Big Shug - conducted by Todd Davis  

Big Shug: Second Time Around

July 2007

MVRemix: Tell me how your moniker, Big Shug, originally came to fruition…

Big Shug: Actually, when I was younger I used to play football. I was one of the top recruits from my area in the country for playing football. Before me, there was a guy, years before me, there was a guy who played for the (New England) Patriots. His name was (Ray) 'Sugar Bear' Hamilton, and I played that nose guard position, and linebacker and fullback, and I just took on that moniker 'Sugar Bear.' It stuck with me. As I grew older, and stronger and bigger, people used to call me Shug, because it was sort of like Thor. Thor was, like, he used to smash the hammers together, and they'd just feel Thor is so powerful, so they used to just call me Shug in the same manner. So, it just basically stuck with me. And then, it also has a meaning which is S.trictly H.ardcore U.nderground G.ame, and also S.uper H.uman U.nderground G.angsta. So, those are just a couple of things that it means, but that's where it was (first) derived from -- Shug is like similar to Thor.

MVRemix: Do you have any other future aspirations, maybe even completely outside of music altogether?

Big Shug: Well, you know, I coach, so I've always loved being involved in that. I coach my sons in basketball and football, and I coached my nephew and my niece (as well). My nephew is now going to Boston College next year on a four year football scholarship, so that's a real good thing. I also do a radio show [Live from HeadQCourterz] on Sirius Satellite (Radio) on Friday nights. I've (also) done some voice-over work, (so) we got some things in the works with that. And, probably, some acting or something at some point (too). So, there's quite a few (things). I mean, although I've been around with Gang Starr for many years, it's basically just begun (for me). So, now that I'm able to control my own ship, so to speak, I'll make a lot of things happen.

MVRemix: Would it be fair to say that you are happy with the current state of Hip-Hop music?

Big Shug: Here's the problem…Everybody wants to say Hip-Hop. But, Hip-Hop itself, on what it is, right, there's never a problem in Hip-Hop. What people classify to be Hip-Hop, this rap and different Pop stuff, and all of that, that's not (real) Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop, itself, doesn't have a problem. But, if people stay more to the core of Hip-Hop, then things will be alright. So, I'm not really…I am glad of the exposure that it gets, I'm not unhappy (about that). Media is what it is. They're gonna play what's read to them, and people, after you play something over and over, people get brainwashed, and they really don't know much about other rap. Sometimes in other areas, or things I do in my life, people (that don't) know me to be (a) rapper, and they'll be like, "Ah, what kind of rap do you do? I hope your rap isn't all that killing, and gangster, and b's & hoes and such," but they say that because all they know of is the commercial thing that's been conveyed. They really don't know the span, (and that) there is all different kinds of Hip-Hop. So, Nah, I'm not disappointed, because (I'm good) as long as I'm able to do the Hip-Hop the way I know it, which is also a creative thing. And, others just stick to your guns, and you got that pop, too. I mean, "Hey, it's the balance in the game." So, Nah, I'm not disappointed.

MVRemix: Since everyone either knows you already, or will become familiar with you, for and through your music, what would you want these same people to know about Big Shug that they won't get from listening to your record(s)?

Big Shug: Um, the thing about me is (that) I'm passionate about what I do. I represent being a true man, (and) standing face to face with anything that I have to deal with, whether good or bad, and at the end of the day always know that I was true about what I did. I was (also) always a great motivator, and I always believed in dreams and try to reach high. So, if they don't get any of that from the music, me as a man, at the end of the day that's who I represent.

MVRemix: Looking ahead, say, 5, or even 10, years from now, where do you see yourself?

Big Shug: Ill possibly…I'll still be doing music, but I possibly could be a sports agent, too, I could probably be in the movies. It's a lot of things that could happen with me. So, as long as I stay focused, and forward, and also having financial success, which will come, then there's no telling all the things that I'll be doing a few years down the road.

MVRemix: As for the immediate future what's next for you?

Big Shug: Well, I'll be finishing up (another) album within a month. I'm just about finished with (another) album (now), but I'll be going on tour soon (too). I'll be going to Czechoslovakia, Amsterdam and such, probably back to Asia also. So, I'll be touring, man, to expand this, and put this album where it needs to be. I shot the video, which will be aired to the masses within the next couple of weeks, but it's already all over the internet, for the song 'Play It.' And, I'm just gonna keep grinding it out -- Not in a cliché form, but in a real form. So, when I finish the touring, and doing those things, then I'll be ready to hit 'em right back. Not (take) as long (either), but rather quickly with (another) album.

MVRemix: You finally gave yourself the opportunity to flex your, impressive might I add, singing skills on the Street Champ tracks; 'Interlude' & 'Lost' -- Is there an R&B album in your future?

Big Shug: I mean, like Guru had 'Jazzmatazz,' You know, (and) I'll have a project called, 'The Diamond in the Rough ,' which I'm thinking about doing (and) which will be a totally singing album So, maybe you'll hear that in the next couple (of) years. But, I'll be starting to work on that soon, too. So, yeah, definitely there'll be a chance for an R&B album. But, it'll always be, I guess, Soul, R&B, and Hip-Hop combined, because that'll be the feeling of it.

MVRemix: Do you still remain in contact with any of your, former, Foundation cohorts {Guru, Jeru, Lil' Dap, Melachi, Bahamadia, Afu Ra, etc.}?

Big Shug: Well, Guru, I haven't spoken to him…Me and Premier haven't spoken to him in about three years, so he's doing his thing. And, (Lil') Dap and Jeru (the Damaja) and them, we run into them (from) time to time at different events. But, as far as Premier, me and Premier have the show together on Sirius Satellite. He does the music, (and) I'm the personality, so to speak, so we see each other every week, or just about it. Plus, he produced three tracks on the album, and, then, of course, he'll have a couple on the next (one) or whatever -- So, me and Premier, we here to stay and keep trying to grow.

MVRemix: So, unfortunately, it's safe to say that there is little chance of a, possible, future reunion? Will we, the people, ever get another Gang Starr record?

Big Shug: I mean…You never know, man, I mean, I'm not GOD, so I can't really speak on that, and you never really can rule things out. So, I don't wanna say that, "Nah, that won't happen," and then in a couple years we do do something (together). So, the possibility's there. Me and Premier are not against it, but you know the next time you run into Guru, man, you might need to ask him about that.

MVRemix: I don't want to put you on the spot, but what really caused the dissolution of, arguably, Hip-Hop's greatest rap duo?

Big Shug: Nah, the bottom line is Guru took off to do what he wanted to do. It wasn't really a parting (of ways) it was, more or less, him just taking off. So, I guess he thought that he would find what he was looking for with (producer) Solar, and so be it, (so) that's what they're doing. But, it was never like they sat down and did that. Guru just took off -- So, that's the true story of the whole situation. So, it's not like anybody had any say, 'cause no one knew about it. All we knew was, in a few he wasn't around no more. And, that's that on that point.

MVRemix: Any parting words?

Big Shug: All I just want to say is Street Champ is a wonderful, true Hip-Hop album. (Everyone) needs to go out and cop it. It's available everywhere. And, You know, get that album, help support Big Shug in the movement that I represent, and I'm gonna keep bringing it that way. And, it's definitely the best purchase that they probably can get this year.

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"So, as long as I stay focused, and forward, and also having financial success, which will come, then there's no telling all the things that I'll be doing a few years down the road."