On this day, August 1, in hip-hop history…

Rawkus Records
Rawkus Records

2000: Heralded underground Harlem MC Big L’s second studio album, The Big Picture, is released a year and a half after his death.

Highlighted by his slick metaphors and poignant one-liners, Lamont “Big L” Coleman was an MC to be reckoned with in the mid to late ‘90s. Sadly, the up-and-coming D.I.T.C. affiliate was killed before releasing his follow-up LP and right before reportedly inking a group deal with Roc-A-Fella Records. L’s second album The Big Picture, found the rapper dropping witty street poetry over production from DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Pete Rock, Showbiz and Ron G.

The 16-track offering was highlighted by the original Urban Dictionary, “Ebonics (Criminal Slang)” produced by then newcomer Ron Browz. “Deadly Combination” found L trading straight forward bars with Tupac Shakur. The hopping Pete Rock produced single “Holding It Down” serves as the party vibe to the overall gully feel of the project. On “98 Freestyle” the Harlemite drops the memorable line, “Ask Beavis I get nothing but head,” and he later goes toe to toe with Big Daddy Kane on “Platinum Plus” over cinematic production from Preemo.

The Big Picture was another shining moment for the rapper whose light was snatched away all too soon. The LP, which was certified gold by the RIAA two months after its release, displayed the mettle of an artist who had not yet reached his ceiling, yet was still ahead of the game. Picture that.

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