Posts Tagged ‘big l’

…want me to write you some raps g, just ask me.

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

An alternate title of this could be: The Children of the Corn, Junior M.A.F.I.A. & Deceased Ghostwriters. And this is where a lesser person, or perhaps a funnier, more well written one would make some joke about artists who have died, ghosts and ghostwriters. Maybe something about how they are actually, truly ghostwriters now. I’m sure there’s a brilliant pun in there somewhere.

Oh, how clever.

But I really wanna talk about this. I’m not the first to say that just about all we ultimately have left from a lot of people is their music and with MCs that basically boils down to written work, their lyrics. A lot of ghostwriting that was done years ago is still largely unknown to the public and I’m not talking about how Big Daddy Kane wrote for Biz Markie or how The D.O.C. helped write for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg or even how Ice Cube was writing for Eazy-E.

No, this is not just about the MCs who wrote their own rhymes as well as rhymes for others, but about those ghostwriting MCs who are no longer living. There is definitely a connection here between the N.W.A.-era west coast and hip hop as a whole today though; reference tracks are now more popular than ever, particularly thanks to Dr. Dre and his Detox project.

What’s a reference track, you ask? A reference track is when not only does someone else ghostwrite the lyrics, but they also ghost spit it, delivering the lines over the (or a) beat, showing the credited artist how to re-record the track in their own voice. It’s essentially rap-by-numbers, you don’t have to write, you don’t have to know how to flow, you can simply just copy what the writer says. Obviously these reference tracks are usually demo quality and to preserve anonymity they aren’t supposed to be heard by the larger hip hop community, but a few have inevitably shown up online.

Junior M.A.F.I.A.

I’m going to talk about two instances of ghostwriting that are less well known than Notorious B.I.G. spitting reference tracks for Lil’ Kim’s Queen Bitch (192 CBR) and Lil’ Cease’s verse on Player’s Anthem (192 CBR), which itself has become almost as general knowledge as Sean “P____” Combs using ghostwriters throughout his whole career. My focus is mostly going to be on the two departed members of the group The Children of the Corn. I encourage you all to help add on though.

It was Bloodshed’s birthday on the fifth of this month, Biggie’s was on the twenty first and Big L’s is today, the thirtieth. What’s one thing these three New York MCs each have in common besides early deaths, having been born in May and the letter b? You guessed it; they were all ghostwriters, at least to some degree.

Lamont “Big L” Coleman: Born May 30th, 1974, Died February 15th, 1999.
(Photo courtesy of Diggin’ in the Crates affiliate Marquee.)

Here’s a Big L verse from the original Flamboyant freestyle, featuring Royal Flush (192 CBR):

“Yo I’m a young teen with dumb cream,
I refuse to be unheard or unseen, I shine like the sun beam.

All you niggas better come clean before my gun scream,

rap’s a fun thing, only roll with one team:
Flamboyant Entertainment. That’s who I came with.
I pack a nine and once I aim it, I gotta flame it.

Push a blue eight, got props from here to Kuwait.

The one your crew hate, hear me on the next Clue tape.

They call me C-Town, I snatch mics like a rebound,

pack a three pound, that’s my prerog’ like B. Brown.

I rip shows in large arenas, like the Garden in Meadowlands,

got nothin’ but love for all my ghetto fans.

On one three nine and Lenox eyes get shut.

The Danger Zone, where guys get stuck.

Where all the pies get cut.

Try to front we gon’ size you up.
Like Corleone’ll grab the chrome and throw five in yo’ gut, what?”

And now here’s C-Town on the posthumous Big L track, Still Here (V2 / VBR):

“I be that young teen with dumb cream,
I refuse to be unheard or unseen, I shine like the sun beam.

All you niggas better come clean before my gun scream,

rap’s a fun thing, only roll with one team:

Flamboyant Entertainment. That’s who I came with.

I pack a nine and once I aim it, I gotta flame it.

Push a blue eight, got props from here to Kuwait.

The one your crew hate, hear me on Big L new tape.

They call me C-Town, I snatch mics like a rebound,

pack a three pound, that’s my prerog’ like B. Brown.

I rip shows in large arenas like the Garden in Meadowlands,

got nothin’ but love for all my ghetto fans.

On one three nine and Lenox eyes get shut.

The Danger Zone is where pies get cut.

Where all the guys get stuck.

