February 15th - Big L was shot to death in Harlem, New York, on this day in 1999.
Big L, who was born Lamont Coleman in Harlem, began to freestyle at age 12 and soon formed a group called Three The Hard Way. After members of the group went their separate ways, he formed another group called Children Of The Corn with future rap superstars Ma$e and Cam’Ron, whoat the time used the stage monikers Murda Mase and Killa Cam. Cam’Ron’s cousin Bloodshed was also a member.
Around this time Big L met Lord Finesse at an autograph session in a Harlem record store and the two exchanged phone numbers.
After the death of Bloodshed in a tragic automobile accident, members of Children Of The Corn decided to go their separate ways and pursue solo careers.
Big L would first appear on a record when he was featured as a guest on the 1992 Lord Finesse 12 inch single remix for “Yes You May.”
The first album Big L would appear on would be Showbiz & A.G.’s “Runaway Slave” on the track “Represent”, also released in 1992.
That same year Big L won the Nubian Productions Freestyle competition which consisted of 2000 contestants.
In 1993, Big L was signed to Columbia Records and he released his first single “Devil’s Son.”
Three more singles followed over the next year; “Clinic”, “No Endz, No Skinz” and the underground cult classic “Put It On.”
During this time Big L also became part of the Diggin’ In The Crates crew, also known as D.I.T.C., whose members included Fat Joe, Lord Finesse, Diamond D, Buckwild and Showbiz & A.G.
In 1995, Big L finally released his long awaited debut album “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous.” Big L’s previous singles appeared on the album as well as another single “M.V.P.”, which also became another cult classic.
In 1996, Big L left Columbia over creative differences and formed his own label called Flamboyant Entertainment Records and began work on his sophomore joint “The Big Picture.”
In 1998, Big L released the single “Ebonics” as well as appearing on D.I.T.C.’s first single “Dignified Soldiers.”
“The Big Picture” was finally released a year and a half after his murder and featured “Ebonics” as well as another single “Flamboyant.”
Guests on the posthumous release included Fat Joe, Kool G. Rap, O.C., Remy Ma, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Big Daddy Kane, the late 2Pac Shakur and Guru formerly of Gang Starr.
Producers on “The Big Picture” included DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Ron Brown and Ron G. to name a few.
Three more posthumous albums have been released since his death. A documentary entitled “Street Struck – The Big L Story,” is set to be released in 2012