On Friday, (July 9), the leader of the Diggin’ In The Crates crew, Lord Finesse, spoke to HipHopDX for the site’s soon-to-be-published piece “The Making of Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous.” The definitive feature will commemorate this year’s 15th anniversary of the album’s release and coincide with this month’s re-issuing by Traffic Entertainment of L’s often overlooked classic debut from 1995 on double-vinyl.
In the deeply personal final moments of his interview with DX on Friday, Finesse passionately explained why there has yet to be a second posthumous Big L album to follow the gold certified The Big Picture. While last year during interviews with MTV and DJ Premier’s LiveFromHQ show on Sirius Finesse revealed the circumstances surrounding the delay, never before has Big L’s big brother in the Rap game spoken with the detail and directness about the situation as Finesse did during his discussion with DX, (candor that L’s mentor initially wanted off-the-record before allowing his statements to be presented to the public).
HipHopDX: Any archived Big L material still to be released? There’ve always been talks of some sort of posthumous album after The Big Picture, [so] is anything coming?
Lord Finesse: Never.
DX: Is it because you’re tapped out [of L material]…?
Lord Finesse: No, it’s a few pieces out there. It’s just more…hmmm…okay, off the record –
DX: Oh, off the record, alright [Laughs].
Lord Finesse: Okay, off the record, Big L’s moms, [Gilda “Pinky” Terry], raised him, his whole life. His father abandoned him. Since he was a kid, just straight never was in his life at all. No Christmas, no Thanksgivings, none of that. No birthday cards, none of that. When L passed and this dude, this fuckin’ faggot pops, found out how popular he was he now wanted to become a part of Big L’s life, and fought to get royalties and stuff that was really due to his moms. Now [two years ago], Pinky passes, who’s Big L’s moms. So now, since he’s the father, even though he’s never been there, [for his] kid’s whole career, his whole life, by law, and by blood, he’s in charge [of L’s estate] now. And I can’t see none of my blood, sweat and tears and efforts being put together for some dude to get credit that was – You ain’t even claim this kid as your son.
DX: Did he sue you for masters; did he try to get tapes from you?
Lord Finesse: [He] can’t sue nothing; you can’t look for something you don’t know about. It ain’t even like he knows about Big L’s career. He don’t even know none of Big L’s songs! How is he going around suing anything? What are you suing for; what are you looking for?!
DX: And, let me just ask, why can’t I put this on the record? I’d really, really, really like to put this on the record. I mean, why don’t you want this on the record?
Lord Finesse: Nah, ‘cause it’s really nobody’s business. It’s just – I stated it a couple of times publicly [last year]. But, that’s just it, man. I’m really tired of talking about [what could have been], because it was a lineup where me and [DJ] Premier was gonna do it together. It was systematically put in place, everything. We was gonna go back to The Big Picture album, we was gonna remix some of those songs – the way that album shoulda sounded. ‘Cause we felt like The Big Picture album was all over the place – on certain collaborations, the sound, everything. So, between a mixture of unreleased songs, [and] some remixes, we was gonna really do this over – with Premier reaching out to Jay-Z, and I think [Big Daddy] Kane was on call, and I pulled a favor with Shady [Records] about Eminem. It was on tap to go down. It was on tap to go down like bigger than ever before. But, who’s gonna do all this work for the proceeds to go to this nigga? That just really don’t make no sense. If anybody can ever explain to me how…it can be done without this nigga getting anything, [then] it’ll happen.
DX: Let me just ask you again – I never do this…if someone tells me it’s off the record, it’s off the record, [but] I’m just gonna start begging, please, please let me put this on the record. I mean, ‘cause I don’t think as many people know about this as you think they do.
Lord Finesse: Yeah…I mean, you can put it on the record. I mean, I’ve said it before… It’s [just] a shame that we can’t do [that album], but I’m not gonna be financially responsible for this nigga getting paid, man, I’m just not. I spoke to him, because Big L’s moms said the dude wanted to speak to me, and [so] we talked. And at the time he was paid off, as far as The Big Picture… He got paid off not to get anything from Big L’s future royalties, period. But once [Big L’s mother] passed, it’s like that contract is dead now. [Since then he’s been like], “Yo, where these songs at? I wanna do a project. I love my son.” And it’s hard to swallow that. It’s hard to hear somebody that abandoned they – How the fuck do you abandon your son? “I’m so proud of my son.” Just to hear that statement made me wanna choke the shit out of him. Because if you was so proud why did you leave him? That’s never gonna really rub well with me. And it’s a shame, because I represent L to the day of my death, man. Until I can’t do Hip Hop no more I will represent this dude to the fullest, but not if it means getting somebody else rich. Not if it means putting money in somebody else’s pocket. And it hurts, because you got fans out here that look at L as their hero, their unsung hero…and we can’t really give him the necessary project he deserves.
Stay tuned to HipHopDX for “The Making of Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous” feature, which will include never-before-published information and insight about L’s classic debut. For instance, did you know L’s debut was originally to be titled Murder Inc.? Or that The Notorious B.I.G. got the idea for his breakthrough remix to “One More Chance” while touring with L? Or that then L protégé Mase was intentionally left off of the posse cut “8 Iz Enuff”? Or that a battle between Big L and Jay-Z in Harlem is what led to Hova’s appearance on “Da Graveyard”? Stay tuned to DX to find out the full details of those tantalizing tidbits of info and much, much more…