• It Was All a Dream

  • Biggie and the World That Made Him
  • By: Justin Tinsley
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From a talented young journalist on the rise, a deeply reported, timely new biography of the Notorious B.I.G., publishing for what would have been his 50th birthday.

The Notorious B.I.G. was one of the most charismatic and talented artists of the 1990s. Born Christopher Wallace and raised in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Biggie lived an almost archetypal rap life: young trouble, drug dealing, guns, prison, a giant hit record, the wealth and international superstardom that came with it, then an early violent death. Biggie released his first record, Ready to Die, in 1994, when he was only 22. Less than three years later, he was killed just days before the planned release of his second record Life After Death.

Journalist Justin Tinsley’s It Was All a Dream is a fresh, insightful telling of the life beyond the legend. It is based on extensive interviews with those who knew and loved Biggie, including neighbors, friends, DJs, party promoters, and journalists. And it places Biggie’s life in context, both within the history of rap but also the wider cultural and political forces that shaped him, including Caribbean immigration, the Reagan era disinvestment in public education, street life, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the booming, creative, and influential 1990s music industry. This is the story of where Biggie came from, the forces that shaped him, and the legacy he has left behind.

©2022 Justin Tinsley (P)2022 OrangeSky Audio

Critic Reviews

“Tinsley’s sleek, effective biography introduces major figures in Wallace’s life, complete with interesting backstories, before we meet the influential rapper, giving readers a solid grounding in the pertinent context. A touching tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. balancing larger-than-life stories with poignant personal moments.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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A must read

It's very seldom that I read/listen to a book as engaging and well written as this book. I felt as though I was living in Biggie's space. This book is not only technically souund while being emotionally driven. One of the best I've read/listen to. You won't be disappointed.

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By Far the Best Biggie Bio I've Read

As a bookworm and music eclectic, this book was incredible. I grew up in Detroit in the 90s, a place that remains a microcosm of hip-hop subculture, so the way this book explores how Biggie’s life took shape in the context of racism, capitalism, the “war on drugs,” and intracommunity violence hit really close to home for me. And as Biggie (and Bad Boy) fan who has continued to intentionally consume the plethora of multi-media sources on the artist and the label over the years, this is by far the most thoughtful and well-researched piece of literature on his life that I’ve read. Whether you are a fan of his music or not (it’s hard not to be though!), this book does a great job humanizing the larger than life figure that was Christopher Wallace and beautifully tells the full story of the short, triumphant, and tragic life of hip-hop’s most talented MC of all-time.

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Amazing Story

The author did an amazing job diving deeper into his life. I vote that Netflix or HBO do a series based on this book!

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Great book

Another great piece by Justin Tinsley. Great book and highly recommended. Justin manages to tell Biggie’s story from a fresh perspective

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To know me is to love me

Tinsley really did his research and included details that gave a feel for Christopher Wallace the person. I was hesitant to get the book because so much has been written about Biggie, and he's been the subject of documentaries and films, but the author managed to include details and presented the story in a way that seemed fresh. "Get to know me man, to know me is to love me", that quote drove the story.
Dion Graham is a good narrator, but I gotta deduct a point for him continously pronouncing Lil Cease name like "cease and desist" instead of short for Cesar. He butchered Jeru Da Damaja's name too, don't think he got that's a variation of "damager".

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Excellent

Captures the life of BIG, wonderful. Brings you back; feel like I'm in 1990's again.

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stood up to expectations!!!

if you are a fan, if you remember the moments, if B.I.G. played a role in your growing up- you never wanted this story to end! JT wrote a masterpiece.