“Yo, pay attention and listen real closely…” – DJ 3rd Rail’s Big L Mix Tape from 1999
Driving across LA with Brad and Danny a couple weeks back we started talking about favorite MCs and I mentioned Big L, always high on my list despite a career cut too short in the streets of which he spoke. Danny mentioned the family just released 21 unheard songs (including a track with Kool G) and I scooped them all at Amazon for $4.
In 1999, shortly after L’s death, I bought DJ 3rd Rail’s mixtape tribute to Big L the way mixtapes were meant to be experienced, on cassette (for those who remember, I copped the tape from Sandbox Automatic, where I spent a lot of money on hip hop in those days). It’s among my favorite hours of hip hop, doing justice to a talented MC who never had the chance to make a perfect album but had many a clever verse over classic DITC production. The tape collects the best tracks from his albums alongside his incredible singles (from School Days to Size ‘Em Up).
The tape is probably in a box in my garage but I remembered ripping it to MP3 once upon a time, too. I was looking for some other items on an old hard drive over the weekend and tripped over the files. Here they are temporarily for your listening pleasure. Enjoy, and please support L’s family by buying the new 21 track previously unreleased collection as well as his previous two (one posthumous) full-length records.
I’m always surprised how many people I consider hip hop fans haven’t heard so many of these tracks. If you fall into that group the audio below is going to make you very happy. Enjoy. If you’re easily offended and/or don’t love hip hop, Big L isn’t for you. Don’t hit play. Seriously.