Lamont Coleman, 30 May 1974, New York City, New York, USA, d. 15 February 1999, Harlem, New York City, New York, USA. This highly respected Harlem-based MC had his life cut tragically short just when it appeared his legendary underground status was about to translate into the mainstream. Coleman first came to the attention of the rap world in the early 90s as part of Harlems leading crew, D.I.T.C. (Diggin In The Crates). In 1992 he made his recording debut on Lord Finesses Yes You May, appeared on Diamond Ds Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, and signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. His 1995 debut, Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, included several of his underground hits but failed to establish him as a commercial force outside of Harlem. Undeterred, Big L set up his own Flamboyant Entertainment label (named after his manifesto, flamboyant for life) as an alternative to what he felt was overly-commercial music being distributed by major labels. He also helped establish the recording careers of future hip-hop stars, Camron and Ma$e. In 1998 he released Ebonics, a bona fide rap classic that translates the language of the streets for the benefit of hip-hops sizeable suburban fanbase. With interest growing in his work, tragedy stuck when Big L was fatally shot in February 1999 near his Harlem home. A posthumous solo set, The Big Picture, and the D.I.T.C. album Worldwide were both released the following year.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.