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Put It On: Production for Big L biopic is underway; D.I.T.C. members condemn film
Put It On (Big L biopic) (Photo: Instagram)

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Put It On: Production for Big L biopic gets underway as members of D.I.T.C. condemn film

UPDATE 8/19/2020 12:45 PM: The team behind the new Big L biopic Put It On has addressed the negative feedback they’ve been receiving for D.I.T.C.’s lack of involvement with the movie. A couple of hours ago, a post was made on Instagram explaining why. To summarize what’s said: They tried to get D.I.T.C. involved, and they’re still open to having D.I.T.C. involved, but D.I.T.C. declined. Here’s the full message:

“So we been getting some slack for doing the Big L biopic without Lord Finesse involvement nor any members from DITC. We want to address this situation before it get out hand. PUT IT ON the movie came effect in 2018 With 4 individuals. One of The was Big L nephew Leroy who was killed in 2019. The other individuals is Don Big L’s brother, the writer Daze and a former member of the Harlem NFL crew Rasheem. The film script was completed with the help of friends and family of Big L and shopped for 2 years. We reached out to Lord Finesse and a number of other associates of Big L for their involvement, Lord Finesse declined any involvement with the project. Leroy passed away and it put a hold on the project. We wasn’t sure if we should continue with it. After contemplating and talking with numerous friends of Big L and his brother we decided to go forward and make it happened with out the help or assistance from any parties listed. It’s been 20 years and no documentary, film etc. We already started the process and we decided to finish it best way we could and give the fans something to keep Big L name alive. There’s no shade, or anything, we just moving forward. The door is open for them to get on board and we made that clear. But again No DITC have no involvement. In the photo is Daze, and Leroy in Los Angeles networking with the film a few months before his passing. In the other photo is Daze , book writer Ms.Shan, Leroy, Big Lee’s right hand James, and Rock going over script. Rest Easy Lil Lee. If anybody else has issues or concerns about this project you can contact us via Email or DM and we are open for discussion.”

Hate it or love it, the alternative at this point is there’s no Big L movie in the works at all, and we’ve waited long enough to see one. There’s no doubt the people involved will treat his story with the utmost respect, and this will play a huge part in keeping Big L’s legacy alive. Furthermore, it will do wonders for teaching younger hip-hop heads about the influence L had on the culture.

View this post on Instagram

So we been getting some slack for doing the Big L biopic without Lord Finesse involvement nor any members from DITC. We want to address this situation before it get out hand. PUT IT ON the movie came effect in 2018 With 4 individuals. One of The was Big L nephew Leroy who was killed in 2019. The other individuals is Don Big L’s brother, the writer Daze and a former member of the Harlem NFL crew Rasheem. The film script was completed with the help of friends and family of Big L and shopped for 2 years. We reached out to Lord Finesse and a number of other associates of Big L for their involvement, Lord Finesse declined any involvement with the project. Leroy passed away and it put a hold on the project. We wasn’t sure if we should continue with it. After contemplating and talking with numerous friends of Big L and his brother we decided to go forward and make it happened with out the help or assistance from any parties listed. It’s been 20 years and no documentary, film etc. We already started the process and we decided to finish it best way we could and give the fans something to keep Big L name alive. There’s no shade, or anything, we just moving forward. The door is open for them to get on board and we made that clear. But again No DITC have no involvement. In the photo is Daze, and Leroy in Los Angeles networking with the film a few months before his passing. In the other photo is Daze , book writer Ms.Shan, Leroy, Big Lee’s right hand James, and Rock going over script. Rest Easy Lil Lee. If anybody else has issues or concerns about this project you can contact us via Email or DM and we are open for discussion.

A post shared by Put It On: The (Big L) Biopic (@biglbiopic) on


Here’s some big news for 90’s hip-hop heads, specifically fans of Lamont Coleman, better known as the late great Harlem lyricist Big L. Sometime in 2021 (hopefully), or perhaps even 2022, you can expect the long-awaited Big L biopic Put It On to bring you right into the heart of 139th and Lenox.

Written and produced by SG Magazine owner Jesse (Daze) Sindwell, Put It On is being described as “a combination of 8 Mile meets Juice, with a taste of Above the Rim.”

