Big Scoob has been in the cut for awhile now, handling his business and also getting his health in order (at the time of this interview, Scoob let us know that over the past 4 months he’s gone from weighing 330 lbs to 285). Now with appearances on Strangeulation Vol. II and rumors of a new project in the works (and posssibly a Killer Mike collab?), it’s time to get reacquainted with Big Scoob.
I gotta ask, just for the fans, because you’ve been pretty rare in the past 2 or 3 years, how have you been?
Everything’s cool man. Just living life, taking care of my family. Trying to figure out my next steps.
The last project we heard from you was a while back. Your No Filter EP. I think you had Damn Fool come out in that year as well, back in 2011. What led to you taking kind of a hiatus from doing music?
Music is a lot of things, but first of all, it needs to be a way to pay for my responsibilities. If it’s not paying for my responsibilities, then I have to find other avenues. So at the time, music wasn’t doing it for me. So I had to find other things, other ways. I got daughters that I need to send to college and take care of my mother. I’ve got different responsibilities that I have to take care of first before I can do music.
We can all definitely respect that. Having said all that, what brings you back into the fold? I see that you’re pretty active; I saw on Twitter that you’re working on another project, you got these two appearances on Strangeulation II, and you had your cypher verse last year on Strangeulation. What brings you back into music?
My personality is that I don’t like feeling defeated by anything. I’ve always excelled in everything I’ve tried in life, from real estate to even the bullshit in my life – gang-banging on the corners. I’ve always excelled and been one of the best at everything I’ve ever done, but I never could figure out how to make music pay me.
I figured out how to make music make everybody like me. I figured out how to make music make me kind of popular. I was already popular in the town, so it wasn’t really hard, but I haven’t figured out how to make music pay me. So, I didn’t really detach all the way from it. I was still playing with it here and there. With Tech being my partner, he’s always making me do this. “Come on man, you need to do this for me, man. Do this. Do this.” So I’ve never been too far away from it.
To answer your question all the way, what really made me get all the back into it was Travis. Every time I would see Travis, he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He was like, “You need to tell your story.” So me, I’m a business man, so I’m like, “The fans at the label don’t want to hear my story. They’re either too young or they’re from different walks of life. They don’t want to hear my story. They want to hear rapid spit, purgatory type music.” He’s like, “No, it’s bigger than that. We’re evolving. We’re growing. You need to tell your story.” He just wouldn’t leave me alone.
I talked to him at the “No K” videoshoot. I came out to show love. Hung with E-40 and my partner Big Mugs. Trav was like, “We need to meet. We need to talk.” So when I came into the office, he basically threw it out there, “Whatever you need, whatever we need to do, we need to get another album out of you.” So that’s why I’m back.
Anything you can tell us about this project that you’re working on? From what I can tell, it seems like Seven is producing a majority of it.
I’ve got a couple things I’m working on that I don’t want to let out of the bag yet. All I want to do is make an album that I’m proud of, that I’ll still want to listen to in 20 years. You know, I’ve got ties to the streets, I’ve got ties to criminal life, I’ve got ties to music life, but overall, I’m much more than all that. I’m growing a lot – mind, body, and spirit.
The same way when I put on a Marvin Gaye record, or Earth, Wind, & Fire, or George Clinton: that music was from the 60s and 70s and it still moves me today. That’s the type of music I want to make this time. I want to make a soulful journey, not only into my life, but into the millions of people that are living the same struggle I’m living.
Have you talked to Seven about the way you want it to sound with that kind of approach then?
See that was another problem I was having. Producers all make beats for Tech N9ne. With this music industry, I don’t care if the guy that’s rapping swears he’s from the streets, he swears he’s the same guy as me. The end result is, they only want to talk to me to get to Tech. I understand that. I’m cool with that. It’s all part of the business. The producers are doing the same thing. They’re sending me beats that are tailored for Tech. It’s not tailored for me. So I really don’t feel it.
I had to sit down with Seven and we went over it for hours. A lot of this album will be played live: live instruments, bands in the studio with me. I have to say, I’ve evolved a lot, so I’m going to try to show it with this.
We can’t wait to hear it. We also want to talk about these appearances you have with Strangeulation Vol. II. First of all, you’re on this song called “Push Start”. Take me through the creation of that song. How did it start? How did it evolve?
I kept showing up at the studio. Tech kept calling me saying, “I gotta get you on something,” but in typical Tech fashion, he was swamped. He was behind. He had shows to do. He just came off a tour. There’s a deadline on the album. He didn’t have a beat yet. He just kept saying, “I gotta get you on something.” So I tell him, “It’s cool man. I know you’re busy.” He says, “No. I’m gonna get you on something.”
Tech keeps telling me we need a different flavor on the album. He’s like, “I got this, I got this, but I need some of this.” So I say, “Well you know, that’s what I do.” I go talk to Seven and tell him what I’m looking for. Tech goes to Canada. Seven sends me a beat. Travis calls me and says “Hey, Tech wants you on the album, but it’s already at mastering. So, if you can’t get this to me by 11 in the morning, it won’t make it.” So I call Tech and I say, “Do you really want me to do this?” and he says, “Man, I need you to do this.”
So Makzilla comes over and comes up with the idea, “Push start with no keys.” It has a double meaning. You don’t need no help to go. If there’s something wrong, I go. It also means, in the music business, we push start with no keys, meaning, ain’t nobody fuckin’ with you. We’ll take off on whatever type of track. That’s why I say, “Y’all on one, we on three.” I wrote the track that day. The next morning I sent it to Tech. He laid his in Canada, sent it back, and we made the deadline.
