Q&A With Veteran New Jersey Based Hip Hop Artist Big Stacks
Please tell us what exact area code you represent? How long have you been making music? How did you come up with your emcee name?
I represent 732 (Franklin Township, New Jersey), but I am originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. I have been making hip-hop music since the mid-80s. My emcee name is also my producer name, and Big Stacks represents that volumes of vinyl records I have collected during my lifetime. I am an avid record collector across many genres, which comes across in the variety of sample sources in my production.
What influenced you to become a Hip Hop artist? What were the main factors that got you into, quote on quote, “Underground Hip Hop”?!
I became a hip-hop artist as a natural progression from being a drummer, and later on, a DJ. I started out on the beat tip by making pause-button beat tapes using a cassette player. My interest in underground hip-hop started from being a fan of hip-hop music in general. I was drawn to the more ‘underground’ acts back in the day such as Mantronix, The Ultramagnetic MCs, Tuff Crew, BDP, The Juice Crew, etc. during my early days because I like that raw, gritty sound. Those artists had a big influence on my overall sound.
How important is it for you to stay ORIGINAL? How would you describe your style? You produced too, right!?
It’s most important for me to stay original because I’m from the era where bitin’ was illegal. I would describe my style as gritty hip-hop with lyrics and substance. The beats should move the listener and be complemented with rhymes that tickle the mind. As a piece of my legacy, I want my music to say something meaningful. All too often these days, my people are bombarded with self-degrading musical content and negativity that tears us down. If I am given a platform where people are listening, then it is my duty to feed their minds and souls. Yes, I produced the album as well, and admittedly, that is my primary thing, though I have dropped ‘cameo’ verses on other artists’ projects for years.
Tell us about the creative process for your new album “Never Favored”!
Typically, I made the beats first and based the lyrical concepts on the music. The exceptions to that are “Man Up”, “Old Heads” (featuring Godxilla & Nite Tyme), “Glad You Came My Way (For Toni)”, and “Poisonous Bars” (featuring Big Ghate & Soma from Greed’s Ultimate Nemesis). I didn’t have beats that fit the sound I wanted for those four songs, so I made them from scratch. Also, I played additional musical tracks live into the recordings, which gives the album a very organic feel (i.e., not all music tracks on each song were pre-produced). Also, I did all the cuts and singing on the album, often coming up with cuts and hooks on the fly.
In 2019, who will be on your personal music rotation playlist!? Any new artists you are listening to?
In my rotation for 2019, I’ll likely be listening the Dirty Ol’ Men (and related projects), Conway, Westside Gunn, Benny, Roc Marciano, Diamond D’s new project, Pete Rock and Skyzoo’s new project, Kev Brown, and a bunch of others. Regarding new artists, I have to catch some since I was on a hiatus working on my album. Some new cats I’ve heard that I’m diggin’ include The Real Skitso, King Mad1One, Halph Breed, and Squad LaRock, off top. Some of these artists aren’t necessarily ‘new’, just not household names yet they have great hip-hop music.
Any new projects and videos you are working on? Planning on a tour anytime soon?
I am working on a beat tape, the follow-up to “The Balance of Power” album with my emcee Nite Tyme, and doing some remix work for a reggae artist named King Ayoola, so I have a lot of production work on my plate. As of now, I have no plans for touring though I am open to performing at some regional shows.
Your TOP 5 Dead Or Alive??!!
In no particular order, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Kool G. Rap, Nas, and Pharoah Monche
Your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?
It is a raw, gritty hip-hop that’s straight from the heart.
Drop all your music and social media links!
Any shout outs!?
Shouts out to God, my wife, mother, father (RIP), brother (RIP), my neighbor Kev and his family, the guest emcees on the album (Godxilla, Nite Tyme, Big Ghate & Soma from Greed’s Ultimate Nemesis, and Phill Most Chill), Dirty Ol’ Men crew, all the emcees that I’ve produced, all my fans and supporters, and haters for making me stronger. Peace!!!