Posted: Friday – July 31, 2009
I had a chance to talk to Big Syke, best known for his work with 2Pac. He opened up in our exclusive interview from how he met 2Pac to his upcoming female lounge gear clothing line, and even him and Pac’s craziest moments.
GW: It’s fair to say you have a lot of followers, and people know a lot about you, but your probably best known for your work with 2Pac?
Big Syke: Oh yeah without a doubt. (laughs)
GW: You pretty much started in 1990, with your group Evil Minded Gangstas?
Big Syke: Yeah, definitely (laughs)
GW: Where are you from?
Big Syke: Inglewood, Inglewood!
GW: Is that where you are residing now?
Big Syke: No, I’m little bit all over the place right now. Still in California, but a little all over the place.
GW: So you started in 1990 with your group, and where did it go from there?
Big Syke: Well after that I ran into Pac. After I had pressed up my album and got my little label going. I met 2Pac and he said he wanted to start this thing called Thug Life. And we went to the studio and did the first song called Thug Life and it was history from there on.
GW: How did you meet 2Pac?
Big Syke: I met him actually through a guy named Surge. Surge’s cousin Wattani was actually 2Pac’s manager at the time. And Surge brought him to the hood, my neighborhood ya know and we hooked up. Surge use to play on my music, so he (2Pac) liked my music so we started hangin’ out and after that we became friends and the next thing ya know we were on tour.
GW: So it all happened pretty fast then it sounds like?
Big Syke: Oh yea for sure, definitely.
GW: [You spent a lot of time touring with him], I read something really interesting saying that you were actually the artist featured most on all of Pac’s songs. So you guys had a really good relationship then?
Big Syke: Oh yea without a doubt. You know it was like a brotha relationship, ya know we argued and fight, but we still make up, ya know.
GW: When you met Pac, did you just dismiss the Evil Minded Gangstas or was that still something you were working on the side?
Big Syke: Well you know it’s crazy because I put my label to the side, I put the Evil Mind to the side, and I started doing the Thug Life tour and all the rest of it just kinda turned into Thug Life, and then it turned into the Outlaws, and here I am today. And that’s just kinda how it went, you know I didn’t plan on putting my label to the side cause I ended up signing with 2Pac, the first label he had Out Tha Gutta, and then after the Thug Life album he went to jail and we did the All Eyez On Me album and after the All Eyez On Me album I was going to be the first guy that was going to be signed to Mackavelli Records.
GW: And then it was around 1996 when your released your first solo album?
Big Syke: Exactly “Be Yo Self”! (Laughs)
GW: “Be Yo Self”
Big Syke: (Laughs) Yeah that was my first album “Be Yo Self’! My first solo project.
GW: You laugh, was that a good time for you or was it crazy?
Big Syke: Well was it was, I mean I still laugh at it till this day because the main thing I see in the music business is people not being my selves. You know when you start pulling off the sheets off some of these rappers, and [you know] they might be so called gangsta thug rappers, but you know they went to private schools and went to college, and you know that don’t really consist of being a real thug. Most of the thugs I know was in the penitentiary or dead. So the ones that are on the streets are still trying to find their way, ya know. So not trying to say you can’t be an educated thug, cause that’s more of what its movin’ into now a days, but ya know it’s just funny how the music business just embraced this whole thug thing and everybody turned into a thug and they don’t even what its really about.
GW: When you released that album it was under your own record label [right]?
Big Syke: Yeah, definitely.
GW: Is that record label still active today?
Big Syke: Oh yeah fo sho, we gotta keep ridin’ on em. It’s call Ridonem Records.
GW: Is that the label your currently under now?
Big Syke: Yeah definitely. I’ve actually been under that label since the Pac thing um, since the demise of the whole Pac thing. And then I just kept pushin’, started back over. Like right now I’m probably on my 6th or 7th solo album. So ya know its just, you gotta find em (laugh) you gotta find em.
GW: What’s the name of your new album?
Big Syke: The name of my new album is “Mr. Incredible” actually I’ve got two albums. One’s already finished called “Mosalini Outlaws” and now I have an album I’m working on with DJ Black and Jamin that’s called “Mr. Incredible”.
GW: When can we expect Mr. Incredible to be released?
Big Syke: Probably around November 2009.
GW: Are you currently touring for your new albums?