 
Big L

Big L

It’s a film that is sure to garner a ton of interest, as Big L’s short but illustrious career has always been covered in somewhat of a shroud of mystery. The budding star’s murder at just 24 years old on February 15, 1999 remains unsolved, and the prime suspect—his childhood friend Gerard Woodley—was arrested and then later released due to lack of evidence. Woodley would later be killed himself in a June 2016 shooting.

“Big L was one of the best to do it but never got his fair shot and Put It On explains when, why and how he became one of Harlem’s Finest.”

The story for Put It On stems from Big L’s early days in the mid 80’s growing up in Harlem, New York. It shows his transition from being influenced by a performance from Run DMC, and verses from Big Daddy Kane, to becoming recognized as one of the world’s most prolific lyrical MC’s and iconic figures in the hip-hop community. The movie captures the struggle of a talented young man attempting to navigate the music industry while still keeping one foot in the streets. His family ties to the street life is arguably what lead to his demise, but not before carving out what remains one of the most legendary careers in hip-hop history.

Put It On, named after his 1995 single by the same name, highlights some of L’s early rap battles with the likes of a young Jay–Z who he later collaborated with on live radio. They would also record a track for L’s debut album giving Hov his first rap appearance on wax.

The film is expected to include several different battle scenes, along with portrayed cameos from Lord Finesse, Dame Dash, Biggie, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Ron Brows, Cam’ron, Ma$e, and DJ Kay Slay as himself.

Speaking of Lord Finesse…

 
Put It On

Put It On (Photo: Instagram)

Diggin’ in the Crates / C.O.C.

As is often the case with music-based biopics, there’s already a fair amount of debate and hate surrounding who is absent from the team creating the film. In this case, the lack of involvement of Big L’s crew Diggin’ in the Crates Crew, more commonly referred to as D.I.T.C. for short. Big L was a member of D.I.T.C. at the time of his death. Big L had also been a member of the Harlem group Children of the Corn, but they disbanded in 1997 after the untimely death of group member Derek Armstead aka Bloodshed, the cousin of another former C.O.C. member, Cam’ron.

A message posted on the film’s Instagram account (@BigLBioPic) in late 2018 attempted to explain why D.I.T.C. was not involved with the project:

“To all the fans of Big L we want you all to know this is a movie not a album so the #DITC crew is not involved in this project. The remaining Brother and Nephew of Big L along with close friends and other family, plus industry colleagues outside of DITC helped develop this film. This is not the documentary ppl been waiting on for years. This is a biopic titled Put It On based on the life and death of Big L. Rest In Peace to Big L and Big Lee. Movie on the way… #Putiton”

D.I.T.C. member Lord Finesse has made it clear on social media that he has nothing to do with the film, and went as far as referring to the production as “fuckery.” He also made his position clear by writing: “I’m not co-signing this.” Other D.I.T.C. members like O.C. have shared the same post.

 
Put It On

Big L & Lord Finesse

The Big Picture

Despite the negative feedback from some corners of the community, the Put It On production team seems unfazed and determined to push forward. D.I.T.C. not being involved is rightfully going to disappoint any Big L fan, but there are a lot of people with close ties to him involved with telling his story.

As the film’s production company explains on their website: “There’s been lots of stories and even a book based on 139th and Lenox on what took place in Harlem during those times Big L was murdered, but none seem to give the full truth of the story. Leroy Phinazee, the son of Big L’s brother Big Lee, has jumped on board to help produce the film and give his family’s side of what really took place without bias. Also Big L’s long time friend McGruff, Stan Spit and a handful of the late rappers closes friends has also jumped on board to help bring the deceased rapper back to life in this biopic.”

Film writer and lead producer Swindell met Big L as a kid in the mid-90’s and would occasionally ask the “Ebonics” MC for advice on how to pursue a career in music. After working on set for films like Tupac’s All Eyez On Me and Irv Gotti’s BET series Tales, among others, he began the process of creating his own film to tell L’s story.

“With my experience on film projects and media resources I decided to partner up with Big L’s nephew Leroy Phinazee, and Don Phinazee to help bring the Big L story to life in the form of a biopic. I think this film is much needed and has the potential to give New York City that feel good vibe again along with the rest of the hip-hop community.”

Production for Put It On began in Harlem just a few days ago, and the production company currently lists that they are shopping for domestic and international distribution on their website. This seems like something Netflix or Amazon Prime would eat up though so perhaps we’ll see it on one of those larger streaming platforms eventually.

Rest In Peace Big L

You can follow @BigLBioPic on Instagram.


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