BLOG: Remember Big L?


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”

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  • GO-Getta’

    What could ‘ve been?
    Death do not b’ proud.

    • mo

      big l definity had the lyrics but I couldn’t stand his voice.

  • Safe


  • Jonsey

    Man Big L is one of my favs. Man that freestyle with jay-z is actually sick if you haven’t checked that shit out do it know It’s straight FIRRRRRRRRREEEE!

  • truth b told

    Big L had potential but giving him the goat status doesn’t make any sense. Are we forgeting the definition of goat? He had two albums, both of them are MEDIOCRE at best. As an mc he isn’t even in the top twenty. I think the current lack of skill in the game today is making us nostalgic. We miss the times when a rapper had to have skill and a beat. A time when the game was so competitive Jay z wasn’t even known outside of the eastcoast. But now we live in the times of auto-tunes, and lollipops.

    • RJ

      cosign. dont get me wrong L was nice, but the only reason ppl call him a legend is cuz he died.

    • La

      agree with the GOAT statement, but saying he ain’t even top twenty smells like lies dipped in haterade. He is the fucking blueprint for all these so called punchline artists. Regardless, he is constantly being compared to artists who have way larger catalogues, so the fact he is even being put into comparison off of the small amount of material he had is proof enough.

      Hop off Todd Smith’s Dick

    • ronnie

      so, by your argument, biggie doesn’t get goat status. doesn’t matter how many albums are put out. what matters is what he spits and big l was a beast on the mic. top 5 of all time without a doubt

  • Willie Velarde

    “mad hoes ask beavis i get nothin but head”
    simply clever, cleverly simple
    rip L shout out to D.I.N.C “day one” was the joint

  • Pierzy

    L was a legend and, unfortunately, most people only heard (of) him after he died. Some of his lines were ill: “Mad hoes/ask Beavis, I get nothin’ but head”

    That Jay/L freestyle is referred to as the “7 Minute Freestyle” and the main line Jay took was “All I got for chicks, hard dick & bubblegum.”

  • moresickaMC

    Big L goes hard(pause). Imagine if he had signed to the Roc, crazy

    • Hate Hate and more Hate

      If Big Loser would had signed to Cock-a-fella, Memphis Bleek would have been demoted from Weed carrier to luggage carrier. The big question is could Big L carry Dame’s & Gay-Z’s weed as good as Bleek did? I don’t recall Bleek ever getting busted for possession. He’s one of the goats of Weed Carrying and shit.

      And if he would have signed to the Roc would they have signed Camrun also? Would Big L be running around in wearing Pink and riding in Pink whips talking about no homo. Saying rhymes that don’t make any sense like:

      “I’m the champ I don’t fail
      huey, duey, and louie – Ducktales!”

      (this is an actual line out of Camron rhyme book)

      I do believe that since Big L was apart of DTIC, Fat Joke would have been even more jealous of Gay-Z then he already is.

      • mo

        hate on cocksucker

  • Pierzy

    “Mad hoes/ask Beavis, I get nothin’ but head”

  • Pierzy

    That freestyle with Jay is referred to as the “7 Minute Freestyle” and the big line that Jay jacked was: “All I got for chicks – hard dick & bubblegum”


      actually, that line was originally spit by ice cube on “i ain’t the one” off the str8 outta compton album, which is a certified rap classic!

      • Pierzy

        Actually, it’s from “Get Off My Dick and Tell Yo Bitch To Come Here” from his solo debut Amerikkka’s Most Wanted

        • DETROIT

          THANK GOD FOR GOOGLE! so now you’re telling me you mistook a cube line for a biggie line? lol. you had no idea cube said that shit till i told you…quit frontin!

          “the big line that Jay jacked was: “All I got for chicks – hard dick & bubblegum”

          i may have gotten the song wrong, but you got the rapper, era, and coast wrong, ya’ll internet nerds are nuts!

        • Arcey

          Big as in Big L! the whole post is about Big L.
          And he actually corrected himself + gave more info on what you put forth (thanks ‘tho).
          Google is here to be used so why not

        • DETROIT

          Co-Sign…i was just bullshittin!

