February 15th is the day we celebrate the life of Harlem's pound-for-pound King.
On the anniversary of Big L's untimely passing, the devoted NY rap community congregated to pay their respects, as they do every February 15 without fail. Largely overlooked during his short-lived career, the former D.I.T.C. member is commonly regarded as the greatest punchline artist of his era, now that he's passed. To use a well-worn baseball metaphor, Big L was the equivalent of a leadoff hitter who batted for percentage, his punchlines seldom missing "contact."
Whether it's through a passing glance or some grand lecture, Big L is a polarizing figure, whom some regard as a one-trick pony, others view him in more comprehensive terms as a resonant storyteller - the latter being the truth. Big L's ability to string together linearity and create mood, all the whilst deviating into punchline hysterics, was and is a singular feat that few in hip-hop have come close to emulating.
When Big L passed away in 1999, he left the game as one of the founding fathers of a burgeoning rap scene in Harlem World, USA. And thus, his influence lingered on for years in the works of his contemporaries: fellow Harlemites like Cam'Ron, Party Arty (RIP), Herb McGruff and the Murderous version of Mason Betha. The following is but a small clattering of Big L's most astounding lyrical moments. "Big L, rest in peace!"
"All Black" - Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
"Ducks be gettin' thrown off platforms like P.M. Dawn**
I'm catchin' bodies like a villain's supposed to."
"Me being a virgin, that's idiotic
Cause if Big L got the AIDS every cutie in the city got it."
- in reference to KRS-One tossing P.M. Dawn offstage for disrespecting his name**
"Platinum Plus" - The Big Picture
"Yo, I'm straight loco, to hell with you and your broke ho
You ain't a big dog, you more like Toto, you got no dough
I smoke 'dro mixed with cocoa, strong as bolo
I pack a fo'-fo', platinum ro-ro."
"Danger Zone" - Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
"I jumped out the Lincoln, left him stinkin'
Put his brains in the street
Now you can see what he was just thinkin'."
"'98 Freestyle" - The Big Picture
"Put your raggedy house up n**** or shut your mouth up
Before I buck lead and make a lot of bloodshed
Turn your tux red, I'm far from broke, got enough bread
And mad hoes, ask Beavis I get nothing Butthead."
"Return of the Devil's Son (Freestyle)" - Return of the Devil's Son
"I'm livin' up to my extortion image
I be stalkin' Lennox
Catchin' more bodies than abortion clinics."
"Ebonics" - The Big Picture
"Your bankroll is your poke
A choke hold is a yoke
A kite is a note
A con is an okey-doke
And if you got punched that mean you got snuffed
To clean is to buff
A bull scare is a strong bluff."
"Mobb Deep already explained the meanin' of shook
If you caught a felony, you caught an F
If you got killed, you got left
If you got the dragon, you got bad breath
If you 730, that mean you crazy."