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Lord Finesse Represents For Big L, Hosts Tribute Show

Although he may not have had the mainstream appeal of other

fallen Hip-Hop icons, Big L was no less talented. And certainly no less loved.

This Wednesday (Feb. 16) Lord Finesse and the estate of Big

L will honor the boastful Harlem emcee with an all-star tribute show at SOBs

in New York City featuring appearances by the Diggin’ in the Crates crew,

DJ Premier, Pharaoh Monche, and a host of others.

“I want people to celebrate his music,” Finesse

told AllHipHop.com about the event.

The show comes six years and one day after the murder of the

gifted lyricist. Big L was killed near his home February 15, 1999 when a gunman

approached him and fired off shots in what was believed to be a retaliation

hit against the rapper’s then incarcerated brother, Lee Coleman, who L

frequently shouted out in rhyme.

Between a series of legal entanglements with Big L’s label,

Flamboyant Entertainment, and Finesse’s reluctance to pursue a tribute,

plans for a show continued to stall.

“It’s (was) hard for me to do it, because between

him being killed and my birthday, they neck and neck, really,” said Finesse.

Ultimately, the show prevailed. Finesse felt his late friend

should be honored in the same manner as The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur

are each year.

“When they talk about rappers that passed, they only talk

about two people,” a dismayed Finesse said. “They don’t even

talk about Trouble T-Roy anymore. It’s just Biggie and ‘Pac. Hip-Hop

is comprised of more soldiers that fell than just them two.”

In addition to honoring L, plans for a new solo album and DVD

on the rapper are in the works, according to Rena Lowenbraun, the lawyer for

Big L’s estate.

“If you’re a real Hip-Hop head, you know who Big

L was,” Lowenbraun said. “But not everybody does. To me, it’s

introducing to a whole new audience of people who should have known who he was,

but for the fact that his life was cut short, [don’t].”

Finessed agreed. Besides calling his longtime protégé

ahead of his time, he felt it was only a matter of time before Big L’s

fanfare matched his street acclaim.

“People tend to forget,” he said. “When it

comes to Big L, he revolutionized the movement in Harlem. Before you had the

Mases, the Cam’rons, Loon, the Diplomats, it was a Big L before that.

“His sales didn’t match his talent,” continued

Finesse. “It started to, but he was killed before it really transpired.

Because I think eventually his sales would have matched the respect he got in

the streets. It was inevitable.”

Big L signed to Columbia Records as a teenager and released

Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, which featured “Da Graveyard.”

The underground hit featured future star Jay-Z.

“You think he Young Hov now, he was really Young Hov then,”

Finessed cracked.

After Big L’s death, his estate released the posthumous

album The Big Picture on Rawkus Records. While the album served as

an initial tribute to the mic skills of Big L, the show at SOBs will celebrate

both his music and his life.

Said Finesse of Big L: “He was just something special,

man.”

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