interview BIG POOH of LITTLE BROTHER   (September 2007) | Interview By: Lil Jay

Little Brother are scheduled to return next month with their third album "Getback". To ease the wait, Dubcnn is bringing you an exclusive Little Brother feature today. We linked up with Rapper Big Pooh, one half of the North Carolina duo, for an interview.

Pooh speaks his mind about the recent group changes which generated a lot of talk earlier this year. He also talks about him and Phonte working with different producers on the "new Little Brother sound", upcoming solo projects, the Hip Hop community in North Carolina, and much more.

As ever, you can read and listen to this exclusive interview and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to liljay@dubcnn.com.

Be sure to pick up a copy of "Getback" when it hits stores on October 23rd. The official album sampler has been making its rounds last week. Check it out if you haven't done so already.

Little Brother - Getback Album Sampler (Mixed by DJ Flash)


Interview was done in September 2007

Questions Asked By: Lil Jay

Big Pooh Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here


Dubcnn: A line which always impressed me was "I ain't never heard an act to blow and go global then come back home and still be called local". Did that change since you dropped "The Minstrel Show" album?

Big Pooh: Nah, (laughs) it's the same. We're just from one of them cities where it's funny. We're one of them acts that became known and developed a following outside of our state first. Unless they see you on the TV all the time or hear you on the radio all the time, then it's like you're nothing special. I have a relative or I have a boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever that makes music too, so you're nothing special. That's kinda how it is out here.

Dubcnn: So who's fault is it? Is it the Hip Hop community in North Carolina itself or is it coming from people outside the state not respecting you guys enough?

Big Pooh: Nah, it's coming from the community within. It should start here, or if it didn't start here once they saw that we were getting recognition and love and developed a following outside of here, then they should have opened arms and welcomed us back into the community and make the scene here bigger. Because it wouldn't have just been for Little Brother's sake , it would have been for the sake of people making music coming behind Little Brother in the city and the state. It would have made the state special, but that isn't what happened. And it's crazy, because when you say North Carolina, the first artist that most people say is Little Brother. But still, when you come in North Carolina, you wouldn't even know we were from here for the most part.

Dubcnn: But one thing you can't deny about the fanbase, it might not be a 50 Cent fanbase as far as the size, but it's a strong fanbase.

Big Pooh: Oh yeah, that's the crazy thing. We got a strong fanbase, we got a core following. But it's sad that our whole state for soundscan numbers, as far as group records and solo records, North Carolina is not in the Top 3. I don't even know if they're in the Top 5. It's sad man, but that's just the situation we're dealing with.

Dubcnn: If you could pick, would you rather have [50 Cent's] fanbase who has all types of fans, including disloyal people, or your fanbase as strong as it is now, with people respecting you and the music?

Big Pooh: I got you. I would rather have my fanbase, cause I believe my fanbase is a ever growing fanbase. We have a core following that god willing will be with us for as long as we decide to put out music. And we always have room to grow. I don't feel sorry for it, but an artist of the stature of 50 Cent is put in a fucked up situation where he can sell 5 million this record and he come out and sell 2.5 million his next record, and it's being a failure. You know what I'm saying? That's 2.5 million records. But I'd rather have my fans, hopefully they'll be here for as long as we continue to make music.

Dubcnn: Is that a problem for upcoming acts out of North Carolina, since it's not getting the same recognition as other states?

Big Pooh: I mean it makes it a little harder for you not having your city or state behind you wholeheartedly, because you're lacking that support, you're lacking that backbone for the foundation. And that makes it a little difficult. We were lucky that we made it happen without the support of the state. But it's a hard thing to do, I ain't gonna lie. It's a very hard thing to do, cause the first thing people wanna know is how is people in your state responding to you. And if you're state isn't supporting you, then you might have a problem. It might make it that much harder for you.

Dubcnn: How have things changed for you guys recording this album compared to the last one? You guys were known for that mellow, soulful vibe. What can people expect on the new one?

Big Pooh: We just went in and elevated the sound, elevated the formula. We experimented a little bit and made a brighter record, a lighter record. So I think people will really take to this record. We updated the fomula, so it's a updated version of Little Brother. We can't give you "The Minstrel Show" again, we can't give you "The Listening" again. So we had to give you something new, something fresh.

Dubcnn: Can you evolve a little bit about the word "light"?

Big Pooh: Just having fun. With "The Minstrel Show" for example, it was a dark record. We were trying to say so many things within that record, whereas on "Getback" we're back to having fun, enjoying ourselves. It's crazy how the music is now, we just decided that we just wanted to make a record that people can relate to and you can enjoy listening to. You don't have to think too deeply into it, you just can put it on and enjoy and reminisce a little bit, have fun and hopefully smile.

Dubcnn: Are you still gonna bring back that balance to Hip Hop that you brought with
"The Minstrel Show"?

Big Pooh: Hopefully so. I mean you never know until it's out there, but hopefully so. You just never know how people will take to your record until it's out there.

Dubcnn: Since you got more than just one producer on the album, you have at least 5 or 6 this time, how has that aspect affected the creative process?

Big Pooh: It didn't affect that much having that many producers like people would have thought. You just gotta know what you're doing, you just gotta know how you want your record to sound. You have to be able to be a good judge of beats. You can't just go after every beat that just sounds crazy or sounds like it's the dopest beat you ever heard in your life. That's not gonna necessarily blend and mash well with the other records on your album. Even though having the variest producers on it, we were still able to come up with a record that sounds balanced and well put together.