Try to front we gon’ size you up.
Like Corleone’ll grab the chrome and throw fiv
e in yo’ gut.”

It sure sounds like L’s protégé, the guy who would’ve been a future member of The Wolfpack (along with L, Jay-Z and Herb McGruff) on Roc-A-Fella Records, was getting some extra help with his writing.

Derek “Bloodshed” Armstead: Born May 5th, 1976, Died March 2nd, 1997.

I recently had a chance to talk with Derek “Bloodshed” Armstead’s half brother Brian about his brother’s life and near the end of the interview, he said this:

“…As a fan, go back to Crush on You by Lil’ Cease and Lil’ Kim and listen to Lil’ Cease’s part. You can hear that Cam and my brother wrote it. It is typical Bloodshed and I can’t remember the exact lyrics but ‘CDs with crazy bass, keep my ladies laced, don’t be fooled by the baby face’ was the end of my brother’s bars. If you listen to the beginning of that part you can definitely hear his style when it says something about sea breeze…” ~ Brian Armstead

This next one doesn’t have a reference track but for comparison, here’s (Murda Mase,) Bloodshed and Cam’Ron, then Killa Kam, on the Children of the Corn song Doin’ It (192 CBR).

And here’s Lil’ Cease and Lil’ Kim’s Crush on You.

It has long been said that Cam, Mase and of course Big were some of Sean Combs and Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s most prominent, well known ghostwriters. Particularly (according to Lil’ Cease) that Biggie wrote the entirety of Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s ’95 debut album, Conspiracy, not just Cease’s verse on Player’s Anthem and also that Cam’Ron wrote Crush on You for Kim and Cease, right down to the hook.

Not only has the latter story been confirmed but also that Bloodshed was ghostwriting with his cousin Cam and that he contributed lines to this song as well. In ‘97 Bloodshed was killed in a car crash exactly one week before Biggie was shot. But in ‘95 / 96, they were both writing lyrics for the same people. That makes at least three outta the five MCs from Children of the Corn writing for Biggie Smalls‘ people (and every MC in the group but McGruff is now known for having ghostwritten in the nineties).

Which makes me wonder, what else is already out there that we just don’t know about?

Killa Kam, Herb McGruff, Bloodshed, Big L, Jim Jones & Murda Mase

Peace to Biggie, Big L and Bloodshed and props to BigLOnline, Blood’s brother Brian and D.I.T.C. affiliate Marquee for the photos, videos and information.

The Big Sleep

Mark 563’s Hip Hop Portrait Sketches: East Coast

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Mark 563 is a DJ, a graphic designer, he is also into amateur photography, but he also dabble into illustrations.

He is also a proud owner of one of the greatest vinyl collection i have ever seen.
Stay tunned after this one, cause soon after we will show you some more of his great work.
Enjoy and pleas leave the feedback, thanks.

** Click on the image to see it in a bigger resolution.

— Markshot

The Faculty – Yes You May ( Big L Tribute)

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Here’s an exclusive that’s gonna be a bonus feature on the Street Struck: The Big L Story DVD. Peace to The Big Sleep, DJ Mike Nice, BigLOnline, Dangerzone Films & Venom Records for this one. –Philaflava

The Faculty (Ei8trak & LY.F.E.) – Yes You May

Cameos By: Andre the Giant (A.G.), DJ Mike Nice, Donald “Don Ice” Phinazee (Big L’s oldest brother), Lord Finesse & Stan Spit

Directed By: Jewlz the Director / Tommy (childhood friend of Big L)

Big Twan – The Best of Big Twan

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Here is the second collabo between The T.R.O.Y. Blog and BigLOnline and we’ll continue bringing heat as long as you allow us to. This compilation showcases the talents of Big Twan, who many remember off of Big L’s “8 Iz Enuff” track. Twan went on to do a lot of work with Big Kwam (no relation) and put out several singles on the UK label Blind Side Recordings. We’ve hand picked 16 tracks and Big Twan was nice enough to give 4 himself to help create the Best of Big Twan. Enjoy! –Philaflava

The T.R.O.Y. Blog & BigLOnline Presents..
Big Twan: The Best of Big Twan.

