his titanic talent, his character, and the intrinsic grace of his storytelling, this book does not dwell on the petty rivalries that engrossed the media and dominated most discussions about Biggie Smalls. This book is overwhelmingly positive; in fact, the author seems somewhat infatuated with the subject, and this is the only reason I do not give the book 5 stars. For instance, Coker does not dwell on how Biggie exaggerated the poverty and depravation of his childhood to a great degree. But overall it is a great book that gives a solid feel of the life and times of the King of N-Y, although it is a bit of a puff piece.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
A must read for anyone interested in the history of hip hop. Before I read it, I had only heard of the Notorious B.I.G. Now I feel as though I know him - personally.
During the 90's, when gansta rap and the East coast vs. West coast fight broke out, I was too busy working on my Bachelor's and Master's degrees to pay much attention to anything else.
I had also heard of Suge Knight and Sean Combs, but only from newspaper reports. Reading this book really filled in a lot of the details for me. Suge Knight is portrayed in a postive light as really caring for his artists and seeing to it that they were treated right. He became violent only when he thought that those artists were being taken advantage of, and that they (as well as he) were losing part of the money they were entitled to. I had always wondered what had prompted this violent streak of his. I remember the newspapers would only report the latest incidents, never try to explain them. The book also explains what it is, in fact, that Sean Combs does. I had always wondered: Is he a rapper? A producer? An executive? And, how did he amass so much money? Combs had always been a mystery to me. To some extent, he still is, but the book goes a long way toward solving this riddle too.
This book explores many interesting puzzles like these and shows how intricate relationships within the hip hop community had become, even by the 90's. Biggie Smalls is portrayed as a flawed yet sympathetic character. At first, he's a child attending Catholic school in uniform, who feels different from all the others hanging out on the corner. His mother is a teacher, he's fatherless, and while not rich, he's by no means poor. His mother gets all the latest gear for him so he doesn't go out and get in trouble.
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By beth dundy on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It may drag some in the beginning but gets better, some of the book about certain things collide with faiths book which make me question some things and interviews with others also collide with some story's in the book.but overall a good read
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