Holdin’ It Down: Buckwild Remembers Big L

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  • Big-L
    Holdin' It Down: Buckwild Remembers Big L
    "His pen game was miraculous and he was way ahead of his time," says acclaimed beatsmith Buckwild about his late friend and Harlem wordsmith Big L (born Lamont Coleman). Often referred to as the "most underrated lyricist" L would've turned 38 today (May 30). Though he was only 24 years old when his life was tragically taken away, the skinny Harlemite’s legacy remains <em>pumping like Reeboks</em>. Only releasing one album during his short career, L Corleone's studio debut <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> would be deemed as a classic among rap aficionados. “[When] you listen to that album and listen to songs like 'Street Struck' or 'I Don't Understand It' its still all relevant,” Buckwild admits. “If L was still here today the answer to the question, ‘Who's the best MC’ would be Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, Big L." <p>Celebrating the life of the revered lyricist on his born day, <em>XXL</em> spoke with Buckwild on back stories of notable joints he crafted for Big L.—<em>Ralph Bristout</em> (<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/RalphieBlackmon">@RalphieBlackmon</a>)</p>
  • "Put It On" ft. Kid Capri <em>Lifestylez ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    "Put It On" ft. Kid Capri <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    <object width="620" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/f3vpnuk0cpY?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/f3vpnuk0cpY?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"That record came about when Sony—they liked the album as it was but they wanted him to go in and cut some more tracks. So they allocated him a budget [to do that.] Basically L came into the crib—he's one of the pickiest dudes I know to pick beats. Besides him its probably Lord Finesse, Nas and one other person. So we probably went through at least 40, 50 beats before he picked the ones that he liked [and] he liked that one. [However,] the beat wasn't all the way done, so he came and had the idea—first of all L's a perfectionist so he had the idea [of having] Kid Capri do the chorus. And it's funny 'cause everyone hears the record and they think Kid Capri produced it 'cause he's on the chorus. So we went in, we cut the record, we knocked the verses out. I think he had Capri come through another day and Capri laid down the chorus. [After that] L got stuck because he wanted to put a reggae dude on the bridge. So we sat there, made the bridge with the beat and had one of his boys—I forgot dude's name—come through and he knocked it out. In the end that's what Sony chose for his first single."
  • "Da Graveyard" ft. <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    "Da Graveyard" ft. Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Jay-Z, Party Arty & Grand Daddy I.U. <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    <object width="620" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/qK_HUFx2k6w?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/qK_HUFx2k6w?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"L was a fan of music. He was a huge Big Daddy Kane fan and a huge Jay-Z fan—even though you seen him rhyming with Jay-Z, he was one of the dudes who really respected Jay because of the lyrical game. He knew that Jay-Z was the truth and the same thing vice versa. He said 'I want to do a joint with him because he's nice, he could rhyme.'<p>"Those [records] were some of the first beats I made. When L first got his deal, I just started learning to do beats. I was actually kind of mad [then] cause everything I made, he told was wack. He was that much of a perfectionist. He wouldn't say it in a disrespectful way but he'll let you know 'Nah, I'm not really feeling that. I don't really like that.' So, that only makes you work harder; pressure is either going to make diamonds or bust pipes. [That record] was first a Freddie Foxxx beat, and was on the <em>Crazy Like A Foxxx</em> album. It was a dope album but getting back to L, he had the beats and said he wanted to do a posse cut with him, Finesse, Jay-Z, Grand Daddy I.U and that was that. Finesse came and knocked his part out, Grand Daddy came and knocked his verse and I think Jay was one of the last dudes who had to come in. It was exactly during the time when people were like, 'Hey we heard Jay-Z doesn't even write.' I remember waiting in the studio in Queens, this studio called Power Play and Jay came through, listened to the beat and all of a sudden was like 'Alright I'm ready.' In one take, he dropped his verse and when you hear how he rhymed [on it] with the fast thing and how he know how to switch it up '<em>Pou-p-p-p-pound, the best around</em>.' When he laid that verse, I was like 'Wow.' He had no pen, no pad and it was all in one take.</p><p>"Because of the order of the verses on the record, it's hard to tell who had the better verse."</p>