I took the chorus so literally, and just thought you guys were talking about those new cars where you don’t need a key to start it.
That is part of it. That’s what it’s supposed to put you in the mindset of: everything evolves. You needed keys to start a car, now you push a button. People don’t know what buttons you’re going to push when you’re talking to me to make me go. Push start with no key: in all avenues of life, we go. That’s the meaning of the song.
Some of the things that struck me on this song and on your cypher verse – and the first Strangeulation cypher verse too – is that you’re showcasing more patterns in your flow than I’m used to hearing from you. Was that part of your evolution? Or was this a conscious decision?
It’s part of my evolution. I usually do whatever the beat tells me to do. My favorite rapper of all time is probably Scarface, with 8Ball being a close second. They don’t do pattern and word play. They tell it to you straight, and they’re two of the dopest guys to do it in my opinion.
What I’m on is – I was really trying to just say, if I speed my lyrics up, Strange fans will like me better, but I’m not saying anything different. I’m saying the same shit, but every time I speed my patterns up or give a different delivery, it’s like “Oh shit! Scoob killed it!” Well, it’s the same shit. I didn’t change. It’s still who I am. I throw a little bit of everything in there, but usually I just do what the beat tells me to do.
You mentioned Don P, shortened version of Donnie Punani, your nickname for Tech N9ne. How far back does that go?
No matter who you are, what you do for a living, if we know you and we have to talk to you, you have a nickname. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got a nickname as soon as we meet you.
With Tech, I’ve had different nicknames over the years. It’s evolved with him. But now, we play pranks where he’ll call my phone, I’ll answer and call him Ezekial or I’ll call him Lucifer. I just fuck with him like that. When we were on the last tour, when we’d be out in public, and I’m talking to Mugs about him, or to Krizz about him, instead of saying his name, I started saying Don P. Therefore, nobody would know I’m talking about him but us. I’ve been calling him Don P for about 6 or 7 years, but now I gave it to the world, so I’ll have to think of something else.
What are some nicknames that you’ve accumulated over the years?
Me, personally? “Fat ass.” For a minute, they used to call me “Three Thousand,” but my other guy, he was fatter than me, so he turned into “Three Thousand.” When I was younger they used to call me “Jelly Roll.” My block name is “Big Dog.” Shit man, it’s been a lot.
The purpose is to try to hurt your feelings with the joke, but if you don’t let it hurt your feelings then it’ll go away.
Which one’s been the longest lasting then? Is there one that’s a term of endearment toward you?
My block name is Big Dog. That’s what all the youngsters call me. But for my family, even when I was in school, the teachers, everybody, called me Scooby.
Now, speaking of the block, I know you got a cypher with JL and you guys go back. Tell me about your guys’ relationship.
Honestly, I really don’t know the youngster like that. I remember when he was a kid. I remember they were on the block, but he’s much younger than me, so we don’t really have a bond like that. But the house we used to be at on 56th Highland, he used to stay right across from it.
Yeah, Tech told us that you were the guy telling him to get out of the way so you could pull into the driveway.
Yeah, they was youngsters.
What can you tell me about that cypher track? You guys both go off.
Actually, I thought I was doing a track with Stevie Stone. That’s what I was told, but when I got to the studio, Stone had changed his track. He preferred another beat better. So I didn’t know who I was gonna be on the track with, and then I end up finding out I was on a track with JL.
Have you been able to hear the whole track?
Yeah, I heard it when I came and shot the little video for it.
How do you like how it came out?
It was dope.
It’s good to see you back in the fold. What can we expect from you in the near future?
Hopefully this next project comes out of my brain like I hear it. The only thing that can stop it is not being able to deliver my vision to the people around me. Strange Music, as a whole, is very different from me. I gotta be able to get the producers, the artists, everybody that I wanna work with, as excited about me as I am. With that being said, I just put a leaf out earlier saying I’d love to work with Killer Mike because I’m in that type of mindset. And he just hit back saying, “One hundred.” I got a track that I’m working on called “America’s Biggest Nightmare”. If I could do that with Killer Mike, it won’t be hard to get people to see my vision.
That’s sick man. What made you want to work with Killer Mike?
— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) November 16, 2015
I’ve been a fan of his for years. It’s just my music was telling what I went through. Now, my music has evolved to where I want to put the message of: “This is where we come from, this is what they’re serving us, but we ain’t gotta keep eating this bullshit. You can ride bull off this bullshit if you just pay attention to what’s going on around you.” So now I feel like, with that type of message being given, that’s the perfect guy to complement it with me.
Oh yeah, for sure. That sounds dope. I hope we hear that. I’m really excited to see if your vision comes to fruition. It’s one that I’d definitely ride with. Something soulful with real musicianship.
Well, I got a little bit of country in me also. Not to let too much out of the bag. But I’ve been trying to work on this country collab also. So that’s what I’m trying to say. I just got a track that’s called “Y’all Don’t Know Me”. That’s the point I’m trying to make, not only to Strange fans but to the world in general, if the album catches on. In my opinion it probably falls on deaf ears, but if it doesn’t, I want the people to know that pre-judging me, you’re so far off. You know nothing about me. So this album is going to come from a few directions.
Let us know in the comments.