Fifteen years ago, on February 15th, 1999, Harlem rapper Big L (aka Lamont Coleman) was tragically gunned down in the same neighborhood that he consistently repped in his rhymes. His murder came at a time when he had one of the most-talked about singles out, “Ebonics,” his D.I.T.C. crew was making major noise with posse cuts like “Day One,”and his mixtape and radio freestyles were scorching in the streets, which all led to his sophomore album being one of the most anticipated projects by a New York MC to drop. There were even rumors that he was signing to Roc-A-Fella Records, the hottest and most successful young label in the Big Apple at the time led by his rapper friend Jay Z. Unfortunately, his moment to shine at the next level never came.
To celebrate Big L’s rap career today on the fifteenth anniversary of his death, it was only right that we link up with our brethren at UpNorthTrips for a proper audio tribute to one of the greatest MCs of all time. Though Big L’s first album Lifestylez of da Poor & Dangerous is a classic in its own right, and he’s got plenty of notable singles and guest appearances in his catalog, we thought to truly highlight the essence of Big L’s lyrical greatness, charisma, performance ability, and bottomless pit of bars, we’d round up 15 of his dopest radio, mixtape, and live freestyles (plus a few bonuses because that’s how we do), and put them all together in one mix for you to enjoy.
Read about each of our selections below while you stream/download our exclusive NahRight x UpNorthTrips mix The Big Picture: 15 Classic Big L Freestyles, courtesy of UNT's in-house DJ The Vinylcologist. RIP Big L, one love: