If you know anything about the next level world of the mixtape, youve heard about Big Mike. Because of his hands-on grind, hes become an award winning tastemaker in the mixtape bazaar and garnered worldwide fanfare. With a catalog catering to the listening needs of the streets coupled with his D-Block affiliation, he has all the creditability he needs to take his dreams to the highest heights. This past week, Big Mike joined New Yorks Power 105.1 FM to spread his tastemaker touch to the tuner.
While other DJs litter their mixtapes with recycled verses, DJ Big Mike prides himself in putting out exclusive songs from premier signed or unsigned artists. Even through over saturation, week in and week out he ushers in a new mixtape as to never drift off into the mixtape abyss. His biggest work to date is The Champ Is Here mixtape he and DJ Green Lantern did with Jadakiss. On his way to film MTVs Direct Effect, DJ Big Mike takes the time to share with AllHipHop.com whats next for him and why he doesnt issue his stamp of approval for just anyone.
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been in the game?
Big Mike: Ive been making tapes since about 2000, and DJing since about 94, so Ive been doing this for about twelve years.
AllHipHop.com: Youre a real DJ, not one of those Mp3 DJs, thats cool. Do you remember the first album you messed up learning to scratch?
AllHipHop.com: Thats the one thing people fail to realize about mixtape DJs, they think we are not real DJs. I came out under the tutelage of famous New York DJs like DJ S&S, and you know hes toured all over the world. One of the albums I used to practice scratching on was Lords of the Underground Funk Child twelve-inch. I had a friend I went to school with who was a DJ and I was an aspiring DJ, so when he would go upstairs to take a phone call or something, I would practice scratching on his albums and mess them up.
AllHipHop.com: How did you get into the Mixtape DJ circuit?
Big Mike: You know, I have always been a fan a mixtapes, but I live in Connecticut so it was a little harder for me. I would always go to New York to places like Brooklyn, Jamaica Queens, or whatever to go buy clothes with my dudes---I would pick up tapes, but they would have the songs everyone else had not the exclusives. I found out the guys who were getting the exclusive that werent being serviced were getting them on the Internet; I hooked up with this kid who was pulling them off the internet and started putting my tapes out like every week with exclusives. From there, I kept grinding and it led me to working with the big dogs like the D-Blocks and the G-Units.
AllHipHop.com: USA Today recently gave DJ Clue for taking the mixtape scene to a major level. Would you agree?
Big Mike: Most definitely. Back in the day, Clue would be the one to have all the exclusives and I was like, I want my tapes to be like that. Absolutely gotta big up DJ Clue.
AllHipHop.com: You won the Justo Mixtape Award for Best Hip-Hop Mixtape DJ of 2005. What did you do to set yourself apart to be nominated and ultimately win?
Big Mike: I actually won three [awards] last year. I won Best Duo with my man Green Lantern for the Jada Kiss joint The Champ is Here. We also won The Mixtape of the Year Award for that joint too. What set me apart is just the grind, have a tape out every week you cant front on that.
AllHipHop.com: With you churning out these tapes every week, how do collaborations with these artists happen with you and the artists having such hectic schedules?
Big Mike: Sometimes its hands-on. But with my schedule being hectic, and an artists schedule even more hectic with touring and prior commitments, even if they dont do something specific for me, Ill always have something new from an artist. Theyll call me and let me know they have this or that artist for me and theyll send or email the songs to me. If Im calling, they know its for good reason, they know I need something, lets go!
AllHipHop.com: How did you hook up with D-Block?
Big Mike: My man Supa Mario is the manager over there, he kept his ear to streets and seen the moves I was making. He just called me and was like, When you dropping? Let us know, and well have something ready for you. Those D-Block boys, The Lox, they are some of the realest cats I know, just really down to earth, easy to get along with, I just gravitated towards them. As a group, they are my favorite rappers, and Jada Kiss is my favorite rapper, period. Contractually, no, I am not signed to D-Block, but they dominate most of my CDs. I show that love because I am really blessed to be working with them.
AllHipHop.com: Jada Kiss hands down is truly a great artist. Do you think because he stays true to who he is and dares to say things others wont is why he hasnt attained the major success he is due?
Big Mike: I think he hasnt been in the right situation where he could hook up with a Dr. Dre or something like that. If that were to happen, the skys the limit for him. One thing about The Lox is they are not a gimmick, these dudes really spit; theres a reason they were on all the Kay Slay tapes back in the day, or on all the Big Mike tapes now, those guys are the underground champions. No one over there is going to sell themselves/souls for that; until the right situation comes along, theyll be the underground champs.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about this big deal you just landed?
Big Mike: I have a lot of deals in the works right now. I just landed a nice deal with Zingy Ringtones, where Ill have a world wide mobile mixtape. Every month, youll have your boy Big Mikes Hot Picks. Youll be able to punch in this text code, and download whichever signed or unsigned artist I choose and its just going to be a worldwide thing like that. Besides that, I am always on the road with The Lox, always working, having tapes coming out and a lot of big projects coming. My album deal is almost done, but I dont want to speak on that until the ink is dry. I got a lot of big things going on definitely.
AllHipHop.com: What is your take on Papoose? He is killing the game out in New York right now...
Big Mike: Hes Kay Slays artist, and he is just grinding and doing his thing right now. Hes been doing his thing on the underground for awhile now, and has a lot people looking at him. I know hes gonna kick down the door real soon. His name is really buzzin right now and he started from the ground up and the kid really spits. Big shout out to him.
AllHipHop.com: Anybody else you want to acknowledge for making moves?
Big Mike: I am doing some work with Corey Gunz, Peter Gunz son, hes blazin in the streets. Murder Mook, hes coming out in a minute you may have seen him in all the Smack DVDs, we have a tape coming out. I cant forget my man J-Hood from D-Block his album will finally be in stores this year and Team Arliss which also with D-Block. You know Im not selective about who I work with all like that but I feel my cosign is very valuable; I dont just throw it out there like that.