Big Syke: Most definitely, I’m on tour right now runnin’ around with WoodPower, that’s my new road dogs right there. WoodPower and Nickle. A young guy from my neighborhood that ya know I thought I’d give an opportunity to, like Pac gave me an opportunity to get out here and just see the world and see what the music business is really about. It’s not just about the studio, you got a lot business that you have to handle and has nothing to do with you writing a rap.
GW: With that said, what kind of advice would you give all the independents, that tend to forgot those important aspects of the music industry?
Big Syke: Well I would tell a person, you gotta look at it, even those its rap and people discard rap as not being business or not being ya know really a job they gotta look at it as being a career like if they was going to be a doctor. Doctors don’t just go in no operating room and cut open a body and start doin’ surgery. First of all if you can find somebody who’s in the business to give you the shots, then you got a person that can lead you through it, if you don’t then you just go pick up a book and read. Ya know when you do run into somebody or hit somebody on their Myspace, ask questions. See the problem is, it’s like when you were in school and you were afraid to raise your hand because you didn’t want to seem dumb now you better ask questions! You better ask questions, all the questions you can come up with ask em. Because that’s the only way your going to get the information that you need to know. I tell all artist’s that your better off starting your own label doing your own thing and let the companies come find you. Because if you look at it, it’s a millon rappers our there and six or seven of them got record deals, so most likely its not going to happen, unless you do what you have to do to make people see you, to make people notice you then you’ll get a record deal!
GW: That’s real, that’s solid advice. I noticed on your Myspace page, (Myspace.com/bigsyke01) that you kind of dabble in other things like film, writing scripts, fashion….
Big Syke: Oh yea, ya know to be a real entrepreneur you gotta diversify, you gotta put money in other places. Its about creating jobs for other people to, ya know being a rapper you got your little clique you drive with but if they don’t have a job then their going to be constantly asking you for money. So you have to create things that make people money. So I got a clothing company for females, well the clothing company I’m kickin’ off with, will be female lounge gear. Most rappers start off with the guy clothing but I decided on women’s clothing, because Syke love the ladies!
GW: Is your clothing line launched or it something that’s still in production?
Big Syke: Actually right now I’m getting all my samples together and I’m going to launch it off 2010, probably late 2009-2010.
GW: Is it going to be in stores or are you going to sale it online?
Big Syke: Well I’m looking to open up a store in Las Vegas, but most likely it will be online first.
GW: And what about your films, and writing scripts? I thought that was really cool.
Big Syke: Yeah, actually I wrote the script in about 2002-2003 and I took me a year to write, and it’s basically a inner city story about a young guy that wanted to change his life. It sounds basic but it’s the details that, ya know that most writers, unless you’ve been in the streets and hustled and that type of stuff can understand, and turn you in that direction. It can be one thing that can spin you off in the worst direction or a good direction, so that’s what the movie is kind of based on. It’s not really based on my life or nuttin, it’s just about a guy that who grew up in L.A. and got caught up in some things that wasn’t really beneficial to him.
GW: Is that something that your going to end up producing and/or directing yourself?
Big Syke: Exactly, that’s my motto, I wanted to be a rapper so how did I become a rapper? I went and spent my money and wrote my rhyme, paid for the studio, paid for producers. Like Jonny J, rest in peace, you know I was doing work with Jonny J before he ever met 2Pac, that guy that produce “How Do You Want It” , “Picture Me Rollin’” most of the songs I was on with Pac, was produced by Jonny J. When you start, and you want to be something you spend your own money, you wanna actress, spend your own money go to school learn your craft, you wanna be a producer, produce! Put up the money, to do the things that you have to do to get the job done. I always say “Get it in the cannon you the man.” Once you get it in the cannon, you can, people take you more seriously then just talkin’. I don’t like people just talkin’ about what their going to do, do it and then tell me about it.
GW: There was something else that I wanted to mention, and I thought it was kind of interesting, I read that one of your old nick names was Lil Pyscho.
