Review Summary: '95 was a beautiful year for L... oh, and for us.
Have you ever encountered an artist that you were immediately hooked on to and somehow knew you would be a lifelong fan of? That wasn't Big L's case with me. I thought his lyrics were cheesy, predictable and I hated the fact he garnered so much praise when he barely had any variation. Fast forward to this year, 2 years after I had discovered L and no longer a 15 year old commercialised brat, something perked my interest in Big L again, so I decided to do some research.
His life began to interest me and I found myself downloading loads of his material to get a better understanding of where this cat came from. I began to get obsessed with him, convinced that further in the cupboard I'd find another Big L song, and I did, this man is incredible. Back to the review.
This album remains consistent, it flows smoother than a period but there are a few flaws. On first listen, to an L newcomer, this album might seem average at best, simply because his punchlines are sparse (I'm tired of people overrating his punchlines because of that Beavis/Butthead line), the production is very 90s underground and some of the *** he says is not for the fainthearted.
The 1st song and 2nd song deals with an introduction into who L is and what he represents, he manages to somehow compile every flow on the album into one epic song entitled Put It On. It's fantastic. Then he moves onto a broader subject, women and how they use you if you're loaded with cash, not much to say on it..if you've listened to a lot of rap it's not that impressive, but he remains consistent. In the fourth song he brings his crew in. His crew is average at best. L's delivery in that song is nothing to swarm over, I felt like he was off time once or twice and the lyrics didn't flow as nice as Da Graveyard. The following two songs are L's successful attempt at.. horrorcore? All Black is essentially L describing what he does on a day to day basis, his delivery and flow is incredible, it really is. He's barely ever offbeat on this album and he has one particular flow mastered, which is what I find so impressive. On Danger Zone he returns back to the horrorcore image but laces it up with some Satanic references that are kind of overthetop and a bit funny, for example:
"I got styles you can't copy bitch, it's the triple six
in the mix, straight from H-E-double-hockey sticks
Every Sunday, a nun lay from my gun spray
*** Carlito, we doin' *** the Devil Son's way
Every minute, my style switches up, they said a real man
won't hit a girl well I ain't real cause I beat bitches up"
First time I heard that I was taken aback, simply because I've been raised so religiously spoonfed. ***ing hell, anyways.
L then ditches all that horrorcore glamorization to Street Struck, a song warning kids to stay off the streets and follow an education and any positive opportunities they may encounter, which I find quite odd after 2 songs glamorising and praising violence, whatever though, it's L, it's good. He features some friends of his in Da Graveyard which includes a very different and, in my opinion, more raw sounding Jay Z. L dominates this song with great punchlines and rhyming. The way he connects the lyrics together is so smooth sounding, he's a lyricist at heart, mostly focusing on visualisation. After Da Graveyard follows the album titled song. This songs beat is rad, it's so gritty, dirty, whatever word. Music makes me think of colors, this music makes me think of dark green and black with some white thrown in, I can't help it, this song is rad. The next song, entitled: I Don't Understand It, enlightens us with his current opinion on todays rap. If you listen to it now, it's still quite relatable to the scene. The next song Fed Up Wit The Bull*** deals with police brutality and racism and it flows well, as usual, though you do get tired of hearing the same words repeated. i.e. "nig, pig, back, cap, cat, slap" etc. I know L was capable of larger worded lyricism. The last song that finishes the album is a punchline-filled-***-you-im-the-best rap. It doesn't pack a punch, mainly because of the production, but it's still great simply because L saves it with his lyrics.
L's Performance: L's lyrics are tight and slick as ***, he clearly had a gift and was a talented wordsmith. His delivery is topnotch and barely ever wavers because he sounds so natural and confident. His flow however can become mundane after a few listens, same with the beats.
If you're looking for more L material, rare or not, check out: http://biglrarities.blogspot.com/
It's all free, and it heightened my interest in him. RIP Lamont "Big L Corleone" Coleman.