Remembering Big L: The Undeniable Impact on Hip Hop

Remembering Big L: The Undeniable Impact on Hip Hop


In the pantheon of hip hop legends, Lamont Coleman, known professionally as Big L, stands as a towering figure despite his tragically short life. Born in Harlem, New York, Big L's career was a testament to lyrical prowess, storytelling, and the raw energy of street hip hop. His untimely death on February 15, 1999, left a void in the music world, but his influence resonates to this day. This article explores the life, career, and lasting impact of Big L on hip hop and its culture.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Growing up in Harlem, Big L was exposed to the burgeoning hip hop scene early in his life. His neighborhood, often described as a melting pot of culture and creativity, played a pivotal role in shaping his musical sensibilities. From street battles to local performances, Big L quickly gained recognition for his sharp wit and seamless flow.

Breakthrough and Contributions to Hip Hop

Big L's breakthrough came with his debut album, "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous," released in 1995. The album was a critical success, showcasing his skillful wordplay, complex rhymes, and vivid storytelling. Tracks like "Put It On," "M.V.P.," and "Ebonics" became instant classics, cementing his place in hip hop history.

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The D.I.T.C. Connection

As a founding member of the Diggin' in the Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.), Big L was instrumental in the collective's success. D.I.T.C., comprising legends like Fat Joe, Lord Finesse, and Diamond D, became known for its contribution to the New York underground hip hop scene. Big L's collaboration with these artists not only elevated his status but also enriched the group's musical output.

The Legacy of Big L

Big L's impact on hip hop extends far beyond his discography. He is celebrated for his pioneering contributions to the art of emceeing, particularly in the realms of freestyling and battle rapping. His lyrical dexterity and innovative use of language have influenced countless artists.

Influence on Future Generations

From mainstream successes to underground talents, many artists cite Big L as a key influence. His ability to weave complex narratives with a unique flow has inspired a new generation of rappers to prioritize lyrical skill in their music.

Posthumous Recognition

Despite his career being cut short, Big L's influence has grown posthumously. Unreleased tracks and collaborations have been compiled, offering fans a glimpse into what could have been. His life and work continue to be celebrated in documentaries, tribute tracks, and by hip hop historians.


Big L's legacy is a reminder of the profound impact an artist can have, regardless of their time on the world stage. His contributions to hip hop—marked by lyrical brilliance, storytelling, and a commitment to authenticity—have left an indelible mark on the genre. As we remember Big L, we celebrate not just a rapper, but a visionary whose influence continues to inspire and resonate within hip hop culture.


  1. "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" - Album Analysis
  2. D.I.T.C. Official Website - Biography of Big L
  3. Hip Hop History Archives - Interviews with Peers and Collaborators
  4. Music Critic Reviews and Retrospectives on Big L's Career