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interview JT THE BIGGA FIGGA (October 2007) | Interview By: Eddie Gurrola

      
Dubcnn recently sat down with a true Bay Area pioneer and respected name across the industry for his independent music. JT The Bigga Figga took time out last month to speak to Dubcnn about his alignment with Snoop Dogg and Doggystyle Records; of which he explains his position as head of the Independent Division. JT details his various enterprises including his CEO Manual, his independent music MySpace revolution as well as giving aspiring artists some words of advice. We also talk about his just released album "Mr. Vice President", get the latest on his Mandatory Business DVD and CD Soundtrack with Snoop Dogg and many more of his current projects.
As always we have both the transcript and the audio for you to check and please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to: eddie@dubcnn.com

 
Interview was done in September 2007.

Questions Asked By :
Eddie Gurrola

JT The Bigga Figga Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

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Dubcnn: So the big news weíve been hearing is that youíre now the Vice President of Doggystyle Records. Tell us about thatÖ

Actually, Iím not the vice president of Doggystyle Records, in the sense of working for [Snoop.] Itís more [like,] whatever he needs up here in the Bay Area, and whatever I can do for him down there in Los Angeles [is taken care of.] Heís got his technical people who actually handle all of that. Ted Chung and his wife [Shante Broadus] are the Vice Presidents. I run this underground independent division. I push projects, and come up with different formulas and marketing tactics. Thatís my division.


Dubcnn: Iím glad we cleared that up. Thereís a lot of moves being made on your Myspace page, and it seems like youíre always a step ahead of the rap game when it comes to business. When did you decide to make the switch to more of an internet-based operation with your music?

I really didnít have a choice! The internet was growing very rapidly, and the way that business formulas move, you could get the word out on the internet just as fast as on the phone or on television. So a lot of people were hitting me on Myspace [for] web-based business, and the thing that I liked about [Myspace] was the easy setup. It was already ready-made for me to come in and do what I do.

I think last year it really took off to phenomenal heights though, because the more ideas I would put out on the net, nobody else was doing. Those are the things I would try to capitalize on, being that nobody else was really focused on bringing new ideas and products to the table.


Dubcnn: Yeah! I just saw on your page that you published an E-Book called ďThe CEO Manual.Ē Tell us a little bit about thatÖ [available for download here]

Yeah, I did ďThe CEO ManualĒ in 2002. That was something that came about when I was doing the Black Wall Street movement on the underground, and when I signed Game. That was how it all started. The manual represented the information and the tactics that I was using at that time. A lot of people didnít know about it, or they didnít get a chance to get it until the web game kicked off. So now I can sell it like that, as a download, and it makes it easier and more profitable. Every sale right now is 100% profit. I put out a download link [on Dubcnn.com, with the first] 73 pages. Itís 140 pages, but Iím giving away half of the book for free right now. 73 pages, free from the homeboy JT The Bigga Figga! Get your game on!


Dubcnn: So what made you decide to write a book like this? Did you just want to share your knowledge with the young guys that want to make it in the rap game?

There was two parts to it. [The first part] is that I feel that Iíve done a lot of things in the game that people have seen bits and pieces of, but nobody would really know that I was doing that much work if I didnít put it all together in one place. It started out like that, as me just letting the world know what I did, and then it transformed into me sharing tactics and formulas in the form of paragraphs and chapters, [and] informing the younger generation that is on the way up.


Dubcnn: Youíre a role model for anybody that wants to sell their music independently. Whatís one piece of advice you would give to someone whoís trying to come up in the rap game?

I would say [to] get your products created the best you can. Network with people that have the other tools and the pieces to your puzzle that you donít have, because a lot of times, they donít have you! So, putting it all together, youíll have a complete package! So, I would say, create your product, and definitely donít wait for somebody to discover you. If you wait to get discovered, youíre going to get left out.


Dubcnn: Thatís good advice. So, tell us a little bit about your album, ďMr. Vice PresidentĒÖ

The album was actually scheduled to come out in May, but we [made a deal] with Koch to be a sub-distributor: to distribute other albums and other labels. [Because of this,] I felt it was imperative that I hold my album back to give the other [new sub] labels a chance. I [didnít want to] be focused on my album while Iím trying to develop other labels. [Iím going to] push a button for other independent labels, [and] open the door for those labels that have finished albums [and] finished artwork. Iím trying to sew up that percentage of the market.

