Showing posts with label 2Pac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2Pac. Show all posts

May 13, 2020

Big L Never Got His Chance to Shine

By Robert Dean

Big L never got his chance to shine. It's a story all-American, all-believable in a country where our legends and our brightest stars burn out faster than a citronella candle left to burn on a hot summer night. Like Nipsey Hussle, Tupac, or Biggie Smalls, Big L's life was snuffed out by a hail of bullets back in 1999. All before the mainstream was starting to know his name. It's a heartbreaker because he could have been great, he could have stood as tall as the giants of the game today, because when Big L was lowered into his grave, neither Nas nor Jay-Z were the superstars we know them. He could have been on that wave to greatness.

Coming up from the East Harlem hip hop scene in the early to mid-1990s, Big L blew up thanks to his ability to devastate in freestyle battles as well as flip the context in any situation. He could take literally any subject and flip the point of view on its head with a samurai-sharp eye – all while keeping that smooth New York style. Big L had the bars and the stories that sold his songs, legend has it he'd have people shouting in awe as he laced tirades left and right.



The Source, the OG of all things hip hop journalism, has stated he was one of the best storytellers to ever do it. In an interview with Funkmaster Flex, Nas claimed, "[Big L] scared me to death. When I heard [an Apollo Theater performance] on tape, I was scared to death. I said, 'Yo, it's no way I can compete if this is what I gotta compete with."

Big L's classic record, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous is not a token entry into one of the overlooked greats, it's a fact that most true hip hop heads will agree with. It's got all the elements of style, but also has the vibe and that special thing that reverberates through time, the bars, the beats, and the attitude is genuine. The record went on to sell two hundred thousand copies on the strength of singles, "Put it On" and “MVP." Big L was scooped up long before the pretend gangster that would emerge years later. 


Being the king of the New York mixtapes back in the early 90s, Big L was on a series of tapes with scene luminaries like Cam' ron, Ma$e, and McGruff, (who he briefly had a group with called COC, short for Children of the Corn.) He was also tight with rappers like Jay-Z, Big Pun, and Fat Joe, who happens to perform on the stone-cold classic, "The Enemy."


While most people credit RZA's Gravediggaz as the origins of "horrorcore" but, go back and listen to Big L's "Devil's Son," saying, "I've always been a fan of horror flicks. Plus, the things I see in Harlem are very scary. So, I just put it all together in a rhyme."

When it all turned sideways 

Apparently, Columbia didn't understand what they had, trying to box a real MC into radio singles and, despite selling a lot of records, dropped him, "I was there with a bunch of strangers that didn't really know my music." Despite all of this, he went on to form his own label, 

Flamboyant Entertainment, which was "planned to distribute the kind of hip-hop that sold without top 40 samples or R & B hooks." Ironically, his harder style landed him at the feet of Damon Dash, who wanted Big L to sign with Rockafella. It almost happened as Big L, Jay-Z, and Herb McGruff, C-Town, was going to be called The Wolfpack. 

Sadly, the good fortunes weren't meant to last. On February 15, 1999, Big L was killed at 45 West 139th Street in his native Harlem. He was shot nine times in the face and chest. A kid he grew up with, Gerard Woodley, was arrested three months later. "It's a good possibility it was retaliation for something Big L's brother did, or Woodley believed he had done," said a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department. Woodley was released due to a lack of evidence. The case remains officially unsolved. In 2016, Woodley got his, catching one to the head in 2016. 

The legacy of Big L 

There are a few things that dropped after his death, a record, The Big Picture came out back in 2000, thanks to a plethora of freestyles and a capella tracks they had in the studio from tracks the rapper was working at the time of his death. The record features verses by legends like Fat Joe, Tupac, Gang Starr, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane – the record when on to sell almost one hundred thousand copies.

If you're looking for some of that deep, old school hip hop that gets every party hot or is the perfect soundtrack for a long car ride on a summer day, look no further than Big L. he remains unsung despite the legends of the game knowing full well that he was one of a kind. He died for a street vendetta he had nothing to do with like many have before and since. We can only imagine where he would have fallen with the other New York giants many MC's of today are still chasing. 

May 16, 2019

Why 1989 Was Better Than 2019

Country mullet 1989

Country mullet 2019

Kane 1989

Kane 2019

Fad 1989

Fad 2019

Social media 1989

Social media 2019


Keith Urban 1989

Keith Urban 2019

Country duo 1989

"Country" duo 2019

Lifted truck 1989

Lifted truck 2019

2Pac 1989

2Pac 2019


Apr 6, 2018

Top 10 Biggest Country Singer/Songwriter Jerks


Some would imagine that relatively under-the-radar country singer/songwriters would not be as likely to be divas and d-bags as the ultra-hyped superstars. However, this is not to be. 
Here are some of the most egregious offenders.
----------


10. Brandy Clark
Keeps "Draw 4" up sleeve when playing Uno
Tour rider requires Koolaid pickles, a Creed prayer candle, and 5 bottles of Olde English


9. Ed Hill
Thinks Farce the Music is hilarious
Actual crisis actor


8. Mac McAnally
Thinks Soulja Boy is better than 2Pac
Donates to charities promoting homelessness


7. Josh Grider
Does not tell someone if they have a booger
Hobby: Martin Shkreli fan fiction


6. Gretchen Peters
Has been kicked off multiple flights for fighting and drunkenness
Personally puts tiny scratch on each vinyl album ordered through her website


5. Will Hoge
Wears awkwardly short shorts to co-writing sessions
Default font on all emails? comic sans


4. Lori McKenna
Performs thorough and morally judgmental background check on co-writers
2 can a day Copenhagen habit
Wears big hats to church and sits in front of short people


3. Travis Meadows
Spreads nasty rumors about Whiskey Jack's hygiene
Argues with cashiers over expired coupons
Changes Alan Jackson online set lists and Wikipedia page to say AJ covers Lil Wayne, Future


2. Mandy Barnett
Writes "Nice" on page 69 of every library book she checks out
Coughs on buffets
Still wears a bluetooth earpiece


1. Kendell Marvel
Refused shot, gave 73 people flu this year
Secretly writes bro-country songs under pen name Chris DeStefano
Doesn't refill the Keurig
Claims world's largest laserdisc porn collection


Oct 3, 2013

Kacey Musgraves/2Pac Mashup. Really.

In the category of "things you thought you'd never hear"...here's a mashup of Kacey Musgraves' "Blowin' Smoke" and 2Pac/Dre's "California Love." It gets a little repetitive at times, but it's really cool and the video editing is quite well done.

Here's some backstory on the undertaking.

Aug 18, 2012

From the Archives: Parody Album Covers - Strait, Yoakam, 2Pac

I'm just gonna flat-out steal Nine Bullets "From the Archives" idea. Here are 5 parody album covers from FTM's very first day - July 5, 2008.







Jun 17, 2011

YouTube Gems: 2Pac

Yesterday, Tupac Amaru Shakur would have been 40 years old. Today, FTM takes you back to the two contrasting sides of the man known as 2Pac - the thoughtful, socially aware side - and the devil-may-care gangsta side that eventually led to his early demise.


(This one is NSFW - very explicit language)

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