Big L – The Big Picture Anniversary

Big L released his second studio album “The Big Picture” on August 1, 2000.  The album dropped less than 6 months after Big L was murdered.  The album was produced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Lord Finesse, Showbiz and others.

I remember the day I heard “MVP” and I knew this kid was going to be the next great mc.  Then I heard his debut album and that made me believe we were going to get another Big Daddy Kane!  But it wasn’t meant to be!  When “Ebonics” dropped it made me shed a tear, because that track made me rewind over and over again to hear the clever puns and punchlines all the while knowing that his voice was silenced!  He broke down the linguistics like no one before him!  The kid was nice with rhymes like these,

Check it, my weed smoke is my lye
A ki of coke is supply
When I’m lifted, I’m high
With new clothes on, I’m fly
Cars is whips and sneakers is kicks
Money is chips, movies is flicks
Also, cribs is homes, jacks is pay phones
Cocaine is nose candy, cigarettes is bones
A radio is a box, a razor blade is a ox
Fat diamonds is rocks and jakes is cop
And if you got rubbed, you got stuck
You got shot, you got bucked
And if you got double-crossed, you got fucked
Your bankroll is your poke, a choke hold is a yoke
A kite is a note, a con is a okey doke
And if you got punched that mean you got snuffed
To clean is to buff, a bull scare is a strong bluff
I know you like the way I’m freakin’ it
I talk with slang and I’m a never stop speaking it

From the immortal words of Dr Dre, “Damn that shit was dope!”

Size Em Up” goes straight to the jugular with some razor sharp lyrics all the while rapping over a Gloria Gaynor (yup, you heard right) sample!  The kid even speaks about how Big and Pac are no longer with us.  The irony.  Sad indeed.

Ayo, I shoulda been out
I’m deadly when I pull the pin out
Keep frontin’, I’m a try yo’ chin out
I knocked a lot of men out
I left ’em on the floor spittin’ phlegm out
It’s either that or I’m a squeeze the gat and pop ten out
You see Corleone, ice spinnin’, jigged out, white linen
And if a bitch don’t like me she must like women
Every time I come around you see your wife grinnin’
Don’t be mad ’cause yo’ career’s in the ninth innin’
It’s over now, nigga, leave the game
I’m from the danger zone where emcees get slain
We’re thugs that never hesitate to squeeze the flame
We’re niggaz be takin’ drugs just to ease the pain
Hustlers flip cokey, 48 Hours like Nick Nolte
When I was OT your bitch wrote me
First day home I dived in it
Left her thighs dented
Now that bitch be pagin’ me every five minutes
Emcees I squash and disgrace, it’s all about the Benjis
So why your bills got Washington’s face?
A lot of cats be frontin’
Made singles with’ a fifty on top
L tryin’ to have the city on lock
Peace to Biggie and Pac ’cause they really were hot
Rap game, heavy hitters, it’s a shame they no longer with’ us

Talking about Pac, we then get a dose of double dopeness with the cut “Deadly Combination” where Big L and Pac trade rhymes over a dope bounce track!

98 Freeestyle” was recorded during a session on the radio show  The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show and instead of me explaining it, I’m just going to leave that is right here with all the lyrics to the track!

[Big L]
One-two, one-two
Kinda tired..
Big L, ’bout ta.. get into some shit
Aight check it outYo, fuck all the glamours and glitz, I plan to get rich
I’m from New York and never was a fan of the Knicks
And I’m all about expandin my chips
You mad cause I was in the van with your bitch
with both hands on her tits
Corleone hold the throne, that you know in your heart
I got style, plus the way that I be flowin is sharp
A while back I used to hustle, sellin blow in the park
Countin G stacks and rockin ice that glow in the dark
Forever – hottie huntin, trigger temper I’m quick to body somethin
You lookin at me like I’m probably frontin
I fuck around and throw, three in your chest and flee to my rest
I’m, older and smarter this is me at my best
I stopped hangin around y’all, cause niggaz like you
be prayin on my downfall, hopin I flop
Hopin I stop, you probably even hope I get locked
or be on the street corner with a pipe, smokin the rock
I got more riches than you, fuck more bitches than you
Only thing I haven’t got is more, stitches than you
Fuckin punk, you ain’t a +Leader+ what? Nobody +Follow-ed+ you
You was never shit, your mother shoulda swallowed you
(Mmmm.. WHOO!) You on some tagalong flunkie yes man shit
Do me a favor, please get off the next man dick
And if you think I can’t fuck with whoever, put your money up
Put your jewels up, no fuck it put your honey up
Put your raggedy house up nigga, or shut your mouth up
before I buck lead, and make a lot of blood shed
Turn your tux red, I’m far from broke, got enough bread
And mad hoes, ask Beavis I get nuttin Butt-head
{*laughter*} My game is, vicious and cool
Fuckin chicks is a rule
If my girl think I’m loyal then that bitch is a fool
How come, you can listen to my first album
and tell where a lot of niggaz got they whole style from?
(YEAH!) So what you actin for?
You ain’t half as raw, you need to practice more
Somebody tell this nigga sum’un, ‘fore I crack his jaw
You runnin with boys, I’m runnin with men
I’ma be rippin the mics until I’m a hundred and ten
Have y’all niggaz like, “Damnit this nigga done done it again”
I throw slugs at idi-ots, no love for city cops
I sport a pretty watch, eight-hundred and fifty rocks
I’m makin wonderful figures
I don’t fuck with none of you niggaz
I might pull out this gun on your niggaz
and rob every last one of you niggaz[Bobbito] YEAHHH! (What?)
[Big L] I’m TIRED
[Bobbito] For somebody tired, that wasn’t, that wasn’t too bad!