Big Syke: (Laughing) You know that was just me as a young guy. Ya know my mom’s and my pa’s are still together. I was raised by good parents that gave me good morals but you know I always tell people, it’s not what goes on inside the house that makes the thugs and the street guys, its what goes on in the streets. So my mom’s been rasin’ me right but my environment, and it was all my choices, it was all my bad decisions, but they made me who I am today. When you out in the streets you do things that you know ain’t right, so it just gradually pulled me into a direction that had me tryin’ to prove myself to people. So Lil’Pyscho was just me runnin around acting crazy, acting stupid. Because the thing about the inner city guys is that we and I don’t mean we anymore, we look up to the guys that actually act the dumbest. You know we look up to guys who go to jail and spend the rest of their life and when they get out its like a party, we throwin’ parties for them. For number one I tell them, you got caught! So you should not be getting no credit for that. So its like we lookin up to guys that don’t really deserve to be looked up to, and that’s what a Lil’ Pyscho is, lookin up to guys that don’t really deserve to be looked up to.
GW: What changed your state of mind? What made you say these guys don’t deserve to be looked up to?
Big Syke: Well it took me until I got older, but it was really my parents, and my moms. I did a year in jail when I was 15 years old, and that was the worst time in my life. Because I realized that my parents are the only people that care about me, my family. My friends didn’t write me, um, I called them and their goin out partin’ and they didn’t take time out to write me a letter, ya know it was just a reality check of who really loves you.
GW: So it was kind of like a kick in the ass, the people that you thought were your friends weren’t.
Big Syke: Exactly. But you get out of jail and you go right back where you came from, and it was like you never left. So you find yourself back in the same things, but like I said the music was the best thing that happened to me but I can actually say if it wasn’t for me making the decisions to get into the music, and to spend my money on the music; I had my so-called best friends telling me you ain’t no rapper, and until this day their like some of my biggest fans. What would you be without a hater, if it wasn’t for the haters, most guys wouldn’t be who they is. It’s the non-believers.
GW: A lot of artist’s use their music as a sort of outlet to get their emotions and thoughts out, is that how it was for you?
Big Syke: Well it was definitely that, but it turned into that later. It started off as me just tryin’ to get out of the situation I was in. I call it the “Elimatenin’ Goin’ To Jail Factor” you gotta get that out of your life (Laughing). That walkin’ in the fence type thing, I didn’t want to go back to jail to hurt my parents, and my family, and the people that love me. Because I know that would hurt them more than it would hurt me, because I can deal with it, but my parents I didn’t want to put them through that can so I had to find something. And that the time you know it was the Eazy-E started his label, then you got the Run DMC’s and the Public Enemies and all these guys comin’ out, and I’m sayin to myself I like that, I like what their sayin’ even though at the time you know NWA, you listen to their music now and its like it was shocking back then but now its like that ain’t nothing, their weren’t really sayin nothing, but it was a big impact. But my thing was the Public Enemy I loved them, how they was talkin’ and then I loved the NWA because I related to on the street type thing and it was just a combination of the two that pulled me into my direction. But I didn’t start off sayin’ I wanna be a poet, that was later when I got with Pac. And when I got with 2Pac he really gave me, he kinda cemented what my mission should be, and it’s not just about me, and its not just about black people, its about human beings. Pac got more love probably for other races then he do for his own race. So it’s not about the race to me, as I grow I learn. I’m doin a tour with Wood Power, their white guys people think would think that they would be skin heads when you look at them, they not ya know. They not, they just white guys that, their white thugs who just as hard as the black guys. And that’s where I’m at now, I feel like my journey is now to get all the races together, and lets move in a direction and lets represent what we represent.
GW: What was the craziest thing that you and 2Pac ever did?
Big Syke: Um, most the stuff I probably can’t say (laughing) ah, oh I got one but I can’t say it (laughing). Let me just say this, we did a lot of things that I knew better, ya feel what I’m sayin. And I promise to you, in this day an age if a rapper tried to do half the stuff we did they not goin’ make it! (laughing) It was just by the blessings of god that we got through some of the things that we got through. I mean it was like, we were fighin’ everywhere we went. And I was always the guy tryin’ to keep the peace, ya know cause when you put your hands on the man it can go anywhere, he could pull out his gun and do what he wanted to do or pull out a knife or whatever or call the police or whatever it may be when your out runnin’ around livin’ this lifestyle, it was like trouble was following us everywhere we went trouble was following us. So it was a lot of things, good things and bad thing that went on.
GW: Was trouble following you because you guys brought it or was it just bad luck?
