There is a cult that exists in hip-hop. A cult that performs the same ritual every weekday at 5pm EST. That ritual is to tune into Black Entertainment Television and absorb their daily dose of Rap City: Tha Bassment.
Their cult leader is a Bronx, NY native by the name of Big Tigger. Some love their leader; others hate him with a passion. But one thing is for sure….they still transfix their eyes onto him every single day, no matter what.
This Truman High School graduate and former University of Maryland College Park student has no time for the negativity. Big Tigger is trying to do big things. It’s been like that every since he was a hungry intern that clawed is way to #1 and became head of the radio pack at WPGC 95.5 in Washington, D.C. It didn’t stop there. More ground had to be conquered in television.
It’s a non-stop ride to success for this hip-hop junkie that averages four hours of sleep on a good day. How does he keep the energy flowing? "My job," he says. "It's something I like doing. It's my job to keep the energy. I'm trying to get paid." Aren’t we all?
MVRemix: What made you want to get into radio?
The money. Money and music, two of my favorite topics.
MVRemix: You were #1 in your time slot for seven years. What do you believe is
the secret to that success?
To be quite honest, other than the fact that I'm really passionate about the music, and that people obviously like my personality, I couldn't tell you. I was real genuine. I didn't come off fake. Not saying other people do. Well, actually other people do, I'm just me.
MVRemix: There's an interesting story about how you got your #1 time slot.
I was an intern with a disc jock, Albie Dee. I became his intern/sidekick on the show.... They were going to move Albie to the afternoons and the night show was going to be open, so I used to follow Jay (WPGC Programming Director Jay Stevens) all the time like "Yo, you should give me a shot." I used to tell him "I'll be silly putty in your hands. Mold me, mold me! Make me hot, make me hot!" I used to leave notes on his windshield saying "Yo, you should give me a job." I used to call his wife at home like, "How are you doing Mrs. Cathy? This is Tigger. I'm one of the aspiring talents at PGC. You should tell your husband he should give me a shot." I was doing some guerrilla tactics.
MVRemix: How did you get involved with Black Entertainment Television?
They gave me a call one day and was like "Yo, we need somebody to do some younger ended voice overs." You know they had the traditional deep voice guy. They needed someone younger specifically for Rap City and Teen Summit. So I started doing voice overs, and every day I was down there I was in somebody's eye like "Yo, put me on the camera, put me on the camera!" I got cool with the senior producer of Rap City, and they had an opening for a segment called Hip-Hop News and thought I'll be good at it. They plugged me in, a lot of people started digging me and feeling me, I was doing my thing. That developed into the next year when Joe Claire moved to New York and Big Lez moved to L.A. They needed a third host that would be local, so I was doing Hip-Hop News/the third host for that year. Then they brought in the new Vice President of Programming, Steve Hill, and he just wanted to flip the whole program and he decided that I was going to be the man. So I ain't mad at him.
MVRemix: What's your most memorable Rap City moment?
Rakim. I used to idolize Ra. Ra was the man when I was growing up. Just to be on the same set with him and talk to him.... he was the illest.
MVRemix: Moving on to your freestyling. Is every freestyle you kick really a genuine freestyle, or is it an unheard written rhyme that many of your guests like to pass off?
All off the top. The only time I ever did a written joint is when Dead Prez was on the show; because you know they're on some positivity. It's hard to make up positivity on the go. So I rocked a rhyme I written beforehand for Dead Prez, but all the rest of them were freestyles.
MVRemix: Many people that watch Rap City are aware of the fact that some of the guests perform prewritten material and pass them off as freestyles. Do you wish that more of your guests would kick actual freestyles?
It's whatever you feel comfortable with. I'm not here to judge MCs, or judge their talents and abilities. I'm here to put them on display, and at the same time get my little shine on. Whatever makes them look better to their public, because they got to sell records. Certain people are good at it, and certain people aren't. And you can't just be trying for the sake of trying. You got to do what's going to make you look right on television, so I ain't mad at none of them.
