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Big L

Background information
Birth name Lamont Coleman
Born May 30, 1974(1974-05-30)[1]
Origin Harlem, New York City, USA
Died February 15, 1999 (aged 24)[1]
Genres Rap
Occupations Rapper
Labels Columbia, Sony, Rawkus, Flamboyant Records

Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), also known by his stage name Big L, was an American rapper who made significant contributions to the New York City music scene in the 1990s as a member of the hip hop collective D.I.T.C. He was shot and killed in February 1999 before releasing his second album. Many members of the underground hip hop community regard him as the most skilled MC of all time.[citation needed]



Lamont Coleman was born May 30, 1974 in New York City, and grew up in uptown Harlem which he references regularly in his lyrics (139th Street & Lenox Avenue).[2] Big L began rhyming in 1990 and his first professional appearance came on the B-side of "Party Over Here" by Lord Finesse in 1992, the song was the remix to "Yes, You May". Around this time, L founded the Harlem-based rap group Children of the Corn with fellow aspiring MC's Killa Cam, Murda Mase and Killa Cam's cousin Bloodshed while Darrell "Digga" Branch provided production. Unfortunately the group folded in 1996 when Bloodshed died in a car accident.[3] In 1993 L was signed to Columbia Records and released his first single "Devil's Son". Big L's debut solo album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, was released in March 1995. The album featured guest appearances from a number of artists, notably Kid Capri, Lord Finesse, and then-unknown Cam'ron and Jay-Z. Two singles, "M.V.P" and "Put It On", were released from the album, both of which reached the top twenty-five of Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks. The album itself also reached the Billboard 200, but due to its poor commercial status Big L was dropped from Columbia Records.

From 1997 to '99, Big L worked on his second album The Big Picture through his own Flamboyant Entertainment label. He released the acclaimed single "Ebonics" in 1998; that same year, he joined Bronx-based hip hop collective Diggin' in the Crates Crew and appeared on their first single "Dignified Soldiers". The Big Picture was released posthumously in August 2000 and featured guest appearances by Fat Joe, Guru of Gang Starr, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane among others. Jay-Z has said that Big L was set to sign with his Roc-A-Fella label, but was murdered the week before.[4] The Big Picture was Big L's last recorded album. It was put together by his manager and partner in Flamboyant Entertainment, Rich King. It contains songs that L had recorded and a cappella recordings that were never used, completed by producers and guest MC's that Big L respected or had worked with previously. The album was certified gold a month later.



Coleman was shot and killed in Harlem on February 15, 1999. Gerald Woodley was arrested in May 1999 for the crime. At the time of his death, Coleman's brother was in prison on drug charges. "It's a good possibility it was retaliation for something [Big L's] brother did, or [Woodley] believed he had done," said a spokesperson for the NYPD.[5] Woodley was later released and the murder case remains unsolved.[6]

Big L's brother Leroy Phinazee aka "Big Lee" was murdered in the same neighborhood in 2002; in the time leading up to his death, Phinazee had apparently been in search of information regarding Big L's murder.

Gang Starr released the song "Full Clip" as a tribute to Big L on their 1999 compilation album Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr, and more recently on a SiriusXM satellite radio show. New York's underground hip-hop community was shaken by the loss of a beloved figure last week. On the evening of February 15, Lamont Coleman, known to fans as Big L, was found murdered in his Harlem neighborhood. Police discovered his body in a West 139th Street building with fatal wounds to the head and chest. Detectives at Harlem's 32nd Precinct refused to comment on the case until their investigation is complete, but recent published reports indicate that there are no known suspects or motives at this time. The 22-year-old Coleman joins a tragic succession of New York rap artists, including Tribe Called Quest associate Kid Hood and Boogie Down Productions founder Scott LaRock, whose promising careers were cut short by violence.

Known for his witty, literary, lyrical style and for being near, but never quite at the center of commercial success, Coleman appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough in 1999. Mase and Cam'ron, two of his partners in the early '90s group Children of the Corn, went on to MTV stardom, but Coleman's 1995 Columbia debut, Lifestylez of the Poor and Dangerous, only earned limited critical attention. At the time of his death, though, Coleman's independently released single, "Ebonics," was receiving consistent airplay on the indiecentric radio mix shows hosted by WKCR's Bobbito Garcia and WNYU's DJ Eclipse. Reflecting on Big L's love for hip-hop, Garcia notes, "He didn't care whether he had a record out or not, he was the type of cat who just loved to rhyme. I don't remember him being all that talkative. He'd just come into the studio and fuckin' rip it."

With other members of the influential Diggin' In Tha Crates collective, including rappers Fat Joe and O.C., and rapper-producer Diamond D, Coleman had also begun working on a full-length album for Tommy Boy Records that was to be released in June. According to Eclipse, proceeds from two forthcoming independent singles will go toward burial costs, and a DITC concert scheduled for March 6 at Tramps will serve as a memorial for Coleman.

Future Releases

Big L Documentary is coming in May/June, 2010. The documentay will be named "Street Struck: The Big-L Story". The trailer to which can be viewed on Youtube or on Big L's official website.[7] Also a new Big L album will come at some point in 2010/2011 where his big brother, Donald "Big Don" Phinazee along with DJ Premier and Lord Finesse will be involved with the production of the entire album.



External links

Simple English

Big L
Birth name Lamont Coleman
Born May 30, 1974 (1974-05-30) (age 36)
Origin Harlem, New York City, USA
Died February 15, 1999 (aged 24)
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper
Years active 1985–present
Labels Columbia Records
Associated acts D.I.T.C., Children of the Corn, McGruff, Mase, Cam'ron, Jay-Z

Lamont Coleman (November 8, 1971  – February 15, 1999) was an American rapper better known by his stage name, Big L. Big L was murdered on February 15, 1999 on the same street his brother was murdered on in 2002. His murder is still unsolved.


Big L released 2 studio albums before his untimely death:

Year Album
1995 Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
2000 The Big Picture


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