01. Above Da Law ft. Agallah, Labba, Sean Price & Starang Wondah
02. My Mic
03. The Hellgate Rebel ft. Big Kwam
04. The Reunion ft. Big Kwam
05. One Time 4 the Lyricist
06. Tom Hewitt Freestyle
07. The Pavlik
08. Focus
09. The Reunion ft. Big Kwam (Vinyl Reanimators Remix)
10. The Hellgate Rebel ft. Big Kwam (A capella)
11. My Mic (Instrumental)
12. The Hellgate Rebel (Instrumental)
13. The Reunion (Instrumental)
14. One Time 4 the Lyricist (Instrumental)
15. The Reunion (Vinyl Reanimators Remix Instrumental)
16. DJ Eddie Ill & DL Ayatollah Freestyle ft. FT, Hafeese, Labba & Matt Fingaz
17. Get It In Freestyle
18. Strate Razor
19. Above the Law (Instrumental)
20. ’96 Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Freestyle


Tracks 06, 07, 08, 17 and 18 are exclusives given to BigLOnline by Twan himself.


Big L – 8 Iz Enuff (Demo Version) ft. Terra, Herb McGruff, Buddah Bless, Big Twan, Killa Kam, Trooper J & Mike Boogie (Produced by Buckwild) Download

Big L – The Best of The Rest

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
This compilation showcases a dozen varied highlights of non-album cuts and unreleased tracks by Big L. It spans from his first recordings in ‘92 to his last live show in ’98. Most blogs focus on the best of Big L. We’ve heard all those tracks but this time we’re focusing on the best of the rest. Tracks that don’t always get mentioned and some hard to come across. We’ve hand picked 12 tracks in their best quality and put together this compilation for you. Stay tuned for more collabos with The T.R.O.Y. Blog and BigLOnline but for now enjoy The Best of The Rest. –Philaflava

The T.R.O.Y. Blog & Big L Online Presents..
Big L: The Best of the Rest.

01. Big L – Devil’s Son ’98 (Live in Amsterdam)
02. Lord Finesse – You Know What I’m About (Original Version) ft. Big L
03. Big L – Principal of the New School
04. Big L – Unexpected Flava
05. The Children of the Corner (Big L, Herb McGruff, Murda Mase, Killa Kam & Digga)
– Hell Up in Harlem (Extended DJ Ron G Uptown Mix)
06. Big L – We Got This (Alternate Version)
07. Big L – Let Me Find Out
08. Liz Lucci – We All Can’t Ball ft. Big L & Richie Thumbs
09. Bootsie – Harlem N.Y.C. (Beats 2 Blow Remix) ft. Big L & Herb McGruff
10. DJ Ron G – Exclusive 2003 Shit ft. Big L
11. Big L – Now or Never
12. Stephen Simmonds – Alone (Original Version) ft. Big L & Marquee

Concept and title by: Jason Gloss of Philaflava.
Cover and execution by: TheBigSleep of Big L Rarities (and BigLOnline).
Quality: Half are 192 / CBR and half are V2 / VBR. (65 MB for a dozen MP3s.)
Duration: Forty five minutes, forty seconds.

Download Mix

Track Info:

01. Recorded October 8th, 1998 for the Fat Beats Amsterdam Party (with Andre the Giant and Roc Raida on stage as well).
02. The first song L ever recorded. When he was seventeen, 1992. Unreleased (because Finesse wasn’t allowed to put anyone on who wasn’t signed to a label) until it was put it on From the Crates to the Files in 2003.
03. The first solo song L ever recorded, also in 1992, before Devil’s Son. The first verse was used on Stretch & Bobbito that year but the rest went unheard until Finesse put it out last year on Rare Selections EP Vol. II.
04. Given to DJs but unreleased tag free (without voiceovers) until last year when Finesse put it out on Rare Selections EP Vol. I. ’91 Finesse remix instrumental beat for Large Pro, unused by Warner Bros., L’s vocals added in ’93 but deemed too outdated for Lifestylez.
05. Unreleased Ron G mix not included on the 2005 Children of the Corn Collector’s Edition CD (features all of The Children of the Corner except Bloodshed).
06. Part of this was used for The Triboro, unheard in it’s entirety until 2005’s The Archives, put out by Finesse.
07. Bootleg that surfaced within the last couple years. From the mixtape Classic Whites: The Illest White Labels Vol. I. Unknown year, production, source and origin.
08. ’98 vinyl single only release. Liz Lucci also went by the name Big Zil.
09. ’98 vinyl single only release.
10. 2003 Ron G Mixtape release, Da Thriller Blends. (Available in full on Recognize the Real: )
11. Recorded in ’96 for L’s second Columbia LP, The Big Picture. The first time that album was given a name. Unreleased until 2005’s The Archives.
12. Recorded in ’97. Limited edition vinyl release.

