Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1

Rest In Power, Big L

18 years ago today, Lamont “Big L” Coleman passed away, the victim of a shooting that remains unresolved today in 2017. In tracing the lineage of the intersection of vivid storytelling and sharp, marksman-like lyricism–the very lineage on which superstars like Jay Z, Nas, Biggie, and more built their careers–it’s impossible to have the conversation without mentioning Big L, a street warrior that was on the cusp of realizing the potential of his artistry before his untimely death.

Regarding that artistry, today we take a look back at L’s Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Big L’s debut album, released on Columbia Records. Back in 2010, Lord Finesse, L’s best friend and collaborator, discussed the making of Lifestylez with HipHopDX in a comprehensive conversation that broke down most of the tracks on the album, its inspiration, its origin, and how L contended with the creative control and influence that Columbia asserted on the project. On “Da Graveyard,” the famed posse cut that featured Jay Z, Finesse, Microphone Nut, Party Arty and Grand Daddy I.U., Finesse, who produced 5 of the album’s 12 tracks, had this reflection.

People don’t know [Jay-Z and Big L] actually battled each other in Harlem. And I wish somebody videotaped that, because that woulda been a classic to this day. I think battling each other they got admiration for one another, and that’s where – ‘Cause I can tell you L was a Jay-Z fan, just like Jay-Z was a L fan. [L] was [also] a DMX fan. He loved DMX… And I think [after] that battle [between Jay and Big L], [Big L] was like, yo, I wanna put Hov on [a song]. And we’re not talking about the Reasonable Doubt Hov, we’re talking about the Hov fresh off the “Can I Get Open” [single from] Original Flavor [in 1993]. That’s the Hov we’re talking about. And we thought he was slick with the pen, but it wasn’t until later that we could truly honestly appreciate the Hov we know as of now… Jay was running around battling people [back then], and somebody set them up to battle each other and…I really know [Jay-Z] didn’t know what he was getting into battling this dude. I don’t [remember the exact date of their battle], I just remember L telling me about it. He was sitting on the stoop getting his hair braided, and [according to L] they set up this battle and he went to battle this dude. [Big L] was also there when Jay-Z battled DMX. L was heavy into the battling thing.

It’s worth mentioning that the equally famed appearance of Big L and Jay Z on Stretch and Bobbito’s show on WKCR in 1995 was an indirect offspring of this almost mythical battle. You can check that out here, and read Finesse’s full reflection here.

Rest in power, Big L.

Related Posts

Music
Music

PREMIERE: D.I.T.C. Unearth Their ‘Sessions’ on New LP and “Rock Shyt Too” Video

News
News

Trump-Loving CNN Anchor Fired For Tweeting Nazi Stuff

Music
Music

Ethereal ft. Lord Narf and Father “Crush 2K16” Video

Music
Music

Listen to this New A$AP Ferg As Soon As Possible

Music Video
Music Video

PREMIERE: Speng Squire Reps Montreal’s Heights In “Oh Lord” Video

Ad

Latest News

same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over
remy ma Video

Open Space: Remy Ma

"Female rapper—what the f*ck is that?"