When Big L predicted his own death
(Credit: Columbia)

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When Big L predicted his own death

Big L was a legendary New York lyricist and one of the only MCs representing Harlem during the 1990s. As part of the Bronx-based crew, Diggin’ In The Crates, alongside figures such as Fat Joe and Lord Finesse, Big L (real name Lamont Cole), the emcee appeared on the radar of East Coast hip-hop lovers. However, when the crew dissipated in the mid-’90s, Cole created his own Manhattan-based crew, Children Of The Corn. Comprised of Big L, Cam’Ron, Ma$e, Herb McGruff, and Bloodshed, the crew began to turn heads toward the end of the decade.

Cole formed the collective following the release of his debut album, Life Ov Da Poor & Dangerous which helped him gain some notoriety in his city. Recorded at Powerplay studios in Queens and released by Columbia Records, with acts such as the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas ruling the charts, Cole’s debut failed to enter the top 100 albums peaking at number 149 on the Billboard 200.

The album was primarily produced by his former crewmate Lord Finesse, who produced ‘The Message’ on Dr Dre’s 2001 album. He is known for his underground work and elusive nature in the world of hip-hop production. However, in 2010 he gave an interview to HipHopDX about Cole’s debut album. The beatmaker made a bold claim about Columbia Records and insinuated that Cole’s album sales were due to the label investing more time and money in Nas than Big L.

Elaborating, he explained, “What took away from the lustre of Big L’s album was when [Columbia] finished up the Nas album, Illmatic, and he had [production from] Pete [Rock] and Large Professor and [DJ] Premier and Q-Tip. They had some of the top producers in the game on his album… So they felt [like], “Okay, we gonna go with this now!” And [Columbia] kinda liked slept on [Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous]. This is what I personally feel anyway.”

Following his debut album, both Cole and Finesse moved from Columbia Records to Rawkus Records. On this label, Cole would work on his sophomore album, The Big Picture, alongside his producer. Set for release in 1999, the pair worked tirelessly to ensure the project debuted within the top 100. However, in 1999, Cole was murdered in a drive-by shooting.

But, strangely, Cole predicted his own death prior to his death in the song, ‘Casualties Of A Dice Game’ during which he raps, “I watched all of them, run for they share / And all I can do was stare / I got weak and fell on my rear / Now I can hear the sirens, that means here comes the Jakes / But it’s too late, I’m knockin’ on the pearly gates.” You can hear the ill-fated prediction in the video below.