Me and Snoop [are] doing [that] with Mandatory Business through Koch. Snoop opened the door for me and put me in the position - thatís where the whole Vice President thing comes from. Heís the big dog on the West, in terms of the artists. For him to work with me on an underground level - Iím 100 percent independent on everything that I do - thatís a good sign for all the other [new] independent [labels.] They can network with other tycoons, network with guys like myself, and create that movement thatís bigger than one person - [something] thatís pushing for the same cause. Itís not a coast thing, itís a position thing.


Dubcnn: Tell us more about the Mandatory Business Distribution programÖ

The program is set up in a way where we can do regional, national, and international products and distribution. A lot of times, guys donít have enough momentum to be distributed nationwide. [This] makes it a little harder to actually spend money on a brand new artist that might sound good, but doesnít have [any] pre-orders, [and the public] doesnít know [of.] So we have set up a system to give a guy a chance to sell that first 2,000-10,000 pieces in their region, and then go on from there to a national level. Theyíve got to put the work in [though.] Thatís the other good part about it, they really are a label. They have to be a label, even if it starts small and grows, they have to be that, so that when they achieve the success that they chase after, they actually earned it and worked for it. [For them, we will be] just a platform Ė we were just a doorway, we were a conduit for them to be able to achieve the success they were looking for.


Dubcnn: That sounds like a very good opportunity for anybody that wants to get into the rap game. So you guys just distribute the album, and they act as an independent label?

Right. We provide a jump-start budget [for] the initial posters, the initial flyers, [and] the initial shelf space that they need. [This way,] on the back end they have a bigger margin in terms of the profit share, because theyíre actually doing the work. They have to get out there and make it happen for themselves. We provide the tools, and theyíve got to provide the work. We do it on a low-number scale so that we can provide more [opportunities] to more labels. So if somebody feels like theyíre worth more budget, and they want to go somewhere else, theyíve got to shop for that. If they want a short opportunity, thatís what weíre bringing to the table, as long as they meet our criteria.


Dubcnn: If any up-and-coming rapper wants to inquire about signing to your distribution company, how can they get a hold of you?

They can get at me at kochmusic@gmail.com, or they can call direct at 415-424-9293. They can [also] come to MySpace.


Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about the sound behind ďMr. Vice President.Ē Is this a typical JT album, or are you trying to do something different with it? [hear our Online Listening Party of the new album here]

I think the only thing different Iíve incorporated is heavy 808, because thatís the sound of today. Typically, I like 909s. Iíve never been a sample-oriented dude in terms of production. I think in terms of the overall message of the album, Iím the voice of independency and Iím really pushing for that. The album is not about JT; the album is about ďweĒ and ďus.Ē Iím pushing game-oriented music that educates and entertains with the JT style, the JT beats: the JT everything!

Itís a conceptual album. I want a person to be able to finish the album and study the album. I think rap fans will like the album because rap fans want to be educated on how they can become more than just a fan. Fans [are] the feet of the game, which is very important, but a lot of times the feet donít get treated well. The feet get worn out off the same shit and then the feet walk away. So what I bring to the table is the enjoyment of listening to hard music and good concepts. The outcome that I want to achieve for every song is in [that] song.

I got a song called ďDonít Get Me Wrong,Ē the remix [is] with T.I. I did [that track] because I wanted to get my full respect, and really just show the world that I bring that heat and I deliver that product that people want to hear. Iím not just your normal rapper. On my album, I donít do fake drive-bys and shit. I donít do fake ass shit that I ainít out here really trying to do. Iím talking about making money, taking trips, [and] making business moves. Iím creating new patterns in the game that ainít nobody else [coming] up with, [all] over unique beats. Iím really having fun with my music, man. Iím not a complicated dude, Iím simple. ďMr. Vice PresidentĒ is heavy on the politics, letís say that!


Dubcnn: So weíre going to learn more about your business side, and how to get into the game after hearing the album?

Yep! Youíre going to learn exactly how to get into the game by listening to this album. If youíve never been to school before, never had nobody stand up for you before, ride for you and represent for you, this album is gonna do that because it represents for the regular people. It represents for the people thatís trying to make a way for themselves in the game: [those that] take care of [their] family and children [and are] responsible individuals.


Dubcnn: That sounds like itís something uniqueÖ

Definitely man, and thatís my selling point. Iím not gonna try to hype you up on which producers and [guests are] on the album Ė fuck all of that! Iím hyping you up on all the game youíre gonna get! Youíre really gonna be able to say, ďI got some real game fucking with JT! Heís really on there with real math numbers, real transaction numbers, real ballers that are real motherfuckers in this shit, that can really make a living off it.Ē


Dubcnn: We also saw something about a ďMandatory BusinessĒ documentary movie thatís coming out. Is that still coming?