MVRemix: Since you host a video show, what do you consider to be the best hip-hop video of all time?
Night of the Living Baseheads by Public Enemy/I'll Bee Dat by Redman/Murder Was Tha Case by Snoop. They were all different at the periods that they came out.
They were all real cinematic and real different with it. They pushed
MVRemix: Who's your favorite artist?
I don't have one. My favorite artist is hip-hop.
MVRemix: On a different side of things, you have what some may call "haters" that have been talking about you. Star & Buc Wild of New York's HOT 97 have said some harsh words about you, and so has Wendy Williams of Philadelphia. What is your response to them?
I'll like to say thank you for watching my show.
MVRemix: That's it?
MVRemix: Have you been faced with a lot of evils and temptations now that you've
become so successful?
Yeah. Sometimes out of time you run into these...I don't want to call them groupies. I want to call them "really excited women to see people that are famous." Women who are especially excited to see, or know, or be around people that are in the industry. You can get in trouble with them. A lot of people, I will call them leeches, trying to get money from you, using your talents and abilities to make their joint jump off. In the same breath I want to say, yeah I got my shot and somebody helped me, but I'm going to help those people that deserve to be helped. I can't help everybody. I got to help those who are immediately close to me first, then branch out.
MVRemix: So how do you keep your head straight?
I got my team. My core crew of friends that I've known for years now. They keep me grounded. I don't claim myself to be perfect, all knowing, all flavorish. I'm not ashamed to ask if I don't know. I'm not ashamed to ask their opinion on things, and they give it to me real. I don't keep no "yes figgas."
MVRemix: What is the best and worse thing about being you?
Best thing is I've always been me. That's the best thing about it. Ain't nothing changed on me; I'm still me from day one to now. That's the best part about being me, that I'm still able to be me. Worse part about being me is I have to sacrifice a lot of my personal [life] obviously because of what I do. I choose to be a public person.
MVRemix: Is that hard to deal with on occasion?
Very. Most of the time I'm able to cope, but it gets rough.
MVRemix: Has it ever gotten so bad that you feel that you want to flip out on a person and say "Get out of my face, I don't want to be bothered"?
Yeah, but I haven't done it. You got to be tactful. Bottom line is what I do is an all day every day popularity game. You try to keep many people liking you as long as possible, that means you're going to have a job. You've got to take all of that into account whenever you do anything entertainment wise. You can very easily fall out of grace. Then what are you going to do? Those people you treated bad will absolutely help bring your [career] to an end.
MVRemix: Talk about your non-radio and BET ventures such as Street Corner Collective.
Street Corner Collective is my urban marketing promotions company. It's about a year and a half old now. It's doing very well. We're the #1 street team in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia metropolitan area. I'm working on BigTigger.com. It's coming very, very slowly, but I'm still working on it. I'm trying to get a real estate company jumping off. I might have a motorcycle accessory shop opening in the D.C. area. I'm trying to do a lot of things. I'm not going to be popular all my life, so at this point I'm trying to set off businesses that will always keep money coming in.
MVRemix: Do you have any plans of doing movies, television shows, or even an album? Many people are curious and want to know if you will ever release some music.
I don't know about the album, but I'm definitely trying to get on a couple of TV series and some movies. The album is touchy because I don't want people to view me as somebody that was just able to get on because I'm on television. And sometimes it's hard for people to think of you in other ways than how you're originally viewed. Like Jamie Foxx singing. The brother can sing, but he's a comedian. It'll hurt my feelings to put out something hot, like a lot of artists do, and not receive love. That's blood, sweat, and tears right there.
MVRemix: Do you have any words of wisdom for people that want to be like you and make it in entertainment?
Get a lot of sleep now. Network your [butt] off. Cultivate your talent, because that is what's going to save you at the end of the day. It is what you know, it's definitely who you know. But after you get your foot in the door, you got to be able to hold it down. Who you know will get you in the door. If you're wack after that, you're still going to go.