        • Pierzy

          Good lookin’ out, Arcey



    BIG L > JAY Z



  • Bobo D

    Celebrating a dead rappers death?
    I’m tired of that shit! I dont think no one would like to be remebered most on their day of death.
    Why not a magazine special celabrating the anniversary there album dropped? Why not celabrate their birth which was able to give us classic songs? I bet most of you know when B.I.G. or Pac died but have no idea when they where born.

    I’m not to knock trying to knock down anybody, I’m just trying to give you something to think about.

  • Josh

    And shout out to Ron Browz, who produced “Ebonics” and “Size ‘Em Up”

    • El Tico Loco

      Dam you right, but he kinda erased that outta people’s minds since you’re as good as your last song. Autotune machines must be laced with crack SMH

  • Curtis75Black

    What could’ve been ? Who knows. Big L was a beast with those freestyles and Punchlines but I wonder if he would’ve devolped to be so much more than that HighSchool, CornerStore emcee. His vibrant voice was a torch. Whenever I get the chance to listen to the last Terror Squad Cd, I always peep the Track “Bring Em Back” 1st. What could’ve been.

  • Incilin

    Big L is once of the most underrated and the most overrated rappers to ever live. There a lot of casual fans who don’t even know his name, but if they did they would prolly like his style. At the same time, the heads who do know him be jocking him swearing like he’s a GOAT. As good as Lifestyles is, it’s no classic and certainly doesn’t compare with the debuts of other New Yorkers like Jay, Nas, Big, Rakim, LL, Pun, KRS, Wu-Tang, Kane, AZ, and others.

    I’m glad you didn’t go and call L a GOAT like so many others do. I hate when people make claims like that based on potential as opposed to results.

    • ronnie

      first, big l was just like craig g: a battle rapper that a label does not how to market. if “casual” fans never heard of this god, then, those “casual” fans are just kids that listen to radio and nothing else and claim they love and know hip hop. let’s be real here. big l was a beast. ebonics, alone, put him in goat status. to paraphrase krs-one, you’re one of those kids that thinks that record sells make an emcee the dopest. in that case then, vanilla ice is goat.

      its not about record sells for in this day and age of the game, kids are spitting nonsense and its being herald as the second coming of golden era. big l was a beast on the mic and a top 5 god with pun, krs-one, rakim and kool g rap

      • Dub Sac

        Nobody’s mentioning record sales, so why bring it up? It’s a straw man argument.

        Big L was not a versatile rapper. He was exceptionally good at what he did – which was punchline rap. He may in fact be the GOAT punchline rapper. But his content was limited, and in that regard, any number of MCs out-do Big L.

        • ronnie

          when one refers to debuts, one is referring to record sells since, now, its the leading indicator that an album is any good. now, with your argument, since you labeled big l as punchline, then biggie was a storyteller rapper and a number of mc’s can murder him on the mic. your comments hold no water at all. the sole purpose of picking up the mic is to rip the person in front of you to shreds and to spit lyrics to make your girl turn her head for a look. biggie is a god because he spit lyrics not because he was good at telling a story. big l only left us with one disc but left us lyrics that even these candy grab kids are biting off of today.

          if big l was not versatile, please, for the love of hip hop, explain ebonics to me. which leads to another ridiculous point: biggie had 2 albums and pun had 2 albums. does that mean that there are a number of mc’s that are better? heck, naw with a passion. my god, big l is the epitome of what a god emcee should be: spit lyrics that kids are still quoting today

        • Dub Sac

          Once again, you are the only one talking about album sales as a sign of validation. Illmatic sold poorly when it was released, but nobody denies that it is classic. Reasonable Doubt is one of Jay-Z’s worst selling albums, but the one most people regard as his best. Nobody is saying Lifestyles isn’t classic cause it didn’t sell.

          Lifestyles didn’t seem to make as big of an impact as some of the other examples Incilin mentioned, and many of L’s most famous songs, including your example “Ebonics,” were on Big Picture, not his debut.

          Biggie was more than a story-telling rapper – he did commercially friendly songs like “Hypnotize” and “Juicy” and songs for the lady’s like “Big Poppa.” He had range. L did not. “Ebonics” is a stand out track. But most of L’s tracks are battle tracks. Perhaps your own description of “battle rapper” is more accurate than “punchline rapper”.

          And I don’t know why the hell you bring up the number of albums Biggie and Pun had. Don’t use arguments other people make against me.