Dubcnn: Let me ask it the other way around: How was it to not rock over a 9th Wonder beat this time around?

Big Pooh: Oh... Well, the only difference that came into play with that was having to get in touch with the variest producers and sit down and make sure that everything went together. Whereas when it was 9th Wonder doing most of the project, you knew everything was gonna stay together for the most part, cause he knew what he was giving us. So it's easy to stay in the same veine, whereas when you're dealing with other producers, sometimes we played them what we have, sometimes they was just sending beats blind. That probably was the most difficult part, just trying to make sure that everything stayed in the same veine.

Dubcnn: Do you get tired of having to explain the new group situation? Like, did you guys miss the support from the Hip Hop community because you had to deal with explaning yourself all the time?

Big Pooh: I mean you get a little frustrated, I know 9th Wonder questions people probably gonna ask them for a long time. It's like, I understand that, but I think some people are concentrating too much on 9th Wonder not being there. I tell people all the time that they're not gonna hear anything different from what I was saying in the last interview. So if you read one interview, you pretty much know how I'm gonna answer the question for the rest of the interviews.

Dubcnn: I mean it should be looked at as a positive move, since you're moving on and branching out this time.

Big Pooh: Thanks man, that's what you would think! People don't wanna see the positive thing, that's not what's gonna sell records, magazines or anything else. Everything but the music sells today, so that's what people looking at.

Dubcnn: What mindstate were you in recording the new album?

Big Pooh: I was just free! We were able to make a free record. A lot of people counted us out being that we went through the label change and the group change. "The Minstrel Show", critically acclaim, but commercially as far as sales are concerned it was a failure. So people kinda counted us out and they stopped really paying attention to us. So we didn't have nobody looking over our shoulder when we made the record. We were able to go and just be free with it.

Dubcnn: When you say free, is it more the getting-off-the-major-label-aspect or more of the having-the-new-sound-aspect?

Big Pooh: It's the new sound aspect. It's all of that actually. When you have no restrictions you have no one looking over your shoulder. You have no restrictions, you can just go and do what you wanna do, be the artist that you wanna be, and create what you wanna create. And not having to worry about what the single is gonna sound like or thins like 'Are y'all gonna make the same type of record that you made on "The Minstrel Show"?' So you ain't gotta worry about none of that.

Dubcnn: But would you still recommend the major label situation to an upcoming artist that is following your path?

Big Pooh: I would tell them they have to find their own path. I would share with them my experiences, I'll be sure to do that. It's only right that I share with them the experiences that I had on a major label and on a independent label. I can do that, but they have to make the decision themself because some people just wanna experience it. And real talk, you could never understand my story or understand what I'm telling you until you experience it yourself. I can tell an artist my story and they can be 'Aww, I don't wanna sign to a major label', or I can tell them something else and they be like 'Oh I still wanna sign to a major label'. But nobody is gonna truly understand cause everybody is different. Everybody experiences it differently.

Dubcnn: At some point it seemed like it was frustrating for all of you around the time you dropped "The Minstrel Show".

Big Pooh: Oh yeah, it was definitely frustrating. Because at the end of the day we didn't feel that we had the support that we thought we would have on a major label. We thought we had this big machine behind us that got us more support that we ended up getting. That probably was the most frustrating part.

Dubcnn: Once you got the "Getback" album out, what can we expect after that?

Big Pooh: Tay [Phonte], he's working on the new "Foreign Exchange" album with Nicolay, so they got that coming. I got a couple of records coming out. The first one hopefully will be out in February, it's called "Dirty Pretty Things". Then I got a couple of other projects that I'm working on. After "Getback" comes out, we're just gonna take our time to go do solo things and flesh those ideas out. Creatively go places that we wanna go individually and then ultimately come back and do another Little Brother record.

Dubcnn: Are you gonna follow the path of the "Sleepers" album? Or are you gonna try to do something new with your solo career too?

Big Pooh: I mean it's definitely gonna be a follow up, I'm just gonna take it somewhere different and try to update the sound like we do with the Little Brother record. As we started working on the new record, that's just something that we decided to do. Cause after "The Listening" we did our solo projects and then we came back and did "The Minstrel Show" and then we didn't have a break inbetween "The Minstrel Show" and "Getback". We went straight into the next album, so we just felt that it was time after this record to take the time to go off and do our solo things. And it helps us out in the end as a group, because we were able to go out and do what we wanted to do creatively solo. So when we come back as a group there is no tension there, there is no frustration. We're going back at making classic records.

Dubcnn: Speaking of classic records: A classic joint y'all had was "I See Now" with Kanye and Consequence. Can we expect another collabo like this anytime soon?

Big Pooh: Aww, thanks man. Well I haven't talked to Kanye since April of 2005. And I haven't talked to Cons in a while neither. As far as recording, that was a one time thing. But I had spoken to him after the recording though, we just haven't spoken in a while.

It's funny, because we did that song back in 2004. But like last year, people started playing it heavy on XM Radio and everything. So people thought that was new, they were like 'When we gonna get a video for this?'. That record was done like after "The Listening", before "College Dropout". That record is crazy old. I enjoyed making that record though, that was a moment in time that I'll always remember.

Dubcnn: Is there anything else you'd like to let everybody know?

Big Pooh: Just thank you for supporting Little Brother. Keep supporting us and we're gonna keep putting out that dope music. And "Getback" is on the way!


Big Pooh Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here




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