I’ve been a HUGE fan of Rapper Big Pooh since his “Little Brother” days when the homie Eddie picked up a copy of “The Minstrel Show” in late 2005. That album served as one of our sound tracks to our various In N Out adventures. Great memories whipping around in the 93 Accord with the dsk kids!
Pooh and LB may have parted ways (but not before serving us such epic records like the mentioned “Minstrel Show” and its predecessor “The Listening”) a few years back, but his solo material contains the same skills and hunger that his Little Brother days showcased.
His music and rhymes has helped me in some of most creative and challenging points of my life. So when he complained on Twitter about horrible traffic, I was more than happy to recommend Waze. Since then we’ve gone back on forth on Twitter and email talking about sports, hip hop, and even Jake Gyllenhaal. He was nice enough to chat with me for a bit and share some insights and stories.
How long have you been Wazing?
I’ve actually been using it for the past couple of months. I was stuck in traffic one day. After I got off the road, I was Twiterring on Tweet Deck and I saw Waze. So I checked it out, and it really works. I saw the accident reports, the police reports and I Liked it. Been using it ever since.
I was in Los Angeles this past week, spreading the Waze love. Having Waze of course always helps. But so does having good music while you’re driving. What can we hear on your speakers while you’re on the road?
Ahh, it varies man. If I’m working on a new project, I’ll listen to that so I can get ideas on what I want to change or what I want to fix. Other than that, I like to do a little mix. If I keep it all hip-hop than it can get boring and repetitive. So I’ll throw in some R&B, electronica or alternative.
Nice! Anything in those genres you can recommend?
No, actually (laughs). I don’t have a specific mix; rather I’ll put on music to get me in the driving zone. I let the music sort of serve as the backdrop to my drive.
I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop. One of the things that stand out in this genre more so than others is the collaboration that takes place with artists from various backgrounds. How do those come about?
Hmm, there are a variety of ways. Sometimes it just kind of happens. For example, when I’m doing something, I have an idea of a specific voice I want on the record. And then I reach out to someone I know that has that voice or that sound.
A lot of times it works better than what I had in my head. And that’s how a lot of the collaborations for me happen. And of course it could be someone reaching out to me to collaborate on a project.
For example with MURS and “Barbershop” he recorded the track in North Carolina. We always had this idea that whenever we did a song, he wanted us to go back and forth and “Barbershop” was the first time we did it that way. It came out real dope. It actually got played on an episode of “Entourage”.
So collaborations come about in many ways. And you could say that for me it’s about having an idea and finding someone who can fit the idea.
You’re very active in social media. In keeping up with the sphere, I’ve seen artists fall into two camps. Those like you that are very prominent, accessible and engaging and those who take a mysterious approach and prefer to keep a certain mystique around their presence. Was there any influence or reason as to why you chose to be so accessible?
It definitely helps me. The people and the fans get to see a different side of me and get to know me in a more personal way. Like I have people who had no idea I did music. They could have heard of me via something I said sports wise (He’s a contributor to www.rantsports.com) And thus people started following me because I was talking sports.
It had nothing to do with music and then they’re like “hey, I didn’t know you did music” haha.
So you wind up gaining fans by them seeing another side of your personality. And that’s how I always saw it man. For me the whole mystery, allure thing ten years ago, definitely, that was major. But now, in order for you to really get out there you have to have a little bit of accessibility.
I’m not saying you have to be on social networks 24 hours a day. But by being accessible some, answering questions and engaging in conversation and talking about something else the fans can see a whole new side of you. When people see another side of your personality, it makes them like you even more. And when they buy your music, they’re buying it for you the person. Almost like they get a new understanding of you as a person, and not just an artist.
Some artists may see it a different way, but I like talking to people, I like interacting with fans.
Speaking of sports, the NBA playoffs are in full swing (at the time of this interview, my beloved Warriors were battling the Denver Nuggets)
Um, I mean for me it’s tough. I don’t really pull for a team unless it’s my team. But at the end of the day I just like seeing good basketball. So I want to see the best possible matchup in the finals, and I know the Heat will probably be there maybe match up aganist…
(Laughs) I like the Warriors, I just don’t know how far they’ll be able to go without David Lee. I enjoy watching them play. I was dozing off earlier and I woke up to Stephen Curry getting busy! They play an exciting brand of basketball so I definitely enjoy watching them play.
(Editors note, from me, the Warriors would go on to beat the Nuggets, but would succumb to the San Antonio Spurs. Ouch)
Can you share any details on your upcoming project “Happy Birthday Thomas?”
Definitely, it’s an EP that I had originally planned on releasing closer to my actual birthday, in February. But it became something bigger so we pushed it back to this summer. In a way it’s a return to my roots. The producer that I’m working with, The Mighty DJ-DR, a lot of people don’t know that before Little Brother, he was the guy I was working with.
This is our first time working on a project of this magnitude exclusively. So I kept the title, made it 12 tracks and 3 guests, like my birthday, February 12th.
I’m very excited to share this project with the fans. And once we get the sound the way I want it, we’ll go ahead and release that.
We’re very much looking forward! And if you need Spanish ad-libs, you now know where to go!
Definitely, definitely! I got you.
Thanks for your time and insight Pooh!
Look out for Happy Birthday Thomas, dropping later this year. And in the meantime, pick up “Fat Boy Fresh, Vol. Two” from iTunes.
You can keep up with Pooh on Twitter @RapperBigPooh! Yee! Ask him what his favorite Jake Gyllenhaal movie is!