RIP BIG L
If you love Hip Hop read this… Everyone should post one of his Videos today…
Born in Harlem, Big L grew up with Cam’ron (who was known as Killa Cam at the time). Big L was regarded as one of the best of his time and along with Lord Finesse recorded many of his hits such as “You Know What im About” and “Yes you May (remix)”. Big L also regularly references in his lyrics (139th Street & Lenox Avenue). Big L began rhyming in 1990 and his first professional appearance came on the B-side of “Party Over Here” by Lord Finesse in 1992, the song was the remix to “Yes, You May”. Around this time, L also joined Lord Finesse’s Bronx-based hip hop collective Diggin’ in the Crates Crew. Big L also founded Harlem rap group Children of the Corn with fellow aspiring MC’s Killa Cam, Murda Mase and Killa Cam’s cousin Bloodshed while Darll “Digga” Branch provided production. Unfortunately the group folded in 1997 when Bloodshed died in a car accident. In 1993 Big L signed to Columbia Records and released his first single “Devil’s Son”. Big L’s debut solo album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, was released in March 1995. The album featured guest appearances from a number of artists, notably Jay-Z, Kid Capri, Lord Finesse, and then-unknown Cam’ron. Two singles, “M.V.P” and “Put It On”, were released from the album, both of which reached the top twenty-five of Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks. The album itself also reached the Billboard 200, but due to its poor commercial status Big L was dropped from Columbia Records. From 1997 to 1999, Big L worked on his second album through his own Flamboyant Entertainment label. He released the acclaimed single “Ebonics” in 1998. He also appeared on D.I.T.C.’s first single “Dignified Soldiers” that year. The Big Picture was released in August 2000 and featured guest appearances by Fat Joe, Guru of Gang Starr, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane among others. Jay-Z has said that Big L was to sign with Roc-A-Fella, but he was murdered the week before. The Big Picture was Big L’s last recorded album before he was murdered. It was put together by his manager and partner in Flamboyant Entertainment, Rich King. It contains songs that L had recorded and a cappella recordings that were never used, completed by producers and guest MC’s that Big L respected or had worked with previously. The album was certified gold a month later.
At 8:35 pm on February 15, 1999, Big L was shot nine times in the head and torso and died on the scene in his own neighborhood. At the time of his death, Coleman’s brother was in prison on drug charges. “It’s a good possibility it was retaliation for something Big L’s brother did, or Woodley believed he had done,” said a spokesperson for the NYPD. Woodley was later released and the murder case remains unsolved.
Big L’s brother Leroy Phinazee aka “Big Lee” was murdered in the same neighborhood in 2002. In the time leading up to his death, Phinazee had apparently been in search of information regarding Big L’s murder.
Gang Starr released the song “Full Clip” an album in which the first song referenced Big L. Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr, and more recently on a SiriusXM satellite radio show. “New York’s underground hip-hop community was shaken by the loss of a beloved figure last week. On the evening of February 15, Lamont Coleman, known to fans as Big L, was found murdered in his Harlem neighborhood. Police discovered his body in a West 139th Street building with fatal bullet wounds to the head and chest. Detectives at Harlem’s 32nd Precinct refused to comment on the case until their investigation is complete, but recent published reports indicate that there are no known suspects or motives at this time. The 24-year-old Coleman joins a tragic succession of New York rap artists, including Tribe Called Quest associate Kid Hood and Boogie Down Productions founder Scott LaRock, as well as Stack Bundles, whose promising careers were cut short by violence.”
Known for his witty, literary, lyrical style and for being near, although never quite at the center of commercial success, Coleman appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough in 1999. Mase and Cam’ron, two of his partners in the early ’90s group Children of the Corn, went on to MTV stardom, but Coleman’s 1995 Columbia debut, Lifestylez of the Poor & Dangerous, only earned limited critical attention. At the time of his death, though, Coleman’s independently released single, “Ebonics,” was receiving consistent airplay on the indiecentric radio mix shows hosted by WKCR’s Bobbito Garcia and WNYU’s DJ Eclipse. Reflecting on Big L’s love for hip-hop, Garcia notes, “He didn’t care whether he had a record out or not, he was the type of cat who just loved to rhyme. I don’t remember him being all that talkative. He’d just come into the studio and fuckin’ rip it.”
With other members of the influential Diggin’ In Tha Crates collective, including rappers Fat Joe, JFredricks, and O.C., and rapper-producer Diamond D, Coleman had also begun working on a full-length album for Tommy Boy Records that was to be released in June. According to Eclipse, proceeds from two forthcoming independent singles will go toward burial costs, and a DITC concert scheduled for March 6 at Tramps will serve as a memorial for Coleman.