More than a year after the shooting death of Big L, the rapper's posthumous sophomore effort, The Big Picture, will be released June 6 on Rawkus Records, a spokesperson for the label said.
Big L (born Lamont Coleman), respected by many inside and outside the rap community, was a major player in the Big Apple's underground scene. The Harlem, N.Y., native's first break in the music business came as a contributor to rapper/producer Lord Finesse's remix of "Yes You May." Big L quickly became a member of D.I.T.C. (Diggin' in the Crates), a group comprising sensational street preachers and luminary producers Showbiz, Buckwild and AG (Andre the Giant).
In 1995, Big L released his dark gangsta opus debut, "Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous" which has sold more than 200,000 units. The record, an ode to street life, boasted the songs "Put It On" (RealAudio excerpt), "MVP" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Let 'Em Have It 'L'." Big L toured the world behind the album but was dropped by his label, Columbia, soon after. In 1998, Big L started his own label, Flamboyant Records.
Released on Feb. 22, D.I.T.C.'s self-titled debut featured Big L and Big Pun. Tracks included "Ebonics" — once only available as a Big L single — and "Tribute," written in memory of Big L. Big Pun (born Christopher Rios) died Feb. 7 from apparent heart attack.
With his hardcore riffs and reputation for helping up-and-comers, Big L came to the attention of 21-year-old Russian filmmaker Val Lik. Lik asked Big L to appear onscreen alongside high-profile rappers Redman, Method Man, Killah Priest, Big Pun and Sticky Fingaz in "Boricua's Bond," due June 23.
"Big L made a cameo appearance in the movie," Brendan Flynt, the film's director of photography, said. "In the scene, he was with a few other rappers in a basement talking about who to rob next."
Big L was just 24 when he was killed Feb. 15, 1999, in Harlem. He was hit by nine bullets to the face and chest. The only suspect in the killing, Gerard Woodley, 30, of the Bronx, N.Y., has been charged with second-degree murder and is out on bail, a public information officer in the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.
Woodley's next court date is scheduled for July 5.