Big L “Put It On” (1994)

Buckwild: “Around 1993, I was working as a DJ, and doing mixtapes. And this guy D-Wiz was like, ‘Yo, I’m going to bring my boy L.’ He brought L in, and we heard him rhyme, and he was crazy. L told me, ‘Yo, you know Finesse? Tell him to come down. I just want to kick one rhyme. If he don’t like it, he doesn’t have to hear no more.’ Then next week we brought Finesse down. [Laughs.] And Finesse heard him rhyme, and the rest was history.

“L was funny. He’s a comedian. So is Finesse. We always have good times together because it’s always jokes and snaps. I realized a lot of these great artists really have a comedy side to them. If L didn’t make it in music, he definitely could’ve made it as a comedian.

“’Put It On’ was one of the last songs that made the album. When L got his deal that’s when I first started toying around with beats. It was around the same time as O.C. and Organized Konfusion. L would always shoot the beats down like, ‘Yo, that shit’s wack dawg.’ [Laughs.] L was always 100% honest. And the fact that he was so honest, it drove you to do better.

“So when he did pick some of the beats, which were ‘8 Iz Enuff,’ ‘Da Graveyard,’ those are some of the early beats he picked. But then after the album was done, Columbia wanted more and he came back. By then, I done had Artifacts records and the O.C. album was almost done. So me doing beats, I was getting better. So that’s the time I did ‘Put It On.’ I also did ‘Danger Zone’ around then.

“L was very picky. To me, the pickiest rappers are Finesse, Nas, and Big L. But it’s comedy when we’re not recording. Then in the booth, it’s straight business. I see a lot of kids saying, ‘L was one of the greatest, if he was alive, he’d be giving Jay-Z a run for his money.’ And he would. Around the same time that L was supposed to sign to Roc-A-Fella, I was dealing with Roc management. If L signed, I probably would’ve stayed there.”

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