Big Chill

23 June 2010

[ ] : Who is Big Chill? Tell us a bit about yourself and the place you are from.

[ Big Chill ] : Big Chill is Young Chill aka Chill but if we're going way back it's Chilli D. I had that name since the 80s as a kid. Everybody that did a little bit of break dancing back then had a nick name. I didn't wanna be a "Grandmaster D" or "Fresh D", 'cause everybody had that, so I came up with Chilli D. I'm from Modesto, this place is just one big mixing pot of everything around us. We got our Crips and Bloods, Bay Area wannabes, Jerkers and everything else that don't belong to us hahahaaa.

[ ] : What were your beginnings as far as rap is concerned?

[ Big Chill ] : I got a reputation by doing "mixtapes" before the mixtape thing blew up. This was back in 1990/92. I used to go to the mall and buy singles tapes and use the instrumentals. The homie Rhett Dogg used to take my tapes around and show people. I wasn't really into rapping, but I've seen how my friends reacted bobbing their heads and digging it and then the females was hollering at me, because I was a "rapper". It was on ever since then lol. The feeling you get when people dig your music is priceless. It was my drug, I couldn't quit, I had to get more love, more fame, more females! lol

[ ] : Who influenced you to spit rhymes?

[ Big Chill ] : Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Ice Cube, Houdini, E-40, Too Short and some of my homies in the hood that was rapping before me: Blakk, Alley Cat, Teelee, Alexander the Mac.

[ ] : What's up with Big House?

[ Big Chill ] : As a rap group that's long gone. My cousin Troy aka Crazy T is in church now and my cousin Mike aka Smoke lives out of state. But as a family we still here. My family was always known as the Big House, 'cause we lived on the biggest house on Oak St. We was the most craziest lowdown broke family in Modesto. Just put it like this, we was the black version of trailer trash that live in a big house. My family came from the dirty south to Modesto in the 70s so we looked like a southern family that lived in California. We made it a rap group and made it cool to be from the Big House. People that didn't even like us back then was reppin' BIGHOUSE because of what we were doing with the music.

[ ] : Could you summarize your discography and briefly describe each project prior to 2010?

[ Big Chill ] :
Big House - "Westside Ridaz" (1996) - that was an EP we put out to test the water.
Big House - "Westside Most Hated" (1997) - that was our actual album. The crazy thing is, when that album came out me and my cousin Troy was in jail. My brother Duce got a hold of the masters and put it out while we were in jail.
Young Chill - "Mogame 4 lyfe" (1998) - this was my first solo album right after I got out of jail and my brother and I opened up a music store and a record label called Mogame Entertainment.
Young Chill - "Valleyreport" (2002) - this was right after Mogame Entertainment went under and I had to keep it moving to prove to myself that I can still do it.
Big Chill - "Valleyreport 2" (2003) - after the good responses of "VR" part 1, I thought it was only right to give them a part 2! Those where all pressed up as hard copies.
Big Chill - "Valleyfornia" (2004) - I wanted to keep the "Valley" name in it like my last two albums and since a lot of rappers name every city and town in Cali except us I made the Valley its own State lol.
"Valleys Most Wanted" (2007) - once again keeping the Valley in it and showcase some of my homies.
2Pac - "Still Against The World" (2007) - That was something that just happened. At first I was just hearing what 2Pac would sound like over my beats and all of a sudden it turned into a full album. One song turned into two and two to four and so on. I was sick of hearing those Pac album people was putting out, so I just went ahead and made one with some West Coast beats on it.
XL Middleton and Big Chill - "2009" (2007) - that album was called really "2009", because I wanted to celebrate the year 2009 as in "209" - that's my area code. I always rep the Valley 209, because there are not too many rappers doing it and when I do hear something it's some hip-hop backpack type shit.
Big Chill - "Robot Chicken" (2008) - that album is just BANANAS! I wanted to make the most random style album ever. I wanted to step out my zone and do something new. I got kinda tired of hearing so much hardcore, hyphy, everybody is a gangsta, crunk, mean mugging music, so I went total left with that album. I love that album and I think it's ahead of its time. You will not hear an album like that until 2070 lol.
"Duce O Nine" (2009) - that was a project me and my homie Alleycat started, but Alleycat went off to do truck driving, so I was left to finish it. He used to bring the homies he wanted on the album over and I would make the beats and record them. I finished the album and put it out.

[ ] : How would you describe your style? What distinguishes you from other contemporary rap artists?

[ Big Chill ] : My style is I have no style. I do what I want to when I want to. You'll never know how I'm going to rap next. I like to keep it exciting and make people wonder what I'm going to do next as far as styles go. I don't put a tag on me, 'cause that's how rappers play out. Rappers these days are too busy trying to come up with a gimmick that they hope will catch on, so they can quickly cash out, 'cause they don't give a damn about hip-hop in the first place. That's why we have more rappers and less legends these days. I love hip-hop and when all said and done I want to be the face of Modesto when people think of rap in the Valley. I'm going for legend status, not a quick cash out.

[ ] : Why did you decide to go strictly digital with your albums?

[ Big Chill ] : I wanted to gain a fan base on the Internet. The Internet has a lot of people willing to buy good music, but they will not take a chance on a rapper they never heard before. Let me point out that I am one of the first artists to give away albums for free on the Internet, the same way rappers are doing now. It worked, 'cause people listened to it and was looking forward to another album and was willing to pay for it. I looked at it as paying my dues first. Not just being a pop out of nowhere ass rapper with a album for sale. A real artist can make what they know best at anytime, so giving away albums to me was nothing, 'cause I knew I can make more.

[ ] : The year of 2010 finally brought your debut pressed solo "Chill Pill". What made you move from digitals to regular albums?

