Big L – “Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous” Anniversary Album Review

Big L – “Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous” Album Anniversary

Big L released his first studio album “Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous”  on March 28 1995.  The album was produced by Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Craig Boogie and Showbiz.   The album is composed of 12 dope tracks that punch you in the gut with lyricism.  The man is the king of the “punch-lines”.

The album starts off nicely with “Put It On” featuring Kid Capri. He doesn’t waste time to show you the funny “tongue-and-cheek” lyrics that make you laugh and say “whooo!” at the same time!

“Nobody can take nuttin from Big L but a loss chief
The last punk who fronted got a mouth full of false teeth
I’m known to gas a hottie and blast the shottie
Got more cash than Gotti (you don’t know?) you betta ask somebody
Big L is a crazy brother, and I’m a lady lover
A smooth kid that’ll run up in your baby mother
I push a slick Benz, I’m known to hit skinz
And get endz and commit sins with sick friends
Cause I’m a money getter, also a honey hitter
You think you nice as me? Ha ha, youse a funny ni**a!
I flows, so one of my shows, wouldn’t be clever to miss
I’m leavin competitors pissed
To tell you the truth, it gets no better than this
I’m catchin wreck to the break of dawn
And it’s on, yo it’s a must that I put it on”

The second track “MVP” has the same beat that Biggie used for his “One More Chance” remix and again Big L is killing it with the punchlines.  The guy has a knack for witty a** rhymes like these:

“Yo it’s a must that I get papes
Peace to all the DJ’s who gave me love on their mix tapes
And once again the man’s back with a denged track
So here’s your chance jack to get loose and let your hand clap.
I got juice like voco, mad crues I broke thru,
niggas be getting mad cause I hit more chicks than they spoke to.
And everytime I’m in a jam I always find a loophole,
I got a crime record longer than Manute Bol.
And my raps is unbelievable like aliens and flying sorcers
No more iron horses cause I’m buying porches.
I’m coming straight out the NYC peace to the Kid Carpi, I’m M.V.P.”

The remix with Miss Jones gives t more of a pop feel:

On the jazz influenced “No End, No Skinz” Big L explains how money can get you that fly girl and holds nothing back:

“If you got dough you get a ho with a fat butt
With fresh gear, long hair and a cute face
And if ya live alone shes gonna pack her suit case and move in
Then ya start loosin all ya bucks
Soon you broke as a joke and outta luck
Then she takes off and brakes off
Ya ho’s gone, so long dear
I’m outta here a good relationships been torn
Cause when you on top everythings OK
But when you broke you gets no play”

He then explains how the streets of Harlem NY can get you “Street Struck”.  Although it’s a serious track, he still has time to throw a “New Jack City” punchline in there.

“I still chill with my peeps in the streets; but most of the time
I’m in the crib, writin rhymes to some dope beats
Or either callin up some freaks to bone
But word up, I try to leave the streets alone
But it’s crazy hard kid, in other words, it’s spooky
The streets be callin me, like the crack be callin Pookie
It ain’t a dumb joke, listen to this young folk
Cause where I’m from — you can choke from the gunsmoke
Stay off the corners; that might be your best plan
Before you catch a bullet that was meant for the next man
Or end up with a deep cut
Or relaxin on a hospital bed, from bein street struck”

Big L has 2 posse cuts on this album.  Cam’ron makes a cameo appearance on “8 Iz Enuff” but the highlight of this album is the appropriately titled “Da Graveyard” where BigL, Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Jay Z, Party Art and Grand Daddy IU, all kill it in their own unique way!  After the dust settles, it’s Big L that comes out with the illest 16 bars.  It’s as if he knew he had to shine next to the likes of Lord Finesse and Jay Z, so he left the best for this track.

“Big L be lightin’ niggas like incense
Gettin’ men lynched, too intense
I’m killin’ infants for ten cents
Cause I’m a street genius with a unique penis
Got fly chicks on my dick that don’t even speak English
I’m makin’ ducks shed much tears
I buck queers
I don’t have it all upstairs but who the fuck cares?
I’m grabbin’ brews takin’ fast swiggas
I get cash and stash figures and harass them bitch ass niggas
After you you’re man ‘ll get scarred next
And if ya squad flex
I’m lettin’ off like Bernard Goetz
A tech nine is my utensil
Fillin’ niggas with so much led they can use they dick for a pencil
I’m known for snatchin’ purses and bombin’ churches
I get more pussy by accident then most niggas get on purpose
I got drug spots from New York to Canada
Cause Big L be fuckin’ with more keys than a janitor”

I think I rewinded Big L’s bars on “Da Graveyard” about 25 consecutive times.  He was the next big name in Hip Hop, until he was murdered from a drive-by shooting in Harlem on February 15th, 1999.  A life cut way too short. As I listen to this album in it’s entirety 21 years later, I wonder what could’ve been. we will never know but he left a couple of great albums to remember him by.  As DJ Premier says, “BIG L…REST IN PEACE!”

-Al E.

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