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Crowned as one of the most prolific lyricists to ever get in the booth, Lamont Coleman, better known to the rap world as Big L of the legendary Diggin’ In The Crates crew, was shot and killed on the streets of Harlem in a drive-by shooting by unknown assailants. He was only 24 years old.

As the youngest wordsmith in DITC, L helped to launch the careers of Harlem rappers McGruff, Mase and Cam’Ron, who were all part of the Uptown rap collective Children Of Da Corn. Big L even assisted a pre-Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z with authentic exposure on the critical, but necessary Stretch And Bobbito Show on NYU college radio.

L had just released his “Ebonics” single from his second full length studio effort when his life was cut short by gunfire, but his legacy will continue to live on through his music. Most recently, the Street Struck: The Big L Story documentary is due to be released by May of this year, which would have been the Harlem icon’s 42nd birthday.