You took a strong stand on domestic violence with your “Stop Hitting Me” video. What kind of response have you gotten from women?
It’s been crazy. It’s just been crazy. I have a lot of things coming up with talking to ladies that have been battered or have been in an abusive relationship. It’s been a good look. Ladies are calling me that never listened to hip-hop music and they’re saying that turned them around. That’s great. It’s been a great look to see what’s going on in ladies’ lives and to see how the song affected them. It’s a real good feeling.
What inspired “Stop Hitting Me”?
What really inspired me to make this song was my mom telling me stories and stuff like that. My dad walked out of my life when I was 5 years-old. I still remember when I was 5 and my dad was beating my mom and I can remember my mom screaming at the top of her lungs. I can remember my dad beating her and my mom raising me to never put my hands on a lady.
Unfortunately when I got with my girl, I wanted to put my hands on her. So me as a man, I ain’t going to be no bitch-ass nigga and say I never touched a lady because I touched my kid’s mother. I touched her one time and it was the worst fucking feeling that I ever felt. I was like, ‘Damn, I don’t want to be like my dad. I don’t even know this nigga. All I know about him was that he used to fuck my mom up. So if I don’t like a nigga hitting my mom, why should I hit my girl?’
That was just like a wake-up call for me. That inspired me to show my girl and a lot of other ladies that I’m going to make a change for the better and I’m going to be a real man and dedicate this song to them and show them that niggas can change. All these dudes are saying, “I’ll smack a bitch up.” All these niggas are fronting. A real man wouldn’t touch a lady, especially a lady you love. My mom inspired me and also me walking in the same footsteps of my dad inspired me. I didn’t want to do that. That inspired the song to come along.
The song is powerful by itself, but the video makes it even more powerful. Was that a difficult video to shoot?
Actually, I’m going to tell you a funny-ass story, B, when we were shooting that shit. The funny shit is that we were shooting the video and there was a lot of tension there. When I first came to the video shoot, they were already shooting the scenes that I wasn’t in. When I got there, all I remember is Rik Cordero’s girl, she played the part in the video and she played a helluva part. She was the last girl that got killed in the video. All I remember is her coming up to me and giving me a hug and crying and telling me that she had an experience like that. That shit just crushed me at the same time and let me know that the song had an effect on people. Kay Slay just looked at me like, ‘Wow.’ It was a crazy feeling, my nigga. I can’t even explain it.
It was hard to get through it. The females that were there were feeling it and then the crazy part was that I got a phone call at the video shoot. My real dad who walked out of my life at 5 years-old and nowadays I don’t keep in touch with him, but they called me and they said he wasn’t doing too good. Regardless, that shit kind of hurt me even though I don’t know him and whatever. But all that shit was just happening at that time and it was just crazy how that shit was just taking place. So when you look at the video and you see my face, I was really feeling pain ‘cause it was almost like a sign, like they’re telling me that my dad is going through some shit and it ain’t looking good for him and at the same time, I’m doing this video and thinking about him beating my mom’s ass. Why did it have to happen on this day? It was a crazy time. Why did it have to happen like that?
But I like the way the video came out. Shout out to Rik. He did a good job on that joint and it just came out crazy.
Is your message on domestic violence getting out there right now?
It’s definitely getting out there. I’m not even mad now that it ain’t reaching everywhere. I wish it could reach a worldwide level, but if it can reach one person a day, I’m happy. I think it’s getting its just due, but I think a song like that is going to be around for a long time. I feel like that shit is never gonna die.
That’s like my song “Crack Head”. That’s what music is supposed to be about – real people. The song is doing what it’s supposed to do, but we’re going to reach out and try to get it to more people.
In the introduction to “Stop Hitting Me”, you spoke about how you talked with battered women. What was that experience like for you?
It was hard, but I guess once they got comfortable with me…because it was coming from a man’s point of view. I could almost relate to them. Once I laid down that I knew what they were going through because once I put my hands on my wife, they were like, ‘Wow, this cat used to touch his girl and he made this change.’ They knew I was genuine with it and talking from the heart and trying to lend a hand out there. That’s the way that I felt I could pay them back for the little bit of damage I used to do. This is how I could repay that back.
The love was there and they knew I was coming genuine. I mean, it was a good experience, talking to a lot of these ladies. It’s sad because a lot of these ladies are getting killed by niggas and what niggas aren’t seeing is that if that was their mom going through that shit – that’s all a nigga has to think. “Oh, I’ll beat that bitch’s ass.” All these wannabe tough guys need to think that if their mom was getting beat and was a victim of domestic violence, then they’ll know how the tension in the room is when you’re talking to those ladies.
It must be therapeutic for you in a way as well.
It definitely is. Even though I didn’t do it to the caliber that’s in the video, but still, even if you grab a female and shake her up, it’s still a bad thing because that’s just the beginning of what’s to come later on. If a female shows fear when you shake her up and grab her, a nigga is going to be like, ‘Oh, I can overpower this chick’ and the next thing is he wants to control everything that she’s doing. That’s when it turns to domestic violence. It turns to a slap and the slap turns to a punch. They have to control that.
