Twenty-one years after the murder of Hip-hop genius The Notorious B.I.G., The Man On High fuses the creative and the critical, asking what legacy means in the 21st century. Contemplating Biggie through the lens of skateboarding, music and poetry, Alessandrelli proves that The Notorious B.I.G. will always be rapping in the present tense.
Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of the poetry collection THIS LAST TIME WILL BE THE FIRST (2014), as well as numerous chapbooks. His work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review and The Kenyon Review, among others.
In an era where the imagination is bent on nostalgia, the 90s is the number one fetish object, and events like the OJ Simpson trial and the LA Riots are being rehashed in Adidas track suits and retro band merch (I’m writing this in a Sade t-shirt I bought in a suburb of St. Louis over the summer), we need the complex sincerity of The Man On High. This is a rare example of a black musician who helped set the tonal landscape for an entire subculture actually being given credit and proper attention and love. You’ll come away craving a skateboard and some headphones, and feeling Notorious. — Harmony HolidayA refreshingly heartfelt and multivalent treatise on influence, inspiration, and individuality, Alessandrelli’s The Man On High waxes and melds in tribute to a true cultural icon and iconoclast, the B.I.G., along the way reconsidering the nature of the many frames that give us faith amid an era of ‘mere numerical arbitrariness.’ — Blake Butler