Residing in Columbus, Georgia is an emcee who is determined to leave a legacy on the Hip-Hop world. Big D, who firmly believes in aspiration and thinking big has been relentlessly putting in work, which has resulted in the rapper creating quite a buzz.
Growing up Big D was inspired by artists such as Ice Cube, Outkast and 8Ball and during this exclusive Yo! Raps interview he documents his musical journey, the importance of branding as well as his opinion on the current crop of young rappers today.
Be sure to luck out for Bid D's new mixtape dropping in June titled Grind.Ambition.Success, hosted by DJ Teknikz.
For any of our readers in Europe who are unfamiliar with your music yet, please introduce yourself?
What’s up! My name is ImYaBoyBigD, South Of Atlanta Entertainment artist. I represent GA. I believe in hard work and progressive thinking. Grind plus ambition equals success! Think Big!
Talk about your rap moniker, what inspired you to name yourself Big D?
Big D is a childhood neighborhood name. I was born Darrius Lakes, but while playing sports and running the streets of my hometown of Columbus, GA. it just stuck as I grew. As I got older and triumphed different situations the name began to mean more than I ever could imagine. Big D began to mean provider, leader, even role model, not just Darrius. It’s becoming a household name.
Growing up, who were your musical influences and why?
Growing up I was a crazy rap music fan. My stepdad had an old Buick Regal that seemed to be like the "Holy Grail" for late 80s, early 90s Hip-Hop music. Everything was in there. I listened to 8Ball & MJG, Slick Rick, Ice Cube, Tupac, Biggie, Method and Redman, Outkast, and Too Short. I could sit there and go through the cassettes for hours. It was just so fun. It was the stories that they told that kept me entertained. The detail was crazy in records of that time. I was mesmerized by the lifestyle.
The XXL Freshman class of 2012 was revealed recently, what do you make of this year’s list?
I'm definitely rocking with the magazine and the list. Even before it dropped I was a major fan of a few artists on the list. Not even the music they made, but by the different ways they were business savvy and trendy enough to capitalize off of their situations and the humanity that they have shown. For instance, Future emerged from the shadows after years of hard work to become arguably the hottest artist in the streets of America, simply thru a well-timed flood of the market! MGK, Don Trip, and French Montana had me as a fan in early-mid 2011 because I’m just a big fan of underground music. The cult-like following MGK has is amazing, Don Trip can tell a hell of a story, and French Montana… well, lets just say I know they Stay Schemin.
What inspired you to start up your own record label S.O.A Ent.?
Well really, SOA Entertainment was started by Ol Blac Blu and Pooh as a platform for me, as well as the rest of our artists to display our talents. However, in our years of never stopping dedication we have promoted club nights, concerts, and many charity events while still making progress with the music side of our company. I’m really hands on with all of my projects, so going and staying independent seems perfect.
You are clearly business minded from the work you have done promoting as well as working with other artists. How important is it for an artist to build a brand in today’s music industry?
Branding is everything. It’s not what you say anymore, it’s how you say it. It’s not what you do anymore, it’s more about how it was done. Your beliefs, goals, and success all determine your branding. The best brands are built when artist simply be themselves. Fans know what’s authentic and what’s not. That’s why I strive to be me! A "Big D" that learns more and gets better everyday.
As you are the owner of a label, what advice would you give to any up and coming rappers?
As much as we like to be completely hands on with every project, you have to take the time to delegate. At the end of the day it takes a team. Channel your energy into being a great leader, not just with decision making, but by also being someone that people want to follow. Also don't be afraid to invest in yourself. If you're not willing to, who will be?
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in the music industry thus far?
I couldn't really say one individual thing. But overall, just the level of professionalism and dedication that I have used to gain my buzz. I love doing interviews, talking to fans, shooting videos, and definitely recording music. Life is great. My greatest accomplishment is knowing that I've created a situation for myself, that with hard work, only gets better.
I get the impression you have a relentless work ethic, what drives you to succeed?
My family, my close friends. My own burning desire for more! We have all made sacrifices to make this happen, whether it was financially, or missing time away from home. We all have done it. So to know that so many people would be willing to be part of the push takes my breath away. Failure is not an option.
Tell us what you are currently working on and what can we expect from you in the near future?
My next project is Grind.Ambition.Success. It’s a mixtape set to drop in June, hosted by DJ Teknikz. It’s definitely a banger! It’s well rounded with music for the club, the car, and definitely the ladies! A few tracks to look out for are G.A.S, Tonight ft. Jose Guapo, and my artist Smokey Bear, and an easy listening track for my stoners by the name of Irene.
If you could collab with three musicians from any genre dead or alive, who would it be and why?
If I could collab with any musicians dead or alive I would do one with Bob Marley because his music was so soulful and rhythmic and because we share a birthday. Next would be the Notorious B.I.G. because he is definitely one of the best storytellers of all time. Besides, there has never been a big guy since him, before me, with such swagger and immaculate taste. That record would be crazy and last but not least Michael Jackson. This man’s understanding of melody, and music is outstanding. His voice was phenomenal. I just know that with some verses from me and a chorus from Mike, it would be amazing music.
What would you like your legacy to be on the world of Hip-Hop?
I would want my legacy to be that I made timeless music. I want to touch on topics and situations that would ring true to the listener’s heart 30 minutes from the listen, 30 days from the listen, even 30 years later. To me that’s the best music.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
I would like to tell the readers and visitors of Yo! Raps, thanks for the continued support. Grind.Ambition.Success will be monumental, and think Big!
Check me out on www.facebook.Com/ImYaBoyBigD, www.twitter.com/ImYaBoyBigD, and Instagram @ImYaBoyBigD.
- By J David