All respects to Harlem’s own Lamont Coleman, better known as Big L, who was murdered in a drive by shooting in Harlem, on February 15th, back in 1999. Today makes 17 years since the “King of Punchlines” has been gone.
Big L had a major contribution to underground hip-hop in the ’90s. L originally began rapping with the rap group Three the Hard Way. He was first recognized on the remix to “Yes You May” by Lord Finesse. Shortly after, L joined the hip hop group “Diggin’ in The Crates or “D.I.T.C.” The Bronx based rap group consisted of Lord Finesse, Diamond D, Fat Joe, O.C., who was from Brooklyn, Buckwild, Showbiz, A.G., and lastly Big L, who resided in Harlem. Eventually, Big L formed his own rap group, with friends Killa Cam (Cam’ron), Murda Mase (Ma$e), and Cam’s cousin “Bloodshed.” The group was named “Children of The Corn,” which was short for “Children of the corner” and also referred to the Stephen King’s story. After the death of Bloodshed, the group dissolved and each member pursued their own solo career.
Big L’s debut solo album, “Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous,” was released on March 28, 1995. L had three singles off of the album, which included”Put It On”, “M.V.P.(Most Valuable Poet)”, and “No Endz, No Skin.” In ’97, Big L began working on his second album, titled “The Big Picture.” Big L founded his own indie label in 1998, named Flamboyant Entertainment, where he released one of his well known singles, “Ebonics.” Sadly, On Feb 15, 1999, Big L was murdered with nine shots to the face and chest on West 139th street in Harlem.
“The Big Picture,” Big L’s second and final album, was pieced together by Rich King, his manager, and released on August 1, 2000. The album featured artists Fat Joe, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap and Guru. The album included the singles “Flamboyant,” “Ebonics,” and “Size Em Up.”
There were three Big L albums released after “The Big Picture,” which included “139 & Lenox,” and “Return of The Devil’s Son,” which included unreleased Big L tracks. The last album, “The Danger Zone” was released in 2011.
Big L had a huge influence on hip-hop. One of my favorite L tracks will always be “The Devil’s Son.” A Big L documentary called “The”Big L Story” by Street Struck, is set to be released some time this year. I want to say R.I.P to all of the hip-hop greats that have passed, but for today, it’s REST IN PEACE BIG L.