BIG MIKE (January
2009) | Interview By: Chad Kiser
Dubcnn sat down recently with southern veteran, Big Mike. Many of you got to know Big Mike from his short-lived stint along side Bushwick Bill & Scarface in the Geto Boys, appearing on the group’s gold-selling ‘Til Death Do Us Part album.
Showcased on stand-out cuts like “Crooked Officer”, “No Guts, No Glory”, Big Mike paved the way for his debut solo album Something Serious, a project that featured the singles “Playa Playa”, “Having Things” and “World of Mine”.
What many people don’t know is that this New Orleans native first came up on the scene with his group
The Convicts, who were courted by Death Row Records in the early 90’s. Big Mike spent a considerable
amount of time working with Dr. Dre on the producer’s classic debut The Chronic, as well as having the
good doctor initially working on what was supposed to be The Convicts’ Death Row debut.
In this exclusive interview, Big Mike talks about some of the current projects he has in store for us,
fills us in on the history behind the “Crooked Officer” track that was initially written for Dr. Dre,
and discusses his time spent on Death Row.
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums
or email them to email@example.com.
Interview was done in November 2008
Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
Big Mike Interview
A Dubcnn Exclusive
By Chad Kiser
Dubcnn: Big Mike, get us up to speed with what you have going on.
This is what I’m doing. I’m working on an album with me and Six2 called Southern Hydro,
right? Me, Deuce & Erotic, other than that I've just been working on my solo sh-t.
It's probably not going to drop until late January early February. As far as producers,
just little name producers and sh-t, not any big name producers on my sh-t. I got a few
features on my sh-t from Rick Ross, Chamillionaire, B.G., other than that that’s it.
Dubcnn: What’s the status with the Southern Hydro project? I heard you guys were going
to have to re-record that material.
We need to go in there and tweak it a little bit; do some other things that need to be done.
Things changed with the producer situation, so just some little things need to be done; we
just need to go in and do a couple tracks, but nothing major. It’s nothing that’s going to
Dubcnn: Well, let me take you back to 1991 with The Convicts.
Alright, take me back! What you wanna know?
Dubcnn: Tell me how you came in the game and how you got connected with The Convicts?
Well, me and Tony Draper put in some work together back in the day; he was from Suave
House with 8-Ball, MJG and all of them. I had a demo that I did in my early teens where
I recorded with my father, who is a musician. We were riding down to get a demo; he was
tripping’ saying he had a cousin who was producing and that he would go over there with
Rap-Al-Lot. So, he let his cousin hear my demo and they got back to me saying they were
putting together a group called The Convicts. One of the artists they had got locked up
or something and they asked if I would help them out with it, and in turn they would help
me out with my solo sh-t or whatever I was trying to do.
Dubcnn: In 1993, I’m not sure if you would call it “replaced”, but you stood in for Willie D
on the Geto Boys’ Til’ Death Do Us Part project.
I don’t know if I would call it stood in. It wasn’t really standing in, but what happened was
Willie D left the group so they were sitting around and they were used to three members; they
thought it would stay strong if they kept 3 members, so they were looking for the best candidate
for that position. I was out in L.A. with Death Row, where I was f-ckin’ with Dr. Dre and them.
They gave me a call and offered it to me and I thought about it for a few months and thought it
would be to my benefit if I had this, so that’s how it came about. Willie D left the group, but
later when he came back they were on some reconcile sh-t so you can’t really call it standing in,
you feel me?
Dubcnn: Obviously, you held it down, so how did it feel to be involved with a classic group like the Geto Boys?
It was cool at the time, it was what it was. The Geto Boys was a big group, especially down south.
They were one of the groups from the south that got the door open; you know they got that
recognition. It was real for me at the time. You know what kind of things the Geto Boys were
having at the time, so I had to think about it for a few months and some people said I took too long,
but fuck it. I had to make sure; I looked at the benefits of it and it worked.
Dubcnn: How come you weren’t involved in the subsequent albums after Willie D came back?
