February 15, 2021

Big L "Rhyme In Peace" (May 30, 1974 - February 15, 1999)

On February 15, Harlem hip-hop prospect Big L (Lamont Coleman) was shot and killed near his home on Lenox Ave. in Harlem, New York. Authorities say the cause of his death was 9 gun shot wounds to the head and chest. Police have no leads or motive in the slaying, but some sources close to L say it was a case of mistaken identity, while others say it was a case of animosity towards the aspiring artist. All in all, the untimely death of 24-year old L has sent shock waves throughout hip-hop's underground where he secured a spot as one of hip-hop's best kept secrets. "He was one of the few rappers who had the fame that he had and would still make his rounds throughout the neighborhood," says L's friend and publicist Neal Santos. A promo-only release of L's "Devil's Son," along with an ear-catching appearance on Lord Finesse's "Yes You May" (remix) earned L a deal on Columbia Records in 1994. There, he released his critically acclaimed debut, Lifestyles Ov Da Poor and Dangerous. Despite the positive response, L was released from the label. He returned to the underground where, as a member of the Diggin' In The Crates (D.I.T.C.) crew, he gained a considerable following with cuts like "The Enemy," "Internationally Known" and "Dignified Soldiers." From the back of Rockin'-Will's record shop--where he was discovered by Lord Finesse--to his last few appearances on albums by O.C. and McGruff, L was famous for subtle sarcasm in his lyrics...

L's influence is evident in two of today's chart-toppers, Mase and Cam'Ron, who, before pursuing their now successful careers, formed a group with L known as Children of the Corn. Shortly before L's death, Roc-A-Fella's Damon Dash, who once managed Children of the Corn, was in hot pursuit of him for Roc-A-Fella. "He was being an entrepreneur about his music," says Dash. "I watched him press up his own vinyl and he was puttin' himself in the studio. He was on his way to becoming not only a rapper, but a young executive." L showed the potential, releasing "Ebonics" b/w "Size 'em Up" on his independent label, Flamboyant Entertainment--distributed through Fat Beats--last year. He was working on the highly-anticipated Diggin' In The Crates album, to be released on Tommy Boy. Our condolences go out to L's family and friends. His charismatic spirit will live on for years to come. Rhyme In Peace, Big L. Dig into the archives below for press kits, music, tribute mixes and more!