This is the part of the year where artists have (unfortunately) inexplicably fallen like flies over the years.
Not no slouches either. Just last week, Rob the Music Ed and I paid tribute to the late great Christopher Rios aka Big Pun (Feb. 7). You’ll find the homie Datwon Thomas commemorating the third anniversary (Feb. 10) of J Dilla’s death over at the Scratch blog and of course, Biggie is coming up on his 12th anniversary March 9th. But Sunday (Feb. 15) makes ten years since Lamont Colemant, better known as Big L, was gunned down on Harlem’s streets. Like NYC’s other deceased G.O.A.Ts, Biggie and Pun, L only got the chance to release two albums. Well, technically, Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous (1995) counts as his only release. The Big Picture (2000) was released posthumously a year after his passing.
Listening to L, I can’t help but think how successful in today’s lanscape. He rhymed about all the niggorant stuff the kids loved today (i.e. money, cash, hoes), but did it in such a lyrical way, the backpack set couldn’t deny him. L also had a knack for keeping his lyricism simple, but clever. Simple enough that even the slowest of listeners weren’t lost in his punchlines and clever enough to get purist approval.
The aforementioned Dangerous finds L sharing mic time with his former Children of the Corn groupmate Cam’ron and Jay-Z, amont others. Some of you may have heard this old freestyle with L and Jay on the radio together. They just went back and forth and dropped some monster lines. If I’m not mistaken, Hov eventually swagger jacked a few of L’s lines from that session. I remember when L’s buzz picked back up in the late 90s. I hadn’t really been checking for him, but then he resurfaced with “Ebonics,” the perfect slang guide to the hip-hop outsider. Then “Size Em Up” dropped, then freestyle after freestyle. It seems like every week, my boys would come back with a new mind blowing L freestyle. There was even rumors that he was in talks to sign with Roc-A-Fella. His potential was limitless, but it was cut short on February 15th, 1999. Here’s to Big L. Another G.O.A.T who never go to reach his full potential. R.I.P Big L.
Big L “Ebonics”
Big L ft. Kid Capri “Put It On”
Big L “Holdin’ It Down”