Rapper Gravy Is Notorious B.I.G.

Brooklyn-based rapper Jamal ‘Gravy’ Woolard has been cast in Fox Searchlight’s biopic about famed slain rap icon Biggie Smalls (aka. ‘The Notorious B.I.G.’) reports the trades.

The story centers on the life of Christopher Wallace from his beginnings as a Brooklyn crack dealer to his rise to the top of the world of hip-hop; his murder has never been solved.

Angela Bassett will play Voletta Wallace, mother of the singer. Derek Luke will play Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was in the car when Biggie was killed. Anthony Mackie will portray Biggie’s hip-hop rival Tupac Shakur.

Antonique Smith, Naturi Naughton, Dennis White and Julia Pace Mitchell also star. George Tillman Jr. will helm “Notorious” from a screenplay by Cheo Hodari Coker and Reggie Rock Bythewood.

Filming is set to start March 24th all across New York City for a theatrical wide release on January 16th 2009.