Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous
Released This Day In... 1995
The first and only album that Big L ever released before his untimely death, was a certified classic. In fact, this album still lives on as one of the greatest hip hop projects of all time and an exemplar of the essence of New York hip-hop. The Harlem MC oozed talent, boasting witty, hardcore, comedic, and sometimes disturbing lyrics coupled with one of the most memorable deliveries in hip-hop and is hailed as one of the greatest MCs of all-time - despite a limited catalog of music. Coming up in the 90’s Big L rapped with the likes of other New York legends Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Camron, and many more, often outshining these artists when on the same track.
Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous is a raw, gritty, uncensored look into the streets of New York and the horror movie mind of Big L. Over classic boom-bap production from the likes of Buckwild, Lord Finesse, and Showbiz L flexes his talents. On “Put It On,” his most well-known track, L showcases his advanced lyricism. On “MVP” he raps circles around his competition while claiming MVP status (Most Valuable Poet). L was famous for the shock value he brought in his hardcore verses, especially on tracks like “Danger Zone.” This track acts as its own horror flick after an intro with words from Malcom X talking about the evils that “run rampant in Harlem,” some of which L tells us about, “I beat chumps ‘til they head splits/ then break ‘em like bread sticks/ I sex chicks, I’ll even fuck a dead bitch.” The album also features guest appearances from Lord Finesse, as well as young up and comers Jay Z and Camron. In what is an often-overlooked project, Big L concocted an artistic masterpiece that has continued to influence generations of rappers who have come after.