Don’t forget to check out Big L Rarities.

Great Introductions

Monday, August 31st, 2009

One of the greatest things about music is discovering new artists. Whether it’s the case today, years ago hip-hop was always about helpin’ others get on. There was a certain element in the music was more authentic. The chemistry was real and more importantly rappers were motivated by their competitive nature, not potential endorsements. There are tons of memorable debuts such as AZ on “Life’s A Bitch,” Jay-Z on “Hawaiian Sophie” or 2Pac on D.U.’s “Same Song.” For some, careers were made on just one verse.

Below are 7 phenomenal debuts that some might argue contain the greatest ever. We’re asking our T.R.O.Y. readers to let us know which debut you feel is the greatest of all-time. You can post your comments as well as vote on which debut from the videos below you feel is the best. –Philaflava

Ultramagnetic MC’s – Raise It Up feat. Godfather Don

A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Remix) feat. Kid Hood & L.O.N.S.

Gang Starr – I’m The Man feat. Lil Dap & Jeru The Damaja

Organized Konfusion – Fudge Pudge feat. O.C.

Main Source – Live From The BBQ feat. Joe Fatal, Akinyele & Nasty Nas

Dr. Dre – Deep Cover (187) feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg

Lord Finesse – Yes You May (Remix) feat. Big L

Street Struck: The Big L Story

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Our homie TheBigSleep from The Big L Rarities Blog posted this on the forums and being that is set to unveil this tomorrow afternoon at 140th & Lenox in Harlem we thought it’s best to share this the rest of you. This clip is from Jewlz, the director of Street Struck: The Big L Story and is just a teaser trailer of Dangerzone Films’ new documentary. Peace to for the exclusive. –Philaflava

Danger Mouse – DM Mix (98-01)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Before Gnarls Barkley, Danger Doom, The Grey Album, & bringing back Jemini The Gifted One, Danger Mouse was putting out his own hip-hop mixtapes which always included a handful of his early mash-ups or should I say blends. He released four promo mixtapes from 1998 to 2000. I hooked up all his remixes together into one folder full of Danger Mouse Remixes*. They were all well done. A blend that I really enjoy is Inspectah Deck’s “Rec Room” vocals over Demastas “Feel No Guilt” instrumental. While a lot of the instrumentals used for the remixes were known to my ears, my three favorites which I included below didn’t ring a bell. I think they were probably his own beats. All of you should enjoy these remixes, peep the samples below to give you a nice idea of the concept. Enjoy,


— Thomas V

*One of the remix I included is from 2001 (wasn’t on his promo mixtapes)

Memory Man Presents Wu-Tang Clan Vs. D.I.T.C.

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Memory Man Presents Wu-Tang Clan Vs. D.I.T.C.

“This virtual face-off pits two of New York’s most respected and influential crews against each other in an all-out blend war. The focus is on battle rhymes and the groups’ golden era material, but there’s a few exceptions. Split into two continuous parts, the tracks alternate between Wu-Tang MC’s rhyming over D.I.T.C. beats and vice versa. This mix is an attempt to illustrate how evenly matched the Wu-Tang Clan and D.I.T.C. really are/were.“

Wu-Tang Clan Vs. DITC Part 1 (45:30)
Wu-Tang Clan Vs. DITC Part 2 (35:05)


Hopefully, you will all enjoy this mix. Make sure to check out Memory Man here at his Myspace. Drop a comment! It def gets my vote for ‘Mix of the Year’!!

— Thomas V

Lord Finesse, Big L, & Youth Crime

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Lord Finesse “Shorties Kaught In The System (S.K.I.T.S.)”

