Lord Finesse


Talk about Big L a bit. How did you meet?

At the time, I used to do mixtapes and do house parties real often. That’s when I met a DJ by the name of Buckwild. Buckwild and I used to sell our tapes to a place in Harlem on 125th [Street] called Rockin’ Will’s.
One day, I was doing an autograph signing for Funky Technician and in comes Big L. He’s tellin’ me how nice he is, and I brushed him off. [laughs] I just gave him my manager’s number, and he said, “Look man, I wanna rhyme right now for you, and if you don’t like me, you’ll never hear from me again!” I thought that was a fair deal. Make a long story short: after he finished rhyming for me, I was getting his number!

You had a record out already and had been rapping for a while by then. As someone who was a bit more experienced, how did Big L strike you? What about him caught your ear? What nuances could you hear?

He reminds me of myself, but a younger version. I put him on the phone one day and let him rhyme to AG. After that, everything took off from there. We tried to get him on and get him a record deal. But it took a while. People were calling him “Finesse Son” or “Little Finesse.” I used to have to check people all the time. People didn’t understand the advancement I saw in this dude. It took a while, but he landed a deal with Sony with the Devil’s Son demo. That demo was bananas! Everyone was like, “Who is this kid?” Of course we already knew he was dope. I ended up doing five or six cuts on his debut album.

Big L was a very smart rapper and I don’t think people give him enough credit for that. His rhymes are amazing because he’s so serious, but he can be funny too. And it’s like he’s just talking to you.