BIG NEIL What’s been going on with you since our last interview? Same ol’, same ol’. Makin’ more music, meeting more new people, doing more shows, staying in the streets. When does your album drop? I’m still working on making more music for the mixtape. The album is in the works; nothing but street music, to tell you the truth. I got a big mixtape coming out called Mattress Money with DJ Kool Laid from Mississippi. Is the mixtape mostly freestyles over other people’s beats, or original songs? It’s gonna be some of my new stuff, some of my old stuff, a couple tracks with Rich Boy from Interscope, a couple of the Czar Nok songs. It’ll be mainly my affiliates, a bunch of Big Neil music tryin’ to get out to these streets. Your single is called “Dope Boy Music,” so I guess people can guess what that’s about. Yeah, I’m just rappin’ about what the streets want. I got another song on my album called “Big Time” that people are about to start hearing. I got another song called “Lock It Down” and another song called “Fresh,” made by LP out of Cleveland, Ohio. Sinec you’re reppin’ for Cincinnati and coming up for the Super Bowl, would you say that Detroit and Cincinnati are similar musically? Yeah, Detroit has a lot of street music just like my city. Everything in Cincinnati is really Midwest and Southern, cause we’re so close to the South. We’re only a few hours apart from the South, so it’s really just Midwest and South music. What’s gonna be the hottest spot in Detroit during Super Bowl weekend? The whole Detroit is real live. It’s poppin’. We love Detroit. Have you collaborated with any Detroitbased rappers yet? Not yet. They got a lot of street rappers. Detroit gives their street rappers a lot of love. There’s one guy up there called Jesse James, he got a decent album.
There’s a lot of people that have come out lately that could be considered “street” rappers. What sets you apart from people like Jeezy and T.I.? I got a gangsta-type swagger, so I’m different. I believe my voice is gonna stand out a lot with this music that I’m doing. People are gonna know that what I’m sayin’ is really real; they’re gonna be able to tell. I listen to guys like T.I. and Jeezy and whoever’s keepin’ it real, and you could tell in their music and in their voice and in what they talkin’ about that they really keeping it real. That’s what I’m tryin’ to bring to them. A lot of rappers talk about keeping it real, but of course, being in jail or being shot isn’t always a good thing career-wise. How do you draw the line between keeping it real and getting in trouble? You stay real by doing what you gotta do. You better try your best not to get in trouble, but if you’re keeping it real, you gotta do what you do. You shouldn’t be just talkin’ about it. A lot of people are keepin’ it real cause they gotta really do it like that. That’s what I gotta do. That’s just how it is. You gotta stay out of trouble though. You don’t wanna be in trouble, but different things happen in different people’s lives. You stay getting caught up. You mentioned that you have a gangstatype swagger. Were you influenced by the West Coast? Yeah, I’m bringin’ back all the gangstas. That’s my vibe. I’m gonna have a mixture of the Tupacs and the Biggies and even the N.W.As. People gonna be wondering where they been at all this time. Have you collaborated with any West coast artists yet? I haven’t, but I wouldn’t mind collaborating with anybody on the West coast. I wouldn’t mind doing music with anybody, to tell you the truth. Let’s just make it happen. Your labelmates Czar-Nok are signed to Capitol. Are you planning on dropping through a major or staying indie? For real, we gonna keep it all the way indie until they bring the right deal to my boss Los Vegas. If they bring it, we’ll keep rockin it. They’re gonna come holla eventually, cause they always callin’ to check up on us. Los Vegas gonna keep us rockin’ indie until it rocks off. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly OZONE
Ozone Mag Super Bowl 2006 special edition