March 28, 2016

Big L "Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous" (Rap Pages, 5/97)

"Soundtracks are so important. Let's face it, life is an epic, about as long as Ghandi and sometimes as exciting as a 3 a.m. episode of Barney Miller. It's up to the hero of our movie - fo' self - to maintain or fall by the wayside. In the immortal words of Wayan #1, "Every hero deserves a theme song," and Big L is no exception. I first came across the hero of this story in Ego Trip magazine in the Ignorant Lyrics of the Month section. Straight off Lenox Ave., Big L gives the listener a view of Harlem that many never see, but always hear about. In his world, wack MCs and bitches are banished, and citizens, such as Lord Finesse, rule with an iron mic. Apprenticing under the likes of Finesse and Showbiz & A.G., Big L is leaving the nest with obvious influences from his mentors..." 

"West Coast production to date is clearly based on love for the listener - the main concern is what appeals to the masses. East Coast preoccupations lie in abstraction or extreme simplicity, which results in a cloudy outing spanning all boroughs. The approach L takes clearly shows influences from both sides. The union of producers Lord Finesse, Showbiz and Buckwild was a wise move by L. You can hear they cared about this project. If you fight your way through $12 worth of testosterone and an occasional dead body of a family member, you're opened to legitimate hardcore East Coast battle rhymes that were sorely missed in 1994. Plus, these are some of the hardest beats from this particular crew in a while. Creating a listenable album in this genre is a goal not afforded by many, but Big L and his production team have provided a solid musical structure. Cleanliness is next to godliness in the heavens of Hip-Hop - the mix of vocal and production styles is immaculate here. No sloppy takeovers of beat to rhyme are in evidence. That's how L's living." - Rap Pages, May 1995.