          Finally, you are right. Big L had some great lyrics. He had more dimes than that Sprint lady, and that’s ill. However, just cause L was great doesn’t mean he’s GOAT. And that’s all I’m saying…

        • ronnie

          first, have you ever listened to juicy? juicy is basically an autobiography of biggie’s life. yes, it was radio friendly but supports that biggie was at his his best when telling us a story. second, by your definition, a god emcee is an emcee that can make joints for the radio? are you serious? kid creole said it best from the show that hip hop is to crush the dude in front of you, not to make radio friendly joints. heck, that’s a totally different argument within itself when indicating gods in the golden era radio play vs gods after the golden era getting radio play. the point of picking up the mic is to spit venom. you are remembered for your lyrics. thus, big l is a god emcee because he spit lines that had me rewinding for days until the tape was worn. getting your joint played on the radio doesn’t mean anything except financially getting some coin in the pocket. sorry, you argument holds no weight, again.

          third, big l’s new nick name is John Henry ‘Jack’ Armstrong for he fathered so many emcees’ styles in this game causing kids to ‘hate’ him.

          fourth, yes, i picked ebonics thinking that you meant that versatility is spitting to another level. i was wrong. obviously, you have never heard of mvp(both original and summer time breeze remix), put it on(which got me hooked on l), lifestylez ov da poor & dangerous, da graveyard and let em have it l all were from his first album that got me open. then, there’s devils son which is beyond you. lifestylez ov da poor and dangerous is a classic and you got the nerve to say it didn’t impact heads? this relates back to point three that big l influenced the game by having so many emcees copying his style and biting his lyrics to this very day. to say lifestylez ov da poor and dangerous is not a classic and didn’t influence heads is the most asinine statement of the century. thus, i refer to album sells
          but that point is totally weak within itself.

          fifth, big l had one album and shook up the game. point is this: you are a god emcee for lyrics, not the number of discs that are produced. example: ll cool j. in my opinion, ll was a god emcee but ll has more wack traps then gems now. lyrics=immortality. gods biggie and pun had 2 under their belts and are considered immortals. big l did the same thing in 1 album. don’t know what you are referring to with the different argument thing.

          now, trying listening to the god, first, before making comments that have kids questioning if you even listen to hip hop. youtube god big l to listen to his earlier joints.

        • Dub Sac

          Addressing your first point – I didn’t point out Biggie’s commercial success to indicate his superiority, only his versatility. Ghostface and Nas haven’t had as much commercial success, but both are versatile, and lyrical. They have made songs that take you through a spectrum of emotions. Is that a better example to illustrate my point?

          Addressing your fourth point – when I said versatility, I meant versatility, not lyrical ability. That’s not the point being debated. And I didn’t say that Lifestyles didn’t have any impact. I said it didn’t have as much impact as some other discs. It’s a relative statement, not an absolute statement, and most people would probably agree with me.

          Fifth, and again, I don’t care about the number of disks. I never denied his ability because he only put out one album. You keep responding to an argument I didn’t put forth.

          Last, if you think I don’t actually listen to hip-hop, you’re an idiot. I own both of Big L’s discs and like The Big Picture a lot. You seem to think that because I am able to criticize Big L, I can’t also be a fan. Not once have I suggested that he wasn’t talented.

      • Shaun

        Actually to paraphrase KRS One, “Some said all they wanna do is battle/But can’t write a song/So, their careers won’t last long.”

        Being a “beast” doesn’t mean a thing if your catalogue is weak. Remember Canibus?
        As good as Big L was, he was just nothing special. Not because he didn’t sell, but because there was nothing about him or his music that would compell a person to give him a chance as opposed to what was already out there during his time.

        It figures that Columbia didn’t know how to market him. There wasn’t anything marketable about him to begin with. Yeah, he could rap, but WHO WAS HE? The first time I heard him, I could have written him off as a Lord Finesse clone just like how I written off Hot Rod as a 50 Cent clone the first time I heard “Be Easy”.

  • Shreds

    big l, truly one of the greatest lyricists of all time. Doesn’t get enough love from hiphop magazines etc so nice to see this. There should be something in the actual mag though, especially since its been 10 years. Make todays hiphop generation learn somethin bout a REAL rapper

  • adrian smith

    r.i.p. big l r.i.p eazy e sad thing everybody dies you all


    that dice game song big l had was crazy!