[ Big Chill ] : It was time. I paid my dues and now it was time to reap the benefits of paying dues and see what a pressed album can do. I got a cool fan base and people knew who I was, so I felt I was ready to go to the next step.

[ ] : What does the title mean - "chill pill"?

[ Big Chill ] : Chill pill means get in my zone, feel what I feel and see what I see. My music takes you to my world like a drug does. When you hear my music I try to make you vision different things that you normally don't vision in rap songs these days. Chill pill is a pill you can pop into a cd player and zone out.

[ ] : What do you think about current northern Cali rap scene? Do you miss the 90's era music?

[ Big Chill ] : Right now northern Cali rap scene looks like we still trying to rebuild from the aftermath of a disaster. After the fall of the gangster era things didn't look to bring for us, 'cause 95% of what was going on was gangsta music. It's getting better, but it still needs a lot of work. Hell yea I miss the 90s era music, but I really miss the production. That was the West Coast strong point. That's what we need to bring back. Leave all the unnecessary stuff behind and bring back the crazy bass lines.

[ ] : Did artists change or is it the fan base that's craving for the new sound? Are late 80's / early 90's babies in general looking for something different than older fans?

[ Big Chill ] : West Coast rappers felt they needed to step their bars up, but in the process of doing that they step their content and creativity down. Too much trying to be the next Chino XL or Jadakiss going on and not enough Ice Cubes or Slick Ricks. We need variety on the front lines not just a bunch of lyrical bars and punchlines. And with these youngsters it's not that they're looking for something new, it's that they are forced to listen to something new. Kids these days don't even like what's going on with rap music, but it's the only form of music that they can relate to.

[ ] : How's "Chill Pill" doing? Are you generally happy with the acclaim?

[ Big Chill ] : The response from "Chill Pill" is really good. I'm very happy with the way the album is selling and the word I'm getting back from that album is what makes me keep going. It feels like I'm back, but I never left hahaaa. I haven't pressed up a cd in a long time, so I guess I am back street wise, 'cause I've been on the net giving away albums. So I guess you can say "Chill Pill" is my comeback album, 'cause the streets love it. From the youngsters to the older folks, they all like the album. I feel like I brought two generations together with it. So I'm proud of that.

[ ] : Do you get support from radios / other local media? Or is it mostly word of mouth and Internet that spreads news about your endeavors?

[ Big Chill ] : Word of mouth and the Internet is what got my buzz going, but I just sent a song to the local radio stations out here, so hopefully they play my music so I can get some fans that never heard of me yet.

[ ] : You have just pressed your older material. Please elaborate on it.

[ Big Chill ] : After "Chill Pill" came out people started asking me if I had any more albums out. These are the people that don't know how to download albums or even really know how to work the Internet, so I pressed up my older stuff for them. So now they are listening to my stuff that I did years ago, but to them it's brand new. I'm just putting people up to speed of what I've been doing in the last few years. I got homies telling me "ay chill, your album "Valleyfornia" is tight!" hahahaaaaa. I got 5 albums that came out within the last month floating around right now, so as soon as they think they heard a new Big Chill album... BAM! Here is another Big Chill album you haven't heard yet. And it's for those that like hard copies rather than a download.

[ ] : Who is TommyJames?

[ Big Chill ] : TommyJames is somebody I created to keep entertained. I've been on that site so long it started to get boring being Big Chill - the serious face guy with albums for free. That was fun, 'cause I used to mess with people and had them willing to pay cash for people to find out who I was and where I lived. I never let TommyJames show props to Big Chill or the other way, 'cause that would have been creepy to talk to myself hahahaaa. So I let TJ stay in his lane and BC in his. I had fun playing TommyJames, 'cause it made siccness crack again. I had people coming back to the site just to see who I was going to roast next. I had well known rappers showing me love, 'cause they was scared of the wrath of TommyJames. And just when they thought it was over I hit them with the TommyJames mixtape. It was getting out of hand, 'cause fools really wanted my head and I ain't no punk, so before it got ugly I'd better tell these dudes who TJ is. I exposed myself rather than somebody else doing it, 'cause when somebody else does it, it's not a good look. I had to let it be known, 'cause the fame and hate was at that time high and it wasn't nowhere else to go but down hahaha. I could have started a TommyJames Internet church and people would have come and praised TJ hahaha.

[ ] : In the review of "Chill Pill" wrote that you are "the most active Modesto representative nowadays". What's up with Mo-Town's music scene?

[ Big Chill ] : It is a lot of rappers in Modesto, but most of them are on that Wu-Tang backpack hip-hop stuff. If not that, dirty south, jerking or too busy trying to follow the Bay Area. Most of them don't know how to keep it them, they're trying to be like whatever is popular. They take the easy route, follow a trend and go with the flow rather than create something brand new and test the waters. Don't get me wrong, it's some good rappers out here, but most of them are straight up trend followers. That's why most of my albums have only a few of my homies on them. I don't really deal with rappers outside of my circle unless he has talent and not a trend follower.

[ ] : What are your future plans, Chill?

[ Big Chill ] : I'm trying to get to TEN ALBUMS and one DVD. Right now I'm at 7 albums with 2 in the making. My last solo album will make it 10 albums then The Documentary DVD to say goodbye to rap, then I'm out. I'm going to sit back and let the youngstas have this rap stuff. BC Ent. is me, so I'm going to be behind the scenes helping out those who want to be helped in this music stuff.

[ ] : Thank you for your time bro.

[ Big Chill ] : Thank you for the interview. I appreciate it when people recognize and reach out to those trying to make something of themselves. So thank you BayUndaground! Keep up the good work.

Be sure to check Big Chill's music on his bandcamp page as well as on his MySpace profile.