Just as Big L began to perfect his art to the fullest, he was fatally shot on the streets of Harlem. At the time of his death, L was just beginning to rise from D.I.T.C.’s levels of obscurity with his hit single, “Ebonics”, and was in being considered by Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella imprint to sign a record deal. Could this have happened at a worse time? It’s a shame it happened at all.
A year and a half has passed since his death, and Rawkus has taken up the task of sewing together what unreleased and obscure material that L had, and turning it into a full-length project. Naturally, his recent singles appear, such as the dictionary of slang, “Ebonics”, plus its follow-up “Size Em Up”, both of which display L’s cleverness and gangsta wit. The previously released “The Heist”, along with new selections like “Casualties Of A Dice Game”, displays his other talent - vivid, picture-painting narratives.
But showcasing Big L’s life after death isn’t an easy task. Obviously, the project coordinators did not have a lot to work with here and at times, it shows. “The Heist” actually makes two appearances on the album, once in original form, and once again as “The Heist Revisited”, with simply a different beat behind it. D.I.T.C.’s “The Enemy” is also included, marking its fourth time being released, and as blazing as it was, it’s been heard too many times before. Another problem that hurts this album is the long list of guest appearances. It’s obvious why they were needed, but when people like 2Pac, Miss Jones, and Stan Spit (?) start showing up on the album, the question arises - would they have been on the album if L was still with us? Granted, collaborations with Sadat X and Guru (“Games”), and Big Daddy Kane “Platinum Plus” seem pretty natural, but after a while you forget that you are listening to a Big L album.
Like recent releases from Biggie and ‘Pac, L’s legacy is represented here, but only to a certain extent - because we all know that only Big L held the true vision what his album should have sounded like. We can’t be mad at anyone for putting in the time to make this project a reality. It’s appreciated, and it’s good that we have it ? but it’s sad that we have to have it under these circumstances.
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