Lamont Coleman, better known by Big L, is widely known among Hip-Hop heads and historians as one of the best lyricists ever in the rap game. Many casual listeners may not have heard of Lamont and even many of his fans do not the history of the man and the influence he had on the Hip-Hop game. In fact many current and past Hip-Hop artists achieved mainstream success which in some way could be contributed to Big L. These artists include Cam'ron, Ma$e and Jay-Z.
L was born in May of 1979 and was raised in Harlem, New York. He began rapping on the street corner's in what is known as rap cyphers, which is when many people take turns rapping to no beat, or very simplistic beats usually in the form of clapping and verbal beatboxing. This is where L learned how to perfect his style, as many see as perfect accapella using many techniques such as multi-syllable, inner, and alliteration rhymes.
Big L began his road to success after meeting legendary New York MC/Producer Lord Finesse at an autograph signing and requesting to spit some bars for him. Finesse originally declined but a source close to him eventually convinced him that L was the real deal. He was then placed on Finesse's B side single "Yes, You May (Remix)
Big L went on to join Finesse's crew "DITC" (See last post) and lead his own group called "The Children of The Corn" which consisted of Murder Ma$e (Ma$e), Killa Cam (Cam'ron), Digga, Mcgruff and the late Bloodshed. Ma$e and Cam'ron both went on to receive mainstream praise and success. Although C.o.C never had the opportunity to release an official album, many of their songs can be found online in the form of a mixtape and more recently on youtube. Below is one of their songs, with L preforming the final verse (2:57).
Big L's first album, Lifestylez ov Da Poor and Dangerous, featured his most successful song Put It On produced by Buckwild and featuring scratching by Kid Capri. He also had some success with his other singles from the album MVP, and No Ends No Skins. There was also critical praise for the two posse tracks on the album, 8 iz Enuff and Da Graveyard, which featured a young Jay Z. Unfortunately this is the only album that he would be alive to see released. L also went on to do a 7 minute, 2 round freestyle with Jay-Z, who at the time was using a flow that you would not expect to hear Jay Z use today. Below is Big L's most successful song "Put it On"
Big L was shot and killed in Harlem on February 15, 1999. The reason is unknown but many believe that it was a retaliation towards his brother, Big Lee, who was in jail at the time. Big Lee was also shot in killed later within blocks of location L was killed. At the time of his murder L was working on his second album and fortunately had finished recording. The album was released in 2000 under the name "The Big Picture" and features verses from a late Tupac, Big Daddy Kane, Guru, Fat Joe and more.
Just in case anyone would like to hear young Jay-Z's radio freestyle with L, here it is-
Sorry i don't have time to edit this post for spelling and grammar. My plane is boarding now. I'll look it over when i get home tonight and do my blog reading rounds.