Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous

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Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
A man with a white tee shirt, a jacket, jeans, a white hat and brown shoes is standing during the night. Many people are standing behind him. The artist's name is written in the top right corner and the album name is written across the bottom.
Studio album by Big L
Released March 28, 1995 (1995-03-28)
(see release history)
Recorded 1993–1994
Powerplay Studios
(Queens, New York)
Unique Studios
(New York City, New York)
Chung King Studios
(New York City, New York)
Genre East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop, underground hip hop
Length 48:42
Label Columbia
Producer Buckwild, Craig Boogie, Kid Capri, Lord Finesse, Showbiz
Big L chronology
Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
(1995)
The Big Picture (1974-1999)
(2000)
Singles from Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
  1. "Put It On"
    Released: 1995
  2. "M.V.P."
    Released: 1995
  3. "No Endz, No Skinz"
    Released: 1995

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous is the debut album by American hip hop artist Big L, released March 28, 1995 on Columbia Records. Recording sessions took place primarily at Powerplay Studios in Queens, New York from 1993 to 1994. Production was handled by Buckwild, Craig Boogie, Kid Capri, Lord Finesse, and Showbiz. After being discovered by Lord Finesse in 1990, Big L signed a deal with Columbia Records, and he started to work on the album.

The album debuted at number 149 on the US Billboard 200 and number 22 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, but did not chart internationally. Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous spawned three singles: "Put It On", "M.V.P.", and "No Endz, No Skinz", the first two both peaked within the top 25 on the US Hot Rap Tracks and Hot Dance Singles Sales. Upon its release, the album received average reviews from music critics, earning praise for Big L's lyrics, but not for the production. As of August 2000, the album has sold 200,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Background[edit]

Big L began writing rhymes in 1990 and his first professional appearance came on the B-side of "Party Over Here" by Lord Finesse in 1992. Around this time, L joined Lord Finesse's Bronx-based hip hop group Diggin' in the Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.). The group consisted of Lord Finesse, Diamond D, O.C., Fat Joe, Buckwild, Showbiz and A.G. He founded Harlem centered rap group Children of the Corn with fellow aspiring MC's Killa Cam, Murda Mase, and Killa Cam's cousin Bloodshed; when he died in a car accident in 1997, the group later disbanded.

In 1993, Big L submitted a four track cassette tape to Columbia Records, who soon after signed him to their company. The album title is a play on the 1984-95 Television series, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Recording and production[edit]

Recording for Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous mainly took place at Powerplay Studios (Queens, New York);[1] the songs "Put It On" and "Danger Zone" were recorded at Unique Studios (New York City, New York)[1] and the songs "M.V.P." and "Street Struck" were recorded at Chung King Studios (New York City, New York).[1] James Niedermeyer worked with Big L on the album and heavily influenced the lyrics on songs such as "Danger Zone" and "All Black".

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous was produced by mainly members of Big L's group, Diggin' in the Crates Crew: Buckwild, Lord Finesse (who produced most of the album), and Showbiz. Craig Boogie as well as Kid Capri (who was often referred to as an honorary member of D.I.T.C.[2]) also helped with the production of the album. The album also features guest appearances from a young Cam'ron (credited as Killa Cam on "8 Iz Enuff") and Jay-Z (on "Da Graveyard").

Composition[edit]

In a 2010 interview with HipHop DX to commemorate the album's 15th year anniversary and its re-issue by Traffic Entertainment, Lord Finesse discussed the making of the album.[2]

Concerning "Put It On", he stated:

[Columbia Records] wanted something with a hook that would be kinda catchy, and something they could get radio play with. Like, everything [L] did was dark, and it was gangsta, and it was . . . what was the [popular style at the time]? Horror-core. So they needed something bright, something friendly. And "Put It On" just matched everything perfect."

Concerning "M.V.P.", he stated:

That song came about because L wanted a commercial, R&B loop that everybody could recognize. And me remembering that [DeBarge] record, and also remembering how Kid Capri used it way back when he did – I forgot which record he did, but he had that [song], and I’m like, "Damn, well maybe we could reinvent that right there." And L heard the loop and was like, "Yeah, that’s it!" But, [with] Diggin’, we had to have the right drums, the right everything [to go with a sample], and we dressed it up in a way where we tried to keep it Hip Hop.

Concerning "8 Iz Enuff", he said:

With that [song] L just thought he had to do a track with the rappers from his hood. And he definitely wanted to put on [those particular emcees]… We looking like, "How you gonna put eight niggas on one track?" [And he was like], "Don’t worry, I got this."

Speaking about "Danger Zone", he said:

At the time it was somebody by the name of David Kahne [working as L’s A&R at Columbia]. He was like the person who was responsible for getting L signed, and he loved all that devil’s son shit. [Says in nasally white-guy voice] "Oh wow, this is great!" It’s like, "Are you serious?" Because we had to make [L] change a line in "Devil’s Son" because it was [like], "You’re too out-of-order." What was the line . . . "I’m killin’ chumps for the cheapest price / I’m rollin’ with Satan," [and instead of then saying "not Jesus Christ"] it was "F Jesus Christ." But we made him change it to "Not Jesus Christ." [We were] like, "Yo, what the fuck are you doing?!"

Commenting on "Street Struck", he said:

That was Sony [that wanted him to make something more positive]. [They were like], "You so dark on this album, we need something positive we can push. This album is too dark: you got "All Black", you got "Danger Zone", you done came out with "Devil’s Son". We really don’t wanna push that as your image. You have to do something that’s gonna balance it." And that’s [when] we started doing more conceptual, conscious songs like "Fed Up Wit The Bullshit", "Street Struck", and "M.V.P." and "Put It On."

