FEATURE: Big Pooh, One Mic
Big Pooh is a rapper’s rapper. Known as one half of the Carolina crew Little Brother, the group has become one of the handful of acts that are mentioned when die hards talk about the ever elusive “real hip hop.” But there comes a time when underground accolades and splitting checks two ways gets tired, well sorta. After teasing fans with his solid but ironically slept on 2005 debut effort Sleepers, Big Pooh is back for the first time with a new album, Delightful Bars and another full-length set to be released later this year entitled Dirty Pretty Things. Leaving nothing to chance this time, Pooh is determined to make sure the fans understand just how hard he puts on. XXLMag.com caught up with the MC to talk about new music, stepping out of Phonte’s lyrical shadow and why fans can forget 9th Wonder rejoining the fold.
XXLMag.com: It’s been a minute since you dropped your solo debut Sleepers. This Delightful Bars album definitely sounds a little more focused…
Big Pooh: Yea man, it’s four years later and this album is just showing my growth. These tracks are ranging the top of ’06 probably til the end of ’08 so there’s probably like an almost three year range between some of the songs on the album. I just wanted to get it out to the people. This is a time in music where the people don’t want to wait on you for two years to get an album. They don’t even wanna wait a year. So now I’m back just trying to feed the people.
XXL: You’ve always kind of documented your real life and spoke up for the average dude in your rhymes. What type of things have you dealt with since Sleepers that has made it’s way into your music now?
Big Pooh: Um, just things I’ve experienced. In those four years I’ve been able to travel the world, experienced highs and lows in the music industry itself and highs and lows in my personal life as well. Touched a little more money in that time, but because of the way I live my life it’s still considered everyday-man music. It’s not about the things you acquire it’s about how you live. Sometimes when you end up coming into a lot of money, your lifestyle changes. If that’s the case then cool. I’ve acquired a little bit of money, but my lifestyle hasn’t changed that greatly so I’m still gonna talk about the regular shit. There’s more people who deal with what I talk about in my music than it is people who have a whole lot of money. No matter what facet of life you’re in now, you were once able to relate to what I speak about in the music. Like Andre  said, ‘I might have more fans than the average man’ but at the end of the day I’m just like you.
XXL: Fans were geeked to see you hook up with 9th Wonder for the “Rearview Mirror” song on the album. Could this be the start of a full-fledged Peaches n Herb “Reunited” type of thing?
Big Pooh: We didn’t [actually] record that one together but that was probably after a whole year after the break up. That was kinda like our first time really talking in like a year. When people hear it they gon be like ‘yo, they still got it. Like, ya’ll should have never stopped making music together.’ But that’s just the chemistry we had together. I mean me and 9th on a personal level, we cool. We speak when we see each other or whatever. But what happened in the past can never be forgotten. It can be forgiven but not forgotten and we’ll never forget that we were once in a group together and now we’re not and all the shit that went along with that. You’ll probably always carry baggage with you, probably until the day you done, about what happened. So will you see anymore collaborations in the future with myself and 9th, maybe. But as far as Little Brother, I doubt it.
XXL: Phonte is noticeable missing from the list of featured MCs on the record. Is that by choice or circumstance?
Big Pooh: That was deliberate, him not being on the Delightful Bars record. We talked about it and it’s just me trying to establish my solo brand. It’s like, I put out a record [before] but never really got to establish my solo brand. Whenever I have a record with Tay on it, that’s the one people automatically wanna run to because it’s a Little Brother joint and that’s something I told him I didn’t want to happen this time. He’ll definitely be on the Dirty Pretty Things album, but because this one was coming out first, I just wanted to not have people have that de-facto Little Brother joint to run to as a crutch.
XXL: But you guys are still a group rockin’ together though?
Big Pooh: Yea, we not broken up. There’s been a lot of speculation but we just taking time to work on other things right now. We’ll have an EP coming out later this year called Left Back, joints that were left off of Get Back, with a couple new joints, a few exclusive remixes and a DVD to go along with that. So you’ll definitely be hearing from us this year.
XXL: Alright, let’s clear up a couple rumors. I heard that you’ve been doing some ghostwriting for some high profile cats on the low…
Big Pooh: [Laughs] Nah, that’s not true. I wish it was though. Nah, nothing other than helping somebody in the crew with some hooks or whatever, but I wouldn’t mind it though.
XXL: You’re a big dude but I heard that you were a vegetarian and that you’re sponsored by PETA…
Big Pooh: Nah. PETA, man you gotta love those people [laughs]. We did an interview with them at the first Rock The Bells show and during that time myself and Phonte were both vegetarians. So we did it and they waited like a year later to finally put the interview up and have us associated with PETA but by that time, both of us had gone back to eating meat. So, they running with it. I ain’t got no checks off of that though. But if you see me eating some bird or cow, don’t be shocked [laughs].
XXL: I know you’re looking to hit the road soon. As a group you guys have always put on a good show. Can fans expect you to rock the stage the same way dolo?
Big Pooh: I just believe in giving the fans entertainment, not just rapping, but entertainment. It’s a little different when you see my show from a Little Brother show because the music changes a little. A little more straight forward, edgier sound. But I do shit like jump in the crowd, I do that type of shit [laughs]. I just want people to walk away and say I wouldn’t mind spending my hard earned money to see that nigga again.
XXL: People have said you’ve never really got a chance to establish yourself as a formidable MC not because you can’t spit, but because you’ve rhymed alongside Phonte, who is such a great lyricist. Are you hoping this album will show the true caliber of artist that you are?
Big Pooh: Between this project and Dirty Pretty Things, I think they will definitely establish me with the people as somebody to respect and not sleep on and just look at me in my own light. And I think you’re right. Sometimes being in a group with an MC like Phonte the other person does get overshadowed a lot. I think by me doing the solo records you get to see more of my personality, you get to see it all. Hopefully that’s what happens. If it don’t, then it don’t. I know there’s plenty of people out there that fuck with me and have been following my development as an artist. I’m just gonna keep putting music out there. I think there’s a lot of motherfuckers out here rapping, but most of them can’t fuck with me when it comes to doing this music. If people see that as me being vain or me being crazy, then that’s just what it is. That’s just how I see it. – Anthony Roberts