Big Phish: February 23rd

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"I am misunderstood, the skeptical. I am nothing like nothing, I am everything but nothing. I could be a prophet, I could be mistaken but i'm absolutely a contradiction, because I would be "nothing" without the most high. I'm a student of myself and a teacher of righteousness, but I am a sinner that repents. I am human. I am the son of the man and the brother to the lost. I am Big Phish."

- Big Phish

Q: Tell us who Big Phish is as an artist.

A: Big Phish, it was built around emotion and a lifestyle. Big Phish as an artist is somebody who is in his spiritual realm and he's also a working man. He speaks for the working man and he wants to speak to the youth and try to keep the foundation of rap as is and educate.

Q; Where has your career been lately with releasing music?

A: I've been releasing music for years and years on out. Right now, I'm just trying to educate myself on how to monetize it. My latest project, "February 23rd," was released in 2017 which was on my birthday. I'm also trying to slow down on putting a lot of material out because I'm trying to give people enough time to familiarize my name.

Q: Your project "February 23rd" was released last year. Do you feel like you've pushed it to your fullest potential?

A: I don't feel as though I've pushed it to my fullest potential because of the position I'm in. I'm pushing it myself. I don't have a whole team and I'm working and going to school. So, I try to bit-by-bit put the energy into it that I can with the knowledge that I have. I've never performed "February 23rd" anywhere and that's why I'm still trying to push it because I've put a lot into it and I want people to recognize the material.

Q: Do you feel like this year in between the release of your project has helped you?

A: I feel as though the fact that I named it February 23rd, and the date is coming back around so it'll be a one year anniversary. So, the tape is based around who I am on the personal level. My music is not about being an artist it's about being an emcee and being a real person. I just think it's a good timeframe. 

Q: With the title of the project being your birth date, why did you feel like that title fit best?

A: I named it that because it was the making of Big Phish. Before Big Phish I ran with the name, "Crush Duece," and my father was a rapper before me so that was paying homage to his name. At one point in time in 2017, I got into horoscopes. I'm a Pisces and I was reading the information about the Zodiac and it matched the spirituality of me. With February 23rd being my birthday I feel like if I'm going to remake my name then I could remake my name as where I started, February 23, 1990. That's why it meant so much to me because no matter what I claim or what I say that day is the day that I became. 

Q: What was the motivation behind the project? 

A: For years I've been rapping and I always was a lyrical guy and a complex rapper. I used so many words that people couldn't catch because that's the way that I write. When I started rapping I started writing to educate myself. I grew up in Southwest Philly and I ended up in Ambler. My life is like the ghetto city kid trying to interact with people that come from a different class. I don't let people know on a day-to-day how I feel so I feel like this project is the revelation to all the people around me and to all the people that don't know me, this what I'm going through on a day-to-day. So, that's what motivated me to put this out.

Q: The first track starts off really hard core and straightforward with excerpts from the movie, Paid In Full. Explain the Paid In Full intro and is there any direct connection with the movie and your life?

A: I'm a movie person so I watch a lot of movies and everybody knows Paid in Full is an urban classic. I put that in there just to connect with the people. It's a moral to the story that people don't get. The moral to the story of Paid In Full, even with the glam, glitter and fashion it's still some type of remorse at the end and everything could just break down. So, the song was more about me playing my position in my family and playing my position in my personal life. In the movie Ace Boogie was a good dude and I feel like I played a part of Ace Boogie because I'm a good dude but you got to be around leaches and vultures. I didn't name it "Paid In Full" until I fell back and took the little skits out and put the song together. It all came together and that's where it came from. 

Q: It seems like your project really reflects on a lot of underestimation and being the underdog. During your time of people overlooking your talent and really finding yourself as an artist what was the biggest lesson you learned during this time?

A: The biggest lesson I've learned is to be humble. I always knew I was a good rapper, but I've learned that for somebody else to say it it's better. I always was the type when I performed I always got a different reaction from everybody else so that gave me a big head. Within that time of seeing that I've watched people who I thought were beneath me and they blew up and it blew up in front of my face. Beings-though we have mutual friends I have to be around that person, so I have to suck that in. I just started realizing you have to be humble, you can't hold what people go through against them just because you went through something else. Be humble and if you can't get people to understand your process just do it yourself and they'll gravitate towards it.

Q: On your Soundcloud page I noticed a little paragraph about yourself where you mentioned.

"I am misunderstood, the skeptical. I am nothing like nothing, I am everything but nothing. I could be a prophet, I could be mistaken but i'm absolutely a contradiction, because I would be "nothing" without the most high. I'm a student of myself and a teacher of righteousness, but I am a sinner that repents. I am human. I am the son of the man and the brother to the lost. I am Big Phish."

Explain this and why you feel it is important for listeners to read this before listening to your music? 

A: Generalizations are relatable to everybody. So for me to mention all those things that are relatable to myself certain people will be able to pick what they are. It's just blunt this is what I am, this is everything I am. People think because they're one thing they can't be another thing. Or some people will wait on one person to be something in order for them to follow and be that. No, this is everything I am. I'm a human being. I'm not a performer, that comes with people who do it professionally. I'm a person that deals with real life situations and I put it into music. I can't make no music if I'm not going through something real. 

Q: If you could pick one song from February 23rd to have be the only single for the world to get to know you by, what track would you pick and why?

A: To understand who I am as an artist I would chose "Dreams." Not to compare myself to Biggie, but if this was the 90s I think Meek Mill would be Jay-Z and I think Rick Ross would be Biggie. I think my single "Dreams" would be "Juicy" of 2017.  It shows you there's a son idolizing hip-hop but at the time my father was a rapper,  so it's telling you the beginning. It tells the story of how my pop shot me in my dream and I remember the dream. Now years later the way he was in the dream is the same way that he is now, because we're people of struggle. It just lets you know the duality of the two lives past and forward. That's my favorite track and it also lets you know where I come from.

Q: Are you proud of February 23rd? 

A: I'm proud of the project. I have a team but my team is very small because I'm not really a people person. I feel like as a project and all my music as a whole if we were to have a bigger team and we pushed it I feel like we'd be further. I'd be more motivated to keep doing it and not putting all my talent into someone else's business. So, I feel like as a project I'm happy because when I listen to it it's my life. So, I'm my favorite rapper I relate to everything because I created it. I'm proud overall.

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Q: Are you proud of yourself as an artist?

A: I'm proud of myself as an artist but what I'm not proud of is that these days you don't get far being an artist because people who don't understand the art of it and the personal feeling of it, they look at it as image and a following . All those things don't equate to the art to you because it's personal. I'm proud of myself as an artist but I'm not proud of the business, the business that people chose not to reciprocate with the time that you put into the art.

Q: What can we look forward to from Big Phish in 2018?

A: I'm trying to get with some producers that are already around me and I'm trying to monetize my music. February 23rd is free, anybody can listen to it and when I look at I feel even that should be monetized. I'm trying to use my resources, I'm trying to perform as much as I can and I'm trying to get people familiar with it. I can't tell you exactly what's going on this year, I still have to do the ground work myself but what I would want people to do is listen to February 23rd and maybe that'll encourage people to say "we shouldn't count him out."

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Big Phish's interview coming to TMITV. Stay updated with Big Phish and all of his new music by following him on Social Media @bigphish247