And it’s not even just niggas. I got a flipside to that song too. I know niggas that get beat by females. It’s deep. That’s where I’m at with it.
Statistics show that men are less likely to report abuse by a woman than vice versa.
There’s males that really don’t want to report abuse because they’ll be looking like a punk or a pussy. They don’t want to report that, but there’s niggas out there getting their ass beat. Or on the flipside of things to keep it real, some of the chicks that get their ass beat, and I don’t condone that they get their ass beat, but some of the chicks who get their ass beat are cheating on niggas. I don’t condone none of that.
The best thing I tell my niggas is that if she’s dirty and if she’s doing things that she’s not supposed to do, just walk away from it. There’s plenty of ladies out here. How many times have we heard that there are plenty of fish in the sea?
Because if you’re going to end up putting your hands on her and doing something that you don’t want to do, you could end up going to jail. I tell everybody to stand up and just be real men and walk away from shit. You know how we do. We go to the next thing that’s good.
What would you tell someone that’s currently in an abusive relationship?
The best thing she could do is get help. Call them domestic violence hotlines. We put the number in my video. They’re all over the phone book and all over the TV. Get out of it before it’s too late and before it gets real ugly. You could wind up losing your life. A lot of girls is hard-headed. They stay in a relationship and they think a nigga can change. There are niggas that can change. I was that nigga. I wasn’t to that full effect, but regardless, I was that nigga that put his hands on somebody. A nigga can change and if he shows signs that he can change and do what’s right, then they probably got a chance, but the best thing she can do first is get out of it and get her shit straight and don’t wait around for something ugly like that to happen.
And it’s happening all over the world. If you don’t get a handle on it, it’s going to get ugly. And the majority of abuse is coming from men to women. To the men out there, all I can tell them is to get a grip of that and do what’s right for the better. Don’t get yourself in trouble. If you’re a dude that likes abusing your girl, go get some help. Be a bigger man. Don’t listen to the motherfuckers that are in your ‘hood that are telling you to “beat that bitch’s ass.” Even if that chick is wrong, don’t listen to these niggas and fuck her up. Just walk away from the situation, stay by yourself and do what’s right.
When a lot of artists say they make songs for the females, 95% of the time it’s a club song. I think it’s good that you’re making songs of substance for women.
Definitely. I come at a different angle when it comes to hip-hop music. I’m doing what I feel. I do music ‘cause I love doing music. I’m not chasing a million, $2 million, like a lot of these rappers are doing. I would love to eat being that this is my 24/7. But I live in the real world where you still have to grind. I ain’t gonna let music control my life. I love being in the lab and doing this and doing that, but I feel that if I do records, I want to reach out to the ladies and to the ghetto children, the ones that are out there starving in the ‘hoods. I want to reach out to my ‘hood niggas in the right way and make that uplifting music.
As far as with the women, I don’t feel I have to go the club way to make my statement. If you look, there’s a lot of ladies that ain’t about going to the club. They’re independent chicks that work 9-5 and don’t got time for that shit. There’s mothers with 3-4 kids at home. What are we going to do for them? That woman might be stuck in the house because her nigga is beating her ass. So why can’t she turn on the radio and hear a song like “Stop Hitting Me” and have it change her life? Why can’t someone with a person in their family that’s addicted to crack turn on the radio and hear “Crack Head”? I’m trying to get that person some help.
I talk about real shit. I don’t have to dumb it down and I don’t have to water it down. I don’t have to come at an angle where the chicks have to shake their asses. Don’t get me wrong – I like doing party joints, but when it comes down to it, that’s not what I’m aiming for. I’m a versatile artist, but my thing is making real music for real people and to uplift my people because I see it every day.
You hit on the topic of child abuse and pedophilia on “She’s Just 16 Years Old”. What inspired that song?
That happens in the ‘hood. We just had a little girl from Camden, she was 17 or 18, she was just raped. Someone put her in a van and raped her. It almost killed her. I just talk about real experiences and what these MC’s aren’t doing. These MC’s are scared of that. They’re not fucking with me when it comes to that shit because they’re scared to do it. What MC is going to rap about crackheads and what MC is going to make a song like “Stop Hitting Me”? They probably have a crackhead in their family and they’re probably beating their chick’s ass. They probably just keep that shit behind closed doors. There ain’t an MC like me. I’m going to keep it real. I’m going to do that healing-pain music and I’m still going to give cats something to party to, you feel me, but it’s going to still be hip-hop music. It’s going to be hip-hop. That’s all I can really do to sum it up for you.
With “She’s Just 16 Years Old”, that’s what I tried to do. Parents, keep an eye on your kids. Just because they’re 17 or 18 doesn’t mean they’re safe. Even little boys are getting raped. There’s a lot of sick puppies out there and we have to save our ghetto children because a lot of our ghetto children are dying early.
