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Director Of New B.I.G. Doc Shines Light On The Rapper’s Fallen Crew

Posted By on July 4, 2007

With this year marking the tenth anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.'s passing, director April Maiya has decided to document the aftermath and impact of his death on his Junior M.A.F.I.A. crew. SOHH recently caught up with Maiya to talk about the film, the void that B.I.G. left behind, and the demise of Brooklyn's "First Family."

The documentary entitled, Life After Death: The Movie hopes to shed light on the infamous shooting outside of New York's Hot 97 studios that lead to both Lil Kim and Damion "D-Roc" Butler serving prison sentences.

"Basically, it's a poorly kept secret that D-Roc always kept a video camera with him when he was with Big. It was kinda his own personal diary. I don't think he ever meant to release the tapes," said Maiya. "He contacted me and wanted to straighten out the story [concerning the shooting] because it was making Kim look dumb, like she lied for no reason and was making Gutter and D-Roc just look like criminals. To this day, nobody knows why [Lil'] Cease took the stand against them. He was telling press that he didn't tell the police anything they didn't already know but D-Roc and Gutter are in jail for a shooting that there was no weapon for."

Having to sift through over 100 hours of never before seen footage that she received from D-Roc into a 90 minute film was no easy task. Along with footage of Biggie and the crew, the movie also features footage of others close to the slain rapper including Diddy, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Mary J. Blige.

"People have been basically recycling the same images and footage of Big for the last ten years and that's no accident. That's because D-Roc and Ms. Wallace never released anything else. They always felt that people exploited Big."

"I tried to show them as a crew, how they lived together, laughed together, made money together and the second half is the reality of what happened," she explained. "A lot of people saw them as like the first family of Brooklyn. I found that the way that the story ended in the movie, everybody's character came out in the footage through expressions, side comments, not really like here are your villains and here are your heroes. The story is a very tragic story but the footage is not. People ask, 'Is this something from Biggie?' But it's literally supposed to be the life after his death and what the people left behind did over the years. It's really unique, the footage can't lie."

Fans of the late great Frank White can also expect another film, The Notorious B.I.G.: The Lost Tapes. Directed by Maiya and executive produced by Voletta Wallace, it's also on deck to be released in late 2008. That film, Maiya says, will be a celebration of the rapper's life and a candid, behind-the-scenes look at the person that not many got a chance to see.

"We've all heard enough about his death, same as with Tupac, now it's time to celebrate his life. I think it will remind people in New York about what made hip-hop great in New York at that time."

Life After Death: The Movie hit shelves yesterday (July 3).