Release and promotion[edit]

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous was released on March 28, 1995. Prior to the release, Big L, under Columbia, released a promotional cassette tape in 1994 consisting of four tracks that did not make it to the final album.

Singles[edit]

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous released three singles, all of which peaked within the top 25 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks and Hot Dance Singles Sales. The first single to release was "Put It On." It peaked at number 12 on Hot Dance Singles Sales,[3] 23 on Hot Rap Tracks,[3] and 81 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[4] The second single to be released was "M.V.P.", which peaked at number 15 on Hot Rap Tracks,[3] 25 on Hot Dance Singles Sales, and 56 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[5] The third and final single from the album was "No Endz, No Skinz", however, the song did not chart. In addition to the three singles, "Street Struck" was released as a promotional single, but did not chart as well.

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous debuted at number 149 on the US Billboard 200[6] and number 22 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[7] The album would not peak any higher. It has sold over 200,000 copies since August 2000.[8]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[9]
RapReviews (9/10)[10]
The Source 4/5 stars[11]

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous received favorable reviews by music critics. It earned a 4 mics rating from The Source, claiming "[Big L] comes with ill animated lyrics, combined with metaphors that stun; a combo sure to have suckas on the run".[11]

M.F. DiBella of Allmusic compliments "L as a master of the lyrical stickup undressing his competition with kinetic metaphors and a brash comedic repertoire," but claimed that production and marketing should have been better.[9]

Steve Juon of RapReviews liked how the album was "jam packed with treats" and complimented how some songs were viewed as "underground hip hop".[10]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Put It On" (featuring Kid Capri) Best, Coleman Buckwild 3:39
2. "M.V.P."   Coleman, Hall, Jordan, M.D. DeBarge Lord Finesse 3:40
3. "No Endz, No Skinz"   Coleman, Lemay Showbiz 3:30
4. "8 Iz Enuff" (featuring Buddah Bless, Herb McGruff, Killa Cam, Mike Boogie, Terra, Big Twan & Trooper J) Best, Buddah Bless, Coleman, Kam, McGruff, Mik, Terra, Trooper J., Twan Buckwild 4:59
5. "All Black"   Coleman, Hall Lord Finesse 4:21
6. "Danger Zone" (featuring Herb McGruff) Best, Coleman Buckwild 3:38
7. "Street Struck"   Coleman, Hall Lord Finesse 4:10
8. "Da Graveyard" (featuring Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Jay-Z, Party Arty & Grand Daddy I.U.) Best, Coleman Buckwild 5:24
9. "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous"   Coleman, Hall Lord Finesse 3:22
10. "I Don't Understand It"   Coleman, Lemay Showbiz 4:21
11. "Fed Up wit the Bullshit"   Coleman, Hall Lord Finesse 3:53
12. "Let 'Em Have It "L"   C.Rollins, Coleman Craig Boogie 3:58
Samples credits
  • "Put It On" contains a sample of "Vibrations" by Buster Williams.
  • "M.V.P." contains a sample of "Stay with Me" by DeBarge as well as "On the Bugged Tip" by Big Daddy Kane.
  • "No Endz, No Skinz" contains a sample of "Rubber Jam" by The Rubber Band as well as "Four Aces" by Paul Humphrey, Shelly Manne, Willie Bobo, & Louis Bellson.
  • "8 Iz Enuff" contains a sample of "Soul Travelin" by Gary Byrd, "UFO" by ESG, as well as "Fuck Compton" by Tim Dog
  • "Da Graveyard" contains a sample of "Represent" by Showbiz and A.G..
  • "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" contains a sample of "You're as Right as Rain" by Bob James
  • "Fed Up with the Bullshit" contains a sample of "Between the Sheets" by Isley Brothers as well as "Ain't No Half Steppin'" by Big Daddy Kane.
  • "Let 'Em Have It 'L'" contains a sample of "Nautilus" by Bob James.

Unreleased tracks[edit]

A number of tracks did not make the final cut.[2]

  • School Dayz
  • Timez is Hard
  • Clinic
  • Devil's Son
  • Unexpected Flava
Samples credits for unreleased tracks

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Lifestylez of da Poor & Dangerous adapted from Allmusic.[12]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[13] 149
US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[13] 22
US Naimon's Top 10 Albums 9
US Naimon's Top 10 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 5
US Naimon's Top 10 Rap Albums 2

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Ref.
United States March 28, 1995 Columbia [14]
France March 28, 1995 Sony [15]
Canada June 18, 2001 Sony [16]
United Kingdom October 6, 2009 Sony [17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Big L - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs. Zinc Media. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Arnold, Paul (July 30, 2010). "Lord Finesse Breaks Down Big L's "Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous"". Hip Hop DX. Retrieved April 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Big L > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Billboard Chart Search: 'Put It On'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Billboard Chart Search: 'M.V.P.'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 107 (15): 78. April 15, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  7. ^ "Billboard Top R&B Albums". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 107 (15): 22. April 15, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  8. ^ Berry, Jahna (August 11, 2000). "Street Buzz, Duets Fuel Sales of Big L's The Big Picture". Vh1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on October 30, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b DiBella, M.F. "Review: The Big Picture - Big L". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 4, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Juon, Steve (February 18, 2003). "Big L :: Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous :: Columbia Records". RapReviews. Retrieved April 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Lifestylez of da Poor & Dangerous Review". The Source (New York, New York: Source Publications) (66). March 1995. ISSN 1063-2085. 
  12. ^ "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous > Credits". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00000294R
  15. ^ http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00000294R
  16. ^ http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00000294R
  17. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002IUBFPE

External links[edit]

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous at AllMusic