How do you feel when you see these old guys hollering at young girls?
It’s fucked up. It’s fucked up. It’s like, ‘Damn, get a woman your own age.’ There’s a lot of sick motherfuckers out there and they shouldn’t be out there in the street. If I was to see that with my own eyes, I wouldn’t call the cops or nothing, but I would beat the shit outta the dude. I would beat the shit out of the dude. I would hang the dude. First of all, I feel that anybody that can rape kids or molest kids, that’s why they put them in P.C. in jail because they can’t be around real niggas because they’re going to do them dirty. I feel as though they need to keep an eye out. If a nigga is the type of nigga where he’s a pedophile, the parents need to be alert to where he’s at, especially if you have little kids in your house. They have to be aware and they have to get information about where these niggas are at around their neighborhood so no ugly shit is going down like that. If it was up to me, oh, my God, I don’t even want to talk about it.
You don’t know who to trust no more. You don’t know who to trust. You have to keep your guard up nowadays and parents aren’t doing that. They’re too loose with their kids. They just think that everything is all right and that’s why they need to get involved with these kids more with their school and all that. Everything their kids do, they got to just be in tune with it.
And I got my little kids. Me being a parent, I can’t imagine even something like that happening. I try and do the right thing. And even if you do the right thing, you never know. Anything can happen. The best thing you can do is just be on-guard and be parents to your kids. Don’t bring them into the world if you can’t raise them right. These parents nowadays, they’re young. They’re young as hell. And I know because I was young as hell when I had my kids. They’re young and they can’t take care of their responsibilities. And some of these parents, they just don’t care. If they’re not ready to have kids, then they just can’t bring them into the world. You have to be there. It’s a 24/7 job. You have to make sure that your kids are getting raised right and that you’re doing the right thing. All I can do is be a big parent and be there.
Switching gears, you’ve been working on your mixtape The Bidding Starts at a Million. How’s that coming?
We’ve been finishing up. We definitely have been working hard on it. And we’ve definitely been working hard on my album and putting a lot of joints aside. The album is ridiculous. It’s one of those joints that’s going to catch a lot of people off-guard. The concepts are ridiculous on there. I know it’s crazy saying that with records like “Stop Hitting Me” already out. They’re going to be feeling me. I’m going to show that I’m one of the best concept kings out there. I’m getting these labels’ noses wide open and letting them know that the kid has more to talk about than that same old bullshit. The Bidding Starts at a Million will be out soon and we have another one coming out soon.
We’re not taking the same road that Pap took because I don’t want to be known for just dropping mixtapes, but I got so many songs. We’re just feeding the streets right now and giving the streets something that they can have. I’m going to come out with something that’s going to be good for their ears.
How’s the label search going for you?
It’s coming beautiful. We’re just being patient. Everybody knows that Kay Slay plays hardball. I’ve said it before – I trust Slay with my life. He’s shown me a lot in this game already. I trust what he’s doing and he’s doing the right thing. We’re just waiting. There’s a lot of things on the table, though, you feel me. They’re definitely talking and they’re coming up. It’s just a patience thing. We just gotta be patient, man.
What’s it like taking a meeting with Kay Slay?
(laughs) I don’t even want to talk about it, but it’s just raw. You just gotta be prepared because Slay is just that dude. He don’t let that shit go down funny! (laughs) Slay is a motherfucker when it comes to that shit. There’s not a businessman that can handle it better than him on that note.
What’s the next move for you right now?
Right now I’m just staying busy. I’ve been staying in the studio working on the album and at the same time, I’ve been doing a lot of shows. I’ve been in and out there and it’s a good feeling getting my name out there. I’m going to stay buzzing and stay aggressive and I’m going to keep doing these interviews. And also I’m working on little independent films. I’m getting into independent film and making moves on that shit too, you feel me. I’m just staying busy on that and doing what I have to do overall.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Support real hip-hop because it’s brewing and it will never die. I’m proof to that. I’m one of the best concept music-makers out there, hands down. I don’t give a fuck what nobody feels. Hate me or love me but you gotta respect me. I’m on the grind. Big Lou, Camden, stand up. Before a nigga from Camden couldn’t do it. Look, we’ve come this far. Mad love to HipHopGame and all my people out there, the whole Streetsweeper cats and Slay and all the battered women, of course, and all the families that suffer with crackheads. Go to my MySpace page and check me out on that. Hopefully my music can help inspire someone that’s going through the issues that I talk about in my music. It’s Streetsweepers, Big Lou, we’re out there. And I should have been on that XXL cover with the 10 up-and-coming MC’s, but it’s all good. (laughs)
Video for Big Lou’s “Stop Hitting Me”, directed by Rik Cordero
REACT TO THIS INTERVIEW
Domestic Violence Links
There is a lot of help and there are a lot of resources out there about domestic violence. If you or someone you know is in trouble, hopefully these links can help. In no way is this a comprehensive list of sites dedicated to helping abused women, but this is a good starting point if you’re looking for information.