Uptown’s Finest Big L Would Have Been 44 Today

    On the night that rapper Lamont Coleman, AKA “Big L”, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting on the Harlem streets in 1999, hip-hop lost one of its influential, most gifted and trendsetting lyricists. 

    The void left in New York rap culture by Big L’s demise is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence. He is one of many influential artists that have succumbed to the jealousy and violence of street life, another troubling example of how hip-hop is inevitably and dangerously tied to the street culture, and how reaching stardom as a rapper  — especially in the wild ’90s — didnt mean escaping the harsh realities of your hood and past transgressions. 

    The Source Magazine on Twitter

    Happy Birthday To Harlem’s Own Big L (R.I.P.) https://t.co/IMfkWiLbvx

     L, who would have turned 44 years young today, emerged from the burgeoning Harlem rap scene in the early to mid-1990’s and blazed the underground scene with his metaphors, sharp verbal warfare and slick, gentleman-gangster, thug-lover persona that had come to epitomize Uptown rap culture.  

    At the height of his wave, L signed to Columbia Records, where he released his debut album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous in 1995. 

    Big L – Put It On

    Big L’s official music video for ‘Put It On’. Click to listen to Big L on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BLSpot?IQid=BLPO As featured on Lifestylez Of The Poor And Dangerous.

    It was a hit on the streets and sparked what should have been an eventual crossover success story for one of Uptowns finest before Ls life was taken when he took nine bullets to the body.  

    Big L “MVP” (Summer Smooth Mix)

    Not the Original version, but its a still a dope song Most Valuable Poet on the M.I.C!!!!

    His second album, The Big Picture, was put together by his manager, Rich King, and released posthumously in 2000 through Big Ls independent label, Flamboyant Records.

    The chip-toothed Big L was another one of raps titans that was taken before he was allowed to grow, develop and master his full talents and business capabilities. 

    His lyrical dominance lives on and is captured in the various material that serves as a blueprint for new lyricists and the golden era of rap. As a freestyle artist, L is considered a pioneer and one of the indisputable masters of the braggadocious,off-the-top rock out. This 1995 freestyle where L introduces an up-and-coming lyricist named Jay-Z is a collector’s item. 

    Big L & Jay Z – 10 Minutes Freestyle

    THE FULL FREESTYLE. NOT THE 7MINUTES ONE. IT WAS RELEASED A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO!

    Happy Birthday Big L. May you rest in power and hopefully, you are still spitting heat and rocking over beats in hip-hop heaven. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.