Lord Finesse “Shorties Kaught In The System (S.K.I.T.S.)” REMIX
Big L “Street Struck”
All three songs zipped in one file

Sociologist Robert R. Alford once described how the media recasts scholarly theories as dogmatic truths that influence policymaking. Legal scholar Michael Lindsey wrote scathingly about one such concept, “super predator,” which was introduced by Princeton University poli-sci professor John Dilulio in an article published in The Weekly Standard in late 1995:

… Dilulio defined his title phrase as a cohort of youthful offenders created from a moral poverty … In academia, creating drama around an issue to ensure that editors will accept it is sometimes necessary … this hyperbole did not end with Dilulio’s article … U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum of Florida introduced the Violent Youth Predator Act of 1996 … References to youthful offenders has escalated from “delinquents” to “super-predators.” Politicians, news commentators, journalists, and justice and law enforcement officials, now use Dilulio’s postulated projections as a statement of fact.
This vision of a “demographic time bomb” lurking “on the horizon,” comprised of youths who “quite literally have no concept of the future” is at once poetic, vicious, and calculated.
Dilulio does not mention music, but his “moral poverty” theory resembles studies like “The Moynihan Report” that according to Tricia Rose advance notions of a dysfunctional black culture that arises (against all logic) apart from social institutions. Rap is alleged to be this culture’s “greatest contemporary promoter”; its reception as literal autobiography, she argues, is informed by historical assumptions that black men are ” ‘naturally’ violent.”
When authored by self-described insiders, such diatribes give rise to reductive binaries that persist despite being regularly disparaged by astute critics. Scrutiny is averted from “positive” songs that encourage the conflation of real crime with its verbal representation, or romanticize a prior decade. Such stances are vulnerable to co-optation by right-leaning anti-youth pundits. Hardly harmless.
Any rap lyric can be sold through charismatic, convincing authenticity. Academic texts are no different. Obtuse works can “cross over” if peppered with panache. Tucked between Dilulio’s jargon slinging and number crunching is a stylized memoir: the kid from a low-rent ethnic white Philly ‘hood grows into the fearless researcher who is “almost killed” conducting research in a prison. To build his case and his credibility, Dilulio cites folks with unimpeachable stripes: cons, cops, and then-Philly D.A. Lynne Abraham, known as “suite and street smart.” She asserts that youth crime waves are led by “youngsters who pack guns instead of lunches,” nearly mirroring Philly rapper Jamal’s lyric “I’m never packing pop tarts for lunch, I’m packing .38 specials” on Illegal’s “Back In The Day.”
Dilulio and the Posse’s wry pastiche also brings to mind Lord Finesse’s “Shorties Kaught In The System,” a grim account of high school dropouts who prefer shooting Glocks to skelly tops from the alarmingly titled State Of Emergency: Society In Crisis compilation. The ever-virtuosic Finesse offers rhymed statistics (“eighty out of a hundred/ all they wanna do is clock dough, scoop bitches, and get blunted”) while appealing to his audience’s sense of fearful urgency and insider authenticity (“if you ain’t from the ghetto this undercover/ but in ninety-four, shit is realer than a motherfucker”). Dilulio could well have quoted him. While “S.K.I.T.S.” is not a commentary on music nor the exact type of song that is frequently championed by purists to discredit newer trends, it stands as a forceful indictment of youth culture, ripe for the picking.
Finesse is redeemable, though. He is guilty of romanticizing his not-too-distant adolescence, but he acknowledges that violence is a systemic problem. He ascribes a level of resourcefulness and intelligence to troubled youths that Dilulio does not (“It ain’t about IQ/ some of them are making more than doctors/ and didn’t graduate high school”). In real life, he served as a mentor to Big L, who appears on the hook of the “S.K.I.T.S.” remix as the contrary young voice (“I don’t give a fuck…”). On the Finesse-produced “Street Struck,” Big L credits rap with steering him from crime; Finesse’s warmhearted concern for his disciple is corroborated by L’s mother.
The sad irony is that Big L was shot to death in 1999, most likely over a dispute that did not directly involve him. His verses on “Street Struck” are poignant, empathetic, hopeful, less judgemental and ultimately more incisive than what we hear from his elder mentor on the same subject. Although the song is a departure from Big L’s typically sadistic narratives, the trajectory of his life illuminates several truths that should be more obvious, namely that kids who consume and create violent rap are (like anyone else) complex human beings who mostly wish to pursue wealth and happiness, are fully capable of discerning fictive expression from actual reality, experience stress and frustration when presumed to be less than human, and bleed when shot.
And their bleeding is not stopped by a conscious lyric, a poorly executed album concept, or bad comedy. — Thun
— Thun