I don't pay much attention to contemporary rap anymore, but I was obsessed with Big L when I was in high school. When I was a junior, one of my teammates on the football team told me to check him out, and I did.
Thanks to LimeWire, I downloaded as much of his music as possible for my video iPod (which would, unfortunately, get stolen later in the school year) and was hooked. His lyrics and wordplay blew me away, and he became my favorite rapper. I've deleted plenty of old f book status with his lines, including one about nuns. L was full of hilarious and sometimes scary bars that would surely be problematic under today's lens, but that's exactly why teenage Dozie loved him so much. This man was a wordsmith straight up and down. I learned as much as I could about him on 2008 internet, including the cruel irony of his song "Street Struck." Lamont "Big L" Coleman caught a bullet that was meant for the next man on February 15th, 1999.
Big L only released one album during his lifetime Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, and was just about to blow up before he died during a drive-by in Harlem. Jay Z was in the process of signing him to Roc-A-Fella, turning Big L into one of the greatest "what ifs?" in rap history.
I saw the news on twitter over the weekend in between rides and haven't had a chance to blog it until now. I had to pay my respect to one of the greatest ever.
On Saturday, Big L was immortalized with his own street in Harlem, not too far from where his life ended much too soon. 140th and Lenox will forever be known as "Lamont "Big L" Coleman Way." Not too far from the "Danger Zone" of 139th and Lenox that was synonymous with him.
I remember hearing talks about a Big L documentary back in high school, and Street Struck: The Big L Story has been in development hell since. That's a documentary I've been waiting for for literal decades at this point, but the people behind the project were at the re-named and organized the petition behind it. Hopefully, the ceremony is the final piece they needed, and the world can finally see this doc.
Big L Rest in Peace!