Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), better known by his stage name Big L, was an American rapper. Emerging from Harlem, New York in the early to mid-1990s, Coleman became well known amongst underground hip-hop fans for his freestyling ability, and was eventually signed to Columbia Records, where he released his debut album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous in 1995. His second album, The Big Picture, was put together by his manager, Rich King, and released posthumously in 2000 through Coleman’s independent label, Flamboyant.
On February 15, 1999, Coleman was shot 9 times and killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in his hometown of Harlem. Three posthumous albums were released, consisting of unreleased songs which were put together by Rich King and Coleman’s brother, Donald Phinazee.
Coleman is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most lyrical rappers of all time, noted for his use of wordplay. About.com called him the twenty-third best MC of all time, while multiple writers at Allmusic, HipHopDX and The Source have praised him for his lyrical ability. Coleman is also known for helping to pioneer the hip-hop subgenre horrorcore, releasing what is believed by many to be the first ever horrorcore song in 1992.
Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous (1995)
Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous is the debut studio album by American hip hop artist Big L. Released March 28, 1995 on Columbia Records, it is Big L's only album to be released during his lifetime. Recording sessions took place primarily at Powerplay Studios in Queens, New York from 1993 to 1994. Production was handled by Buckwild, Lord Finesse, Showbiz and Craig Boogie. After being discovered by Lord Finesse in 1990, Big L signed a deal with Columbia Records, and he started to work on the album.
The album debuted at number 149 on the US Billboard 200 and number 22 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, but did not chart internationally. Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous spawned three singles: "Put It On", "M.V.P.", and "No Endz, No Skinz", the first two both peaked within the top 25 on the US Hot Rap Tracks and Hot Dance Singles Sales. Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from music critics, earning praise for Big L's lyricism and wordplay, and is now considered by many fans as a classic album. As of August 2000, the album has sold 200,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
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The Big Picture (2000)
The Big Picture is the second and final and first posthumous studio album by American rapper Big L. The album was slated for a 1999 release, but due to L's murder, it was posthumously released on August 1, 2000 on Rawkus Records. It was incomplete at the time of Big L's death, and was posthumously completed by his manager and partner in Flamboyant Entertainment, Rich King. Recording sessions for the album took place primarily at D&D Studios in New York City, New York during 1997 to 1998. It was produced by DJ Premier, Ron Browz, Ron G, Lord Finesse, Pete Rock, Shomari, Mike Heron, Ysae, and Showbiz. The Big Picture features appearances from Fat Joe, Guru, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane and 2Pac. It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in October 2000
It sold 72,549 copies in the first week