Flamboyant” could’ve easily fit in on his debut album and it sure sounds like it was left off, but thankfully we have it here on this album.  The track samples a funky James Gilstrap sample (Move Me) and the track does just that!

Make sure my mic is loud and my production is tight
Better watch me round your girl if you ain’t fucking her right
You damn playa haters never want to see me blow
Flamboyant Entertainment CEO
Yo the spotlight is mine, it ain’t his no more
When Lee come home, niggas can’t live no more
And … I’m straight, keep a Harlem World mindstate
I never lounge where you find Jake
Suprise niggas like a blind date, L rhyme great
And I’m a increase the crime rate for old time’s sake
Run with me and I’m a make you a star
When me and my crew hit the clubs, we go straight to the bar
Leave ’em empty, I cruise through Harlem in an M3
Never pay for parties, say my name and I’m in free
I’m on some 100-G car shit, superstar shit
Selling niggas that wet shit right out the jar shit
I’m dumb hot, I’ll wreck you and your young flock
Keep the gun cock, represent one block
139 nigga, the Danger Zone
We quick to put a bullet in a stranger’s dome
I’m known to kick a rough rhyme and rock much shine
Yo I’m out, I done took up enough time

Lastly, and my favorite track on the album is “Casualties of a Dice Game” where he flows over a simple Rufus Thomas track and it seems like he’s going to run out of breath, but continues rhyming with no hook, just one long dope ass verse!  This kid had the lungs and the vocab to do ish like this,

It’s Flamboyant y’all
Yeah, yeah yeah, Corleone y’allMe and my man was cruisin through the streets and everything was flowin nice
The corner’s crowded, niggaz must be rollin dice
I parked the ride so my nigga Iroc can crash the lye spot
and I’ma gamble until he come back – why not?
Click-clack, cock the gat back, gotta be strapped
The game was mad packed, mad cats pockets was fat
They playin cee-lo, my dick get hard when I see dough
I bets nothin less than a G yo, you know my steelo
First I was losin then I started throwin headcrack
after headcrack, got my bread back, jumped in my red Ac’
I’m waitin for my nigga to come out of the spot
I see niggaz startin to plot, and I’m far from my block
Finally he walked out, told him, “Hop the fuck in”
On my face he saw the grin and said, “How much did you win?”
I estimated about, 45 maybe 50 G’s
My man was hungry so I dropped him off at Mickey D’s
Now I’m alone, headin home to rest my dome
Spotted some niggaz trailin so I picked up the phone
Called Bones, I said, “Yo son, I’m on the run
Need your help before I get done
Meet me downstairs, bring your big gun”
I don’t believe this, this nigga said he can’t make it
cause some bitch is in his house butt-naked
and then he hung up
And this supposed to be my man and he don’t give a fuck
That duck sold me out just to get a nut, what?
I’m cruisin fast and they still behind me
The same nigga who I won the money from, and his grimy crimey
It’s about to get, real hasty
Grabbed the steel, took it off safety
cause I refuse to let these niggaz waste me
I started to cruise fast, then stopped short and made ’em crash
And now them fags is all bloody from the shattered glass
And one of them had passed, when his face smashed the dash
I was injured too, leakin with a deep gash
I ain’t panicked, I was quite calm
Couldn’t use the right arm, so I grabbed the gat with the left
Walked up to the car the creep was stuck in the seat
Looked at him, shook my head then started buckin my heat
It’s over now, cause both of these motherfuckers asleep
I think I’m dyin, I’m feelin weak out on my feet
but before I got some medical help, I had to catch a cab first
to one-forty-first and Bradhurst
That’s where Bones live, walked in the buildin, staggerin
Lookin tore down, shot his door down and beat his whore down
From the look in my eye, he knew he would die
Started to cry, stuck the gat to his head and said, “Why?”
Then he offered me, all of his cheese
then dropped to his knees and begged me please not to squeeze
Then his brains got blast out, he’s ass-out, then I dashed out
into the streets covered with blood, about to pass out
The hospital’s up, a couple of blocks, I’m on my way but
damn, here comes a couple of cops; I pulled out
and started blowin they started blowin back I’m goin all out
I ain’t holdin back, I been to jail once and I ain’t goin back
I kept shootin, one shot caught a cop dead in his top
The other pig ducked behind a big truck
I was bleedin real bad, and couldn’t stop it
but still had the fifty thou’ profit in my pockets
The coast was clear, so I jetted to a park that was near
Seen kids playin everywhere then threw the cash in the air
I watched all of them, run for they share
and all I can do was stare
I got weak and fell on my rear
Now I can hear the sirens, that means here comes the Jakes
but it’s too late, I’m knockin on the pearly gates

Yeah, casualties of a dice game
Never gamble with snakes
Let that be a lesson to ya
Yeah, it’s Corleone y’all
Yeah, it’s Flamboyant y’all
Big L y’all, Flamboyant baby, yeah
Big L.. uhh
Big L.. yeah, it’s Flamboyant y’all, yeah

The guest appearances from BDK, Guru, Fat Joe, Sadat X, Kool G Rap and others just goes to sho how many mc’s wanted to be on the same track and show homage!  The kid had potential and was about to get crowned but his time ran out unfortunately.  He’s the one mc we always ask “What could’ve been…” more than anyone else in the industry! We salute you L, but more than anything else, “Big L Rest In Peace”.  Rest in Paradise.  Rest in Power!  We miss ya L!  LOVE

-Al E.

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