Big Syke: It was a combination of a lot of things, jealous, it’s a combination of, ok its like this.. That rap that we rap is the thug type rap, street rap so who’s going to come to the shows but the street guys. You attract the crowd that you rap to, your going to get those stragglers on the outside but mostly your going to get those, like I said fresh out of the penitentiary guys, ya know the guys that feel like they don’t really have anything to life for, so when you put all these type of guys in one place your going to constantly run into some situations when they don’t believe you. Because cats wouldn’t believe Pac when he first came out. They wouldn’t believe in that thug life and all that, sometime you had to some them that you were really wit it. And that was basically the foundation of what took him to the top of where he is today.
GW: If 2Pac was still doing his thing today, what would you guys be doing? Would you guys still be working together?
Big Syke: I know definitely we’d be on some solo things, but I would hope that we would still be doing the Thug Life. But right now I imagine if he was here would be the number one campaigner for Obama. You think that the rest of these guys; a lot of these guys jumped on the bandwagon later and I ain’t gonna say no names cause they were going for some other people. But after they seen the momentum that Obama got they start jumpin’ on the bandwagon. Cause nobody ever thought it would happen. It wasn’t black people that put Obama in the White House, and that’s why I say it goes back to this forget the color. They normally say black, brown and white, and there are so many colors under the rainbow and that’s what it was all about to me and that’s what the change is all about. It’s about forgettin about your races, forgettin about your gangs, forgettin about all this other stuff and lets move as human beings in the direction that can only bless and help the future.
GW: There has been a lot said about 2Pac and the Thug Life and what happened with that, and people always have something to say about what they think really went down. Is there anything that you want to say to clear the air about rumors or what certain people have said?
Big Syke: I’m going to say never believe what somebody says about people when they wasn’t there. Because it’s so much talk, even with me and I’ve been accused of things in this business that I know I wouldn’t of did and I know I didn’t do. It’s just crazy about how the media will take something, and especially that guys that were on the outside looking in and swear up and down that they were in the inside of our clique. They write books, ya know they want to write scripts, they want to do all this stuff when in reality you weren’t even a part of what we were doing, but you make it seem like you was.
GW: And you won’t give examples? (Laughing)
Big Syke: I heard a couple of things that is suppose to hit the air waves in a minute about me and I’m just waiting for it to come and I’m gonna bust these cats out! I’m going to be their worst enemy, because I’m going to expose them, because I am who I am. And it’s sad because people use Pac like a McDonalds, he’s just like a Big Mac getting changed around day and night, ya know takin’ the sauce off him, put some mo lettuce put some extra pickles, they did so much to Pac that its ridiculous. So I sit back and I watch especially the guys who was so called around him and most of the guys doin’ that weren’t around fifteen minutes! But they can write three or four books and they can do all this stuff and its like homie you weren’t even around. You have to see that half these cats are just tryin’ to get paid off the big man. And that’s the sad part.
GW: What do you think Pac would have to say about these things that people are putting out there about him?
Big Syke: Ok, I’m going to tell you something this is what I think. I think number one he would be hot and expose the ones that are doing it for the wrong reasons. He became a commodity that anyone could make money, you make a t-shirt with him on it you make money. That part it good because your opening up the a door for a lot of people that eat off him. It’s like Bob Marley or Elvis, people can eat off them for the rest of their life if they keep comin up with stuff, because they know people want to wear 2Pac t-shirts, want to read a 2Pac book. But they don’t have enough information about him. It’s like with Michael Jackson, come on now! It’s just like the storm goin’ on with him. I was watchin’ the news the other day and some lady was like I’m this to Michael, and I’m like you just comin out of the woodwork because the man died and you want to come up and tell your story! Come on man! Come on! What kills me is that people don’t see this. If you have something to say number one give me information that is true and two give me information that will help me if I want to know more about this person. Give me that information not the flaws in him, I don’t want to know all that. Because Michael is a perfect example of how they hate the hell out of you while you’re here and now your gone and everybody in love with you. Sayin’ you weren’t shit, that you ain’t ever gonna make it, that you crazy, you weird. But one thing that I can say is that I was talking to my friend the other day and he was like, Michael was crazy for spending all this money, and I was check this out that was Mike’s life and look he ain’t here now he don’t give a damn now about what he spent, its good he spent all that money! Because who was gonna get it?
GW: It was great talking to you Syke and we can’t wait to hear from you again when your album drops later this year.
Big Syke: Fo sho Part 2 of this interview later!!!