How old was L when you first heard him rap?
He was rhyming since age 5. If you look into the first album you can see L rocking on the mic on our DJ equipment at like age 6. We were a little crew. There actually is one recording of him rhyming at like age 10 floating around somewhere.
When did you realize L was really ready to take rap serious as a career?
There was one Christmas evening, and it was the first time he ever brought a girl home. Lamont was always one to keep to himself. He was the youngest, so everyone in our family used to call him Mont-Mont. And I guess no one in our family really knew that L was getting known around the street as a hot rapper. So he pulled me into the hallway after I called him out in front of his girl and told me “Don’t call me Mont-Mont no more. Call me Big L.” I screamed and laughed at him but I saw how serious he was and told him, “aight I’ma just call you L.” So we go into the living room and my aunt started fucking with him, so he drags her out now and tells her the same thing. That’s when we all really knew he was dead-ass serious about being a rapper. He was L after that Christmas.
Can you tell us a little bit about Lamont outside of the Big L persona?
He was always a quiet dude. Like when we were kids he would keep to himself or be on the side playing alone. He would just come around and watch me and my boys. L was observing and studying the streets, watching how everything moved from a young age. He was an observer. I remember his early rhymes were filled with the same slang and slick talk we used in the streets, but he would just put the words together in his own way.
L definitely had major influence on a lot of young rappers from Harlem in the 90’s.
He was always a leader, and he got that from my middle brother, Lee. They were closer in age so L stayed around Lee when he was on the block. He seen how much of a leader Lee was and took that on himself. Lee lived on the block 24/7. That’s why all these little dudes followed him. Mase used to always come around trying to hang out with L. Cam’Ron, too, “D, can you go holla at your brother for me.” All these young cats just always wanted to be on the block with L.
Mase and Cam both went onto to find mainstream success. Did L remain close with them after their group Children of the Corn disbanded?
Well, L was the first one out, but his career didn’t take off first. Then Mase got that deal with Puff, he started acting stupid. I had to run Mase off the block because his head got way too big for his body. You see, all these guys looked up to Lamont.
What happened with Mase?
Mase is a bitch, a straight bitch. I couldn’t believe some of the shit he was saying on the radio. I have no type of respect for that dude. And I would love to speak to him face to face. I actually reached out to him and he told me I need to find God. He’s fake, man. He ain’t into the religion for real. That dude has always been running. He’s scared. Basically, his head got too big for his damn body. I was the one to run him out of 140th street. He was talking so much shit and talking down to people. He must have forgot who he was around. Well, one day he started talking crazy when I was right there on the block and told him I was going to punch him in the mouth and of course he ran, called his boys. And then he went over to Lamont and L told me to chill, saying Mase was aight. But I told L he can’t come back to the block, so that’s when Mase started hanging on Lenox.
There were always rumors that L was going to sign with Rocafella. Do you remember Jay-Z and Dame coming around?
Jay and Dame came to get L every weekend. I grew up with Dame and the older heads. Right before he got killed, L was with Jay-Z every single weekend. He was going to sign with them around the same time Lee got knocked. Dame would get Jay and come to scoop L, personally.
Do you think L was sure about signing with Rocafella?
Lamont didn’t want to just sign himself. He wanted Herb Mcgruff and one other dude to sign with him. But Jay just wanted him at the time. See, L was trying to get his mans in with him. He didn’t want to come back for them. But I was telling him to sign with Jay and get you own label popping. He was just such a loyal dude. They were in talks, but they couldn’t agree on L bringing his boys with him. He refused to leave his people behind. I think they would have worked something out, but L’s life got cut short.
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