Man, you know what? I’m just going to say that one of the members that was involved
in the trio didn’t like the attention that I was getting. When I jumped in the group
this particular member was the hardest of the previous three and everybody knew that;
I knew that. His songs were the songs that you jumped on. As soon as you put his sh-t
on his songs were the ones that you were like, ‘that’s my favorite’. Obviously, dude
didn’t like the attention that I was getting as another member in the group that people
was fond of, so he made a suggestion that I’m not going to be in the group or spit on the
next album if dude still around, meaning me. He had seniority; he was the major reason that
We Can’t Be Stopped went platinum. The bottom line is that they was being hoes and not
trying to share the spotlight. I don’t know if they were just young in the game and didn’t
understand the benefits of having another tight rapper in the group or what? People are
young and they get famous and they don’t know how to handle it, but I wasn’t tripping because
my solo sh-t was doing well.
Dubcnn: Right, you came out with Somethin' Serious, and I thought that was an exceptional project with
tracks like “Playa Playa” and “Having Things”. Tell me about the making of that album.
Well, by that time I had moved to Atlanta just to get my mind right, but I took my work out
there with me. After maybe six months out there I came back to Houston; I had free access to
the studio, I was working with three different producers at the same time and I just went out
and used my ideas and the producers got together with me and we made it happen.
Dubcnn: You talked a little bit earlier about being out in L.A. with Dr. Dre and Death Row.
Were you actually signed to Death Row?
Yeah, they had got at us; they liked us. I don’t know the details they had worked out with the
owner of Rap-A-Lot to make it happen, but we ended up down there actually recording the album
that was going to be released on Death Row. But with things the way they were there, even before
the whole falling out with Dre leaving and what not, I just didn’t see my music coming out any
time soon. So, when the Geto Boys’ offer came about I thought about it for awhile and I compared
it like, ‘I’m out there with Dre; I’m out in L.A. with Death Row and some sh-t’s about to be
popping off, but I wasn’t getting the attention’. I’m not talking about the fans ‘oohing’ and
‘ahhing’, I’m talking about the business attention, getting in the studio and them letting me know
when I’m coming out. That wasn’t being provided to me and at the time I was hungry; I was ready
to get it! But it was all love though; even after the Geto Boys album we still f-cked with each
other, but it was after the big falling out that we all lost touch with each other.
Dubcnn: The Convicts project that was on Death Row, did that have Dre production on there,
or what was that project going to sound like?
We were working with guys like DJ Unknown, who was known for doing a lot of 2Pac’s work,
and Big Slip; both of them produced 2Pac. Dre he was doing some production; we had gotten
probably 6 tracks into the project and I used some of those ideas for the Geto Boys album,
like “Mr. Officer”, “Gangster Original”, “No Nuts, No Glory”. I took sh-t like that and
used it on the Geto Boys album.
Dubcnn: I was going to ask you about that track “Mr. Officer”. Can you tell us the history
on that track because there’s been a lot of talk about how it was meant for The Chronic and whatnot.
At the time we were there, Dr. Dre was putting together The Chronic and people were contributing
to the album because everybody knew that their success rode on the success of that record. We
all did it because we wanted to, not because we were forced to. We all took the attitude that
we wanted to be a part of something big. We all knew something big was happening, so I had done
the song, he heard it and he wanted to use it on The Chronic. So, when I came to the Geto Boys,
while there was still some uncertainty with Death Row, I used that song on the Geto Boys’ album.
It didn’t hurt anyone’s pocket but mine, you know? I did alright with the Geto Boys, but The
Chronic sold I don’t know how many millions of records! But, man, you can’t live with regrets so
it’s all love. That was me taking my shot on myself and, I mean, it worked out for me.
Dubcnn: So, did “Mr. Officer” sound the same on ‘Til Death Do Us Part as it did when you were
doing it with Death Row?
Nah, man, the music was on a totally different vibe.
Dubcnn: Did Dre produce the original?
Dubcnn: What other tracks or projects were you involved in during your time on Death Row?
Well, it was right around the time they did the Deep Cover soundtrack and they were working on
that and I left while they were in the process of working on it. That’s the only thing I had
the opportunity to work on. I mean they wanted the songs, but Rap-A-Lot decided that they were
going to keep that work. I would have worked out something with them, but when other people have
their money up you just have to do what you have to do sometimes.