As with so many other great MC’s that were taken before their time, Big L displayed a measure of talent that made fans wonder if his potential had any limit. Where would he be today? What music would he have made? Who would he be working with if he was alive in 2007? We’ll never know and can only imagine. No longer with us in the physical form, Big L’s words will live forever. As a tribute to the underground pride of Harlem, on the 8th anniversary of his death, XXLMag.com has compiled some of the greatest gems L ever dropped on us during his career.
“MVP” – From his debut album Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, “MVP” was one of the first tracks that the general public heard from Big L. Using the same DeBarge sample used for Biggie’s “One More Chance (Remix),” it still stands as one of the finest displays of L’s charisma and knack for witty punch lines.
“Danger Zone” – L pulled no punches on this gloomy ode to his Harlem block. Tragically, he would ultimately lose his life in the same neighborhood he repped throughout his career.
“Ebonics” – Far from just a punch line rapper, Big L could pen a concept song with the best of them. This classic track breaking down some of the popular slang in use at the time is one of the best examples. It’s just the way that he talked, yo.
“Deadly Combination” ft. 2Pac – 2Pac was in a New York state of mind when he penned this verse, name checking Rudy Giuliani and DJ Ron G. The result fits perfectly with L’s verse for a classic track from two fallen soldiers.
“Flamboyant” – A perfect display of Harlem swagger. If you’ve never been there, listen to this song for an audio tour.
“The Enemy” ft. Fat Joe – Fellow D.I.T.C. member Fat Joe assists L on this track about the perils of being a young minority from the hood that finds themselves in the sights of the police.
“Stretch and Bobbito Freestyle” ft. Jay-Z – Back in ’95 before anybody had a reasonable doubt, L appeared on the legendary Stretch and Bobbito radio show with a little known MC named Jay-Z for a freestyle session. There has been much debate over who took title that day.
“Stretch and Bobbito Freestyle Pt. 2” ft. Jay-Z
“Yes You May (Remix)” – On occasion, Big L has been accused of co-opting the style of his D.I.T.C brethren Lord Finesse. While the similarities are apparent on this track, he more than held his own with the Bronx veteran.