Big L is one of the greatest rappers of all time, considered one of the most creative and effective lyricists ever. Unfortunately, he was shot to death in 1999.
He was able to give the hip hop world something to remember him by though. In 1995, he released Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous. It was the only album released when he was alive.
It’s become one of the great hip hop albums, up there with the best efforts of Wu-Tang and Nas.
The tone of the album is mostly very dark, with tales of gun violence, drugs, murder, and street brutality. But the label executives from Sony insisted that Big L should do a few more positive songs. “Street Struck” is one of those.
The song strikes a more reflective and conscious tone than many of other songs on the album (although there are other songs like this one on there too). The mournful sample from 1974’s “Witch Doctor’s Brew” by Magnum goes a long way in solidifying that vibe.
Lyrically, the song warns young ghetto kids not to waste their potential and says that drug dealing will eventually lead to jail or death for most people. It’s delivered in the manner of a true insider, with Big L even acknowledging that they might deal drugs out of necessity, without glorifying it as he tends to on his other songs.