Showbiz Recounts The Trauma Of Seeing Big L Moments After He Was Killed
Big L would make one of his first album appearances care of 1992’s “Represent” on Showbiz & A.G.’s Runaway Slave album. Appearing alongside Show, A.G., Deshawn, and mentor Lord Finesse, Lamont Coleman proved to be an unsigned, teenage MC with great promise. Three years later, on Big L’s 1995 debut album Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, Showbiz would produce video single “No Endz, No Skinz” as well as “I Don’t Understand It.” The two artist were both members of the Diggin’ In The Crates collective.
As Show would eventually step away from the microphone in the mid-1990s to completely dedicate himself to production and D.I.T.C.’s imprint, Big L would be among his star MC pupils along with Big Pun, Fat Joe, and The Artifacts.
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In a D.I.T.C. oral history at Medium’s Cuepoint, the Bronx, New York veteran producer and D.I.T.C. Studios mainstay opened up about his painful memories of February 15, 1999—the day Big L was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting just outside of his childhood home on Harlem’s 139th Street.
“I actually saw [Big] L dead on the ground. I was there,” the notoriously private member of Diggin’ reveals. “I don’t really do too many interviews about this shit here. But I was on my way to Atlantic City for my girl’s birthday — it was her birthday the day he died. We were crossing the bridge from the Bronx to Manhattan and I got a phone call on the bridge saying that L had been killed. I made the turn on the bridge and went right to [45 West 139th Street] and he was laying there.” Show, who would produce “The Triboro” on 2000’s gold-certified The Big Picture posthumous album, says he has distanced himself from the imagery. “I can’t really get into details because I had to block it out, but it was just a blur. I just remember where I was at and him lying there. I came fresh, right before his body was even taken or cold or anything. Ten minutes after he was killed, I was right there.”
1999 would begin a difficult chapter for D.I.T.C. One year to the month after Big L’s murder, group affiliate Big Pun would die of a heart attack. “At the time, I was more worried about [Big] Pun dying than L,” admits Show. “A year prior, the doctor had told us that if Pun didn’t lose weight he was going to die within a year. The doctor was accurate; he died a year later after that. At the time that L died, it didn’t even cross my mind that he was going to die, I was so worried about Pun.”
Big L’s murder remains unsolved.
Just days after Big Pun’s death, D.I.T.C. would release their lone studio album, an eponymous Tommy Boy Records release, which Pun would be featured on. Presently, the completely reunited collective of Show, A.G., O.C., Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Diamond D, and Fat Joe is preparing their D.I.T.C. Studios release.
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Elsewhere in the Medium oral history, the members of Diggin’ (less A.G., who is recording The Taste of Ambrosia in Japan) discussed the collective’s origins, and a nearly decade-long silent rift between Joe with Showbiz and Finesse.