This just in: Critic Armond White drops the hammer on Notorious. He ignores the comedic flow of the movie--which mimics that of Biggie's "Gimme the Loot"--and instead couches it in the culture (blamed on Clinton-era greed) that birthed it. But look at the hip-pop star the Bush era gave us: 50 Cent. Biggie and Fitty may be similarly profane, but Biggie's rhymes were always meant as fictional narratives couched in the reality of the streets from which he came. Fitty exploits his gangsta biography, pimping his pain for material gain.
The one thing I'll agree with White on: Brooklyn is not ably presented. Indeed, it's any-'hood-USA. The diverse social and ethnic tapestry of the neighborhood is ignored. As White notes, 8 Mile treats Detroit similarly--it's dark and cold and that's about all we get. Might as well be Gotham City. (Though a pack of lies about the regenerative power of violence, Gran Torino does do a pretty good job of characterizing Detroit.) So Fitty is Batman (a nihilistic cartoon super-sadist) and Biggie is...well, Christopher Wallace, storyteller. Which do you prefer?