    • og bobby j

      “consequences of a dice game” raw!

      Big L was ill…

      that “furious Anger” joint was dope too…with the pulp fiction samuel l jackson hook…

      • Chris S

        casualties of a dice game…

  • Worley

    That n*gga Jay was spittin’ some ol’ Das EFX soundin’ shit on that freestyle. Big L ate that n*gga effortlessly. I was hopin’ L would get his proper shine. I was devastated that night my man from Harlem called me and told me L was gone. I knew rap lost a potential legend.

    BIG L Rest in Peace.

  • these posts are racist

    RIP, the illest.

  • John Cauner

    One of the best. R.I.P. Big L forever.

  • EmCDL

    I have the Hip Hop Forever Vol. 3 by DJ Jazzy Jeff, and I heard the song “Ebonics” from Big L on there…thought that shit was ill as hell. I wish I had found out about this kat before he passed away though, dude got some tight lyrics for real. I’ma have to see if I can find and cop his LP and give it a listen.

    R.I.P. Big L

  • ron mexico

    don’t even get me started.

    what a huge loss. knew him from around the way. cool-ass dude, too.

  • Vicious Seiger

    Here is a perfect example of true talent taken way too soon from the world. Incredibly Clever, Baby Soft Smooth Flow and Charisma for days… Big L was on the road to being one of the G.O.A.T. I still remember MVP from way back. It’s a shame he was taken from us in such a sudden and tragic way – I guess all we can do is wonder about what could have been. BIG L – REST IN PEACE!

  • capcobra

    “you know nothin about don’t doubt L…what’s this motherfuckin’ rap game without L”…R.I.P. BIG L.

    • Dub Sac

      Yo, that’s like jewels without ice
      That’s like china without rice
      or the Holy Bible without Christ

  • amar

    Im takin lives for a great price, Im the type
    To snap in heaven with a mac-11 and rape christ

  • Chris S

    dude, i heard that he was so ahead of his time, his parents haven’t met yet…

  • El Tico Loco

    What this motherfucking rap game without L?
    Yeah, that’s like Jews without ice
    That’s like China without rice
    Or the Holy Bible without Christ
    Or the Bulls without Mike
    Or crackheads without pipes
    The Village without dykes
    Or hockey game without fights

  • Juzzy

    1 of the best……NO-ONE can touch him on punchlines….

    I got styles you can’t copy bitch, its the triple six/ In the mix, straight from H-E-double hockey sticks!!!


  • HERM

    Actually, I was listening to the L/Jay freestyle with my boy in the whip, like, a month ago. It was the first time he heard it and he’s been loving that shit ever since.

    RIP Big L

  • mig

    no doubt one of nyc’s finest

    RIP L

  • jojo

    I’m straight loco, to hell with you and your broke ho, you ain’t a big dog you more like toto, you got no dough…

    Platinum Plus brought BDK back into the forefront….

    I remember gettin the Big Picture album back in the day and telling myself “Wow, just off 2 songs, this guy is one of the best storytellers I have ever heard”….His shit still stands up in today’s climate

  • jojo

    Does anyone know what happened to the Milano kid from D.I.T.C.? That kid was a beast on that album…

  • yoprince


  • anutha_level

    ill-original…….rest my nigg

  • eddiesixes

    that o.c. and big L song “dangerous” is a fuckin monster

  • latino heat

    r.i.p. Big L. what’s really a shame about L is that unlike the other great’s we lost, L never even got a chance to peak. his greatest success and album came after his death. makes you wonder what might’ve been. when will we learn?

  • latino heat

    that comment i just posted was a huge mistake! i wrote that without even reading the blog or any of the comments. not even realizing i basically said everything the blog itself said. i just saw the blog and immediately posted a comment. oops! anyway i meant well. r.i.p. Big L.