  • "Let Em Have It L," <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    "Let 'Em Have It L," <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    <object width="620" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3qXZpi_f7MI?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3qXZpi_f7MI?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"If L was alive today and did the third album, he would've been one of the dudes that would've went from rap to Hollywood because he was like a comedian. He was real funny, when you hear his punchlines, you could tell. I wish we had cameras on all the L studio sessions, that's the side of him that people hadn't get to see. I remember being at Power Play [Studios] and we all serious and doing the song, and this nigga [Big L] come in like, 'This shit is wack man.' So we're looking at him like, 'Yo you're bugging' and he was just like, 'Nah it's wack.' Him coming at the producer, Craig Boogie (the song's producer) didn't even know if L was joking."
  • "Danger Zone," <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    "Danger Zone," <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    <object width="620" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KUUi9C5fjhU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KUUi9C5fjhU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object><p>"That was one of the records out of the four that Columbia wanted him to do when they gave him the budget to cut a few more records. He heard that beat, he liked it and heard something in it and was like, 'This is kind of dope right here, I like this.' L was a black-exploitation dude, he was an all-around dude. He was definitely pro-Harlem, just like Ma$e and them was. He was definitely for his people and where he was from. Him doing that record even with the intro where he says, 'Killers run rampant in Harlem.' He wanted to tell the story of where he's from, '139 and Lenox is the Danger Zone.'</p><p>"Him and Herb McGruff were best friends. Him, Cam, Jimmy, Ma$e all of them used to play ball. That's how I know them because everytime when we used to come through and see L, they all used to play ball in the park on 39th Street. He wanted to make sure his crew got on, 'Yo when I get on my crew going to get on.' So he put Herb on that—he had some ill verses, he took those verses and put that with that. He had a back and forth with Herb on the chorus and that was that. When Columbia heard those four records, they were like we'll definitely lock out with it. L was kind of content with it, but me and Finesse were like, 'Wow' because we were getting better. For me it's like, my first records were starting to come out, which was "Time's Up," "Stress," etc. Some known records were coming out and then "Put It On" came out, "Danger Zone" came out and like all these were coming out the at same time. If I'm getting better, he's getting better I was like, 'Yo, imagine what we could do if we still growing.'"</p>
  • "8 Iz Enuff" <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    "8 Iz Enuff" ft. Buddah Bless, Herb McGruff, Killa Cam, Mike Boogie, Terra, Big Twan, & Trooper J <em>Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous</em> (1995)
    <object width="620" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9loMB2p0qbU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9loMB2p0qbU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"That's nothing but his crew. That's the first time dudes ever heard Cam'Ron. He still was raw, all these dudes were raw. L had the illest crew, they should've been the first Wu-Tang. The only dude that wasn't on the record was Ma$e. I don't know if he was rapping at the time, but it wasn't nothing negative because they were all crew. Even though if they went to different schools, I think L was out of school then, they all used to rhyme together, played ball together, they all hung out and did different things. Looking at that, even with that record, listening to how they were all rhymed on there and that was one of the first beats I made, he just wanted a joint for his crew. He was like, 'Yo I just want us to spit on this shit. I want to introduce my crew because when we do the second album, I'ma bring them out and people gonna see how ill they are.' Things never really worked with Columbia and I guess everybody drifted off and did there own thing."
  • http://@LIKETHATTHECLIQontwitt Tope Olaleye

    RIP . I started messin wit L a couple months ago , damn it really hit me when i did some research and found out the man had already been murdered . I guess back in the 90′s whether you survived or not in hop was a mesure of quality because it seems like all the niggas wit potential got killed . Most defiantly a major inspiration to me in the lines of music . Lamont Coleman . Rest in piece bruh , Hip hop misses you .

    There you go xxl , just like this

  • gutta

    r.i.p big l fuck jayz l was way better

  • 11KAP

    one of the crown royals right there. respect.