Yes sir, yes sir! The ďMandatory BusinessĒ [is] a film that me and Snoop put together, and thatís also the name of our company. The [film] is a brand-new, fresh approach. This film is about going back to the hood, showing love to the hood, in a way thatís up close and personal. In no way are we looking to get credit or press behind it. Weíre going in there, dealing with real-life issues, and talking with people thatís really affected by the music that we make, the communities that we live in, [and] the environment that we help create through the music. Weíre really trying to show that love back to them, to help them further themselves and see that we do care out here, that we do have common sense, [and] that we do have the ability to use our talent to create a positive change in the world! This film is the first one of that kind.


Dubcnn: ďMandatory BusinessĒ is also going to be an albumÖ

Itís a soundtrack. Snoop is going to be on 3 or 4 songs, Iím on like ten of the songs at least. Itís definitely an incredible project. Weíve got Daz and Kurupt on there of course, weíve got Gucci Mane coming in from the South, weíve got Young Buck, San Quinn, E-40, and weíve got a bunch of up-and-coming new guys.


Dubcnn: You recently signed Hood Surgeon to Get Low. Tell us whatís going on with thatÖ

We signed him and we dropped him all at the same time man! His [tendency] to not focus in is one of the things that caused us to have to depart ways with him. We were excited about it originally, but you know, you canít be a gimmick rapper. Youíve got to really be who you say you are. If youíre gonna talk all that murder-ass killiní shit on your albums, you better be ready to stand up to a motherfuckiní CEO, a manager, or somebody whoís in the way of your career. Youíre talking all that stuff on albums, but youíre not living up to it. [Thatís] not to say that youíve got to be killing anybody, because thatís false, even though in some cases people really live that lifestyle.

In terms of the level of publicity and the level of eyes that were on us for the project, we wouldnít want to be seen as promoting something thatís not real. So we had to gracefully bow out on that one, and wish him much success to whatever he can do in the world. Youíveí got be real, [and] youíve got be who you say you are. Thatís really what it boils down to. We wish him much success out there, in terms of him trying to find a way for himself. Itís a hard game man, and being the son of a tycoon, itís rough man. Heís got some big shoes to fill! We was ready to ride it out for him, but he wasnít ready to ride out for us, so we canít fuck with no cats like that. I want him to hear that loud and clear. If you canít stand up for yourself, we canít stand up for you. Thatís a fact, and that comes from me and the whole Bay.


Dubcnn: Besides everything you just mentioned, what else is going on with Get Low Entertainment?

Weíve got San Quinn dropping a double CD called ďExtreme Danger.Ē Itís a CD featuring all the classics I produced and all the material that we did together. So itís definitely gonna be a jewel for all the San Quinn fans. We have a JT and Outlawz record that we put together - me, Noble and Edi - called ďGhetto Monopoly.Ē Iím excited about that.


Dubcnn: That sounds pretty good!

Yeah, thatís [coming] out of left field. Nobody was expecting that! The number one thing that I want everyone to be on about me is focusing in on this distribution, this marketing, and on these creative products that weíre doing. People can participate further than just [being] a fan. They can participate [through] some type of interaction [and] they can get a better benefit than just riding around listening to the music.

We want business people to lock in with us. We want graphic designers, web designers - people that have talents thatís looking to make a way in the game. Thatís [who] weíre looking to network with. That email, kochmusic@gmail.com, is where you can send all the samples to. Thatís where Iím taking all the songs, the artwork, the messages, or they can call live and direct Ė itís all good.


Dubcnn: Is there anything else you want to say to everyone on Dubcnn?

Yeah, keep your eyes tuned to JT The Bigga Figga. You just never know. Thank yíall for all your support. You went against the odds, even when it didnít look like it was cool to support me. It looked like it was a movement against me, but in reality, thatís the resistance thatís comes with anybody trying to do great things. So I just want to say ďone loveĒ to all my folks that supported me through all the trials and tribulations of the game that Iíve been through, and that I prepare myself to continue to go through. Itís always an up-hill climb, so I just want to let my folks know that I appreciate that love, and I want to give something back in the form of these quality products that Iím delivering.








 

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JT The Bigga Figga Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here
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