  • sealsaa

    I don’t believe that Roca Fella rumor for a minute. I remember a blog (Billy X’s, if i’m not mistaken) that pointed out the fact that rappers NEVER sign anyone more talented than they are. Anyone who’s ever listend to “The Graveyard” and “7 minute freestyle” with Big L and Jay Z would agree that Big L fuck’n wrecked Jay Z on those songs, and that Jay has bit off of L’s style over the years. He completely switched up his flow. That having been said, Jay was the star of the Roc from its formation, so why would he sign someone who was better than him? He wouldn’t. I’ve heard him say that he was in the process of signing L, but that’s just some humble shit to say out of some mis-guided respect to the dead (like how Nas, and an umpteen number of lyricaly superior rappers claim 2 Pac is one of the top 5 dead or alive, when he clearly isn’t). L released his album and did his songs with Jay in 95, and was killed in ’99. So it took Jay Z 4 years to realize how nice L was? Bullshit.

    • capcobra

      jay never shout big L out…never….he’ll scream PAC even tho PAC dissed him but he won’t salute a dead man that he actually did a song with….not to mention the nigga never salutes PUN.

  • satalyte

    Big L is in my personal top 5. I know, personal opinion whatever.

    All this “Lifestylez of the Poor and Dangerous” being a wack tape, are you niggaz out your fucking MINDZ!

    That tape was hot. Go back and listen to it again. Then go educate yrself on that D.I.T.C and get off Jay’s nuts so hard.

  • Danny Myers

    Big L was a muthufuckin legend on the mic! And if you took his flow to the Maury Show, he’d be the father of a thousand niggaz styles! And that’s solid. Youtube Danny Myers Street Verses if u niggaz want bars. 1

    • ronnie


  • sealsaa

    “Ayo, my cash flow don’t get low/it just increase and/whoever try to take mines’ll rest in peace/keep a stone look/peace to every known crook/not those who go to jail and can’t hold they own and come home shook/so hold on a prepare to get rolled on/my crew robs every fag that rolls through with gold on/cats who act rah-rah will catch a gem star/while punks who fake the funk don’t get far pa/me and my clan parlay sippi’n grand moet/at a party at the bars where we stand all day/in ’97 i’m bubbl’in/no more struggl’in/if I fall its back to selling drugs again and busti’n slugs at men/no doubt/you know what i’m about/ the last slouch that walked through my block didn’t make it out/”

    -Big L “All Love”

  • J. Ambrose.

    All I’ve really got to say is, ‘Casualties of a Dice Game’. If you’re unfamiliar with that track, LOOK IT UP! ‘Ebonics’ is as classic by every measure of the word. But, ‘Casualties of a Dice Game’ is storytelling at it’s best. Don’t sleep, people. Big L was definitely a force to be wreckoned with. R.I.P. to Big L.


  • miles archer

    “Casualties of a dice game” is one of my favorite stories.
    I think you said it perfectly when you said he was simple enough for the average ear and yet still intricate with his wordplay to get somebody who was a fan of Wu-Tang or Pun to be buggin offa some of the shit he said.

    One of my favorite joints is “Dangerzone” off the McGruff album wit Big L and Mase(Murda).

    If you can find it, there’s a second part to that “98 Freestyle” that I got from my boy like 10 years ago.

    Son said, “I ran thru every bith in my path/I been fucking chicks in the ass/since I was six in a half…”

    Miles Archer

  • http://xxlmag jb

    This blog goes without saying. Of course Big L is the muthafuckin man..and a legend. But can we please give Lord Finesse sum props? Anyone that listens can tell that Finesse heavily influenced L style. Finesse is criminally slept on. R.I.P to Big L.

  • http://xxlmag jb

    This blog goes without saying. Of course Big L is the muthafuckin man..and a legend. But can we please give Lord Finesse sum props? Anyone that listens can tell that Finesse heavily influenced L style. Finesse is criminally slept on. R.I.P to Big L.

  • Rae Tha Great

    Thats crazy how Ron Browz produced for Big L back then and hes just not getting that shine. But Big L is phenomenal one of the best that ever grabbed a mic after listening to EBONICS your mind just gets blown I’ve been thinking about doing it over for the new age, think about all the new words and slang we use today. PEACE FAVORITE LINE “So with that bullshit, step to the rear son
    The last thing you want with Big L is a fair one
    Cause in a street brawl, I strike men like lightning
    You see what happened in my last fight friend?
    Aight then
    I beat kids with lead pipes
    I leave a trail of dead mic’s
    Where I’m from, niggaz jewels get ran like red lights
    Old folks get mugged and raided
    Crimes are drug related
    And we live by the street rules that thugs created” IT DON’T GET MORE HIP-HOP THAN THAT!!!