Big Kuntry King Interview
|Artist:||Big Kuntry King|
|Next Project:||My Turn To Eat|
|Twitter:||Big Kuntry King on Twitter|
|Website:||Big Kuntry King's Website|
On the 30th day of every September, a new national holiday will be celebrated. Although this special day isn’t acknowledged on your calendar, and it won’t grant you an excused absence from work or school, it’s still cause for celebration. The last Tuesday of this month, now known as “Grand Hustle Day,” marks the co-releases of Grand Hustle Records biggest gun (no pun intended), T.I., and his long-time second in command, Big Kuntry King.
Following the “Paper Trail” of his label boss and good friend, Big Kuntry has waited seven long years to release his debut album, My Turn To Eat. Born in South Carolina, but raised in Atlanta, the 29-year-old emcee began performing at shows shortly after the self-proclaimed “King” dropped his ’01 debut, I’m Serious. Now, hundreds of mixtapes and performances later, Kuntry is determined to show the world that he can stand on his own two feet.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Big Kuntry steps inside the booth to talk about the excitement of releasing his debut, what he has learned from working with T.I., how a female becomes “The Baddest,” and how his pickiness led to an rather expensive fetish.
Listen to the Interview
Big Kuntry King Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody. It’s your boy, ‘Z,’ doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an Atlanta emcee who’s finally getting his Turn to Eat later this month. Please welcome Grand Hustle’s Big Kuntry King – how you doin’?
Big Kuntry King: You know who this is. It’s your boy, representin’ Grand Hustle to the fullest, and I’m doin’ quite well.
DJ Booth: You have to be excited about this opportunity. You’ve waited seven long years to finally drop your solo debut. Describe the feeling inside, as this release date quickly approaches.
Big Kuntry King: I’m very, very excited, very blessed. I’m glad that I waited, ‘cause a lot of people come out after the first single, and then that’s it. I’m glad I’ve been able to work the crowd and build a fan base.
DJ Booth: What do you think would’ve happened had you come out earlier?
Big Kuntry King: I probably would’ve been tarnished by the game. I came from nothing, so gettin’ everything fast when you come from nothing, you don’t appreciate it. When you have to work for it, you appreciate it more. If you were to [give] me $100,000, I’m telling you, it wouldn’t last a week! Since I gotta work for my $100,000, it’s gonna last a whole year.
DJ Booth: As we mentioned, the album is set to drop on September the 30th. Interesting choice on the date – T.I. is also going to be dropping his album, Paper Trail.
Big Kuntry King: We Grand Hustle, man. He’s got a lot more fans than I do, so we figured we’d put the albums next to each other and call it “Grand Hustle Day.” More people will check the album out because people support Grand Hustle. And the people who think it’s a bad idea – guess what? They’re talkin’ about me! [laughs]
DJ Booth: Have you guys considered making September 30th a national holiday? It could be Grand Hustle Day every year.
Big Kuntry King: We already call it our holiday, September 30th. I guess every day we come out, we’re gonna make it a holiday.
DJ Booth: Exactly.
Big Kuntry King: It’ll be the only moving holiday in the world! [laughs]
DJ Booth: [laughs] Kuntry, there’s plenty of emcees who I’ve spoken with, who have spent the bulk of their career right next to a much more famous label mate – for example, Memphis Bleek with Jay-Z. So, how has working with T.I. through all the success that he’s seen, helped you get to where you are right now?
Big Kuntry King: It’s great workin’ with him, ‘cause I get to meet a lot of artists before they get on, as I built a relationship with T.I., growin’ up in the streets with him, just like I met Kanye West, before he did the first album, when he had the brace on his teeth. Paul Wall, he used to sleep on our studio floor. I got to meet everybody – Flo Rida before he got on, Brisco. It’s like a family – Young Jeezy, he used to drive a red Cutlass Supreme, before he got the Ferrari. I’m here, and I’m seein’ a lot of artists go up and come down. On their way up, they weren’t lookin’ for me; on their way down, they need some help from me. I got to learn things from everybody.
DJ Booth: It also seems like networking has helped you out quite a bit.
Big Kuntry King: Yeah. For seven years, I built relationships with the DJs, radio DJs. Like, Atlantic, I had to tell them to show me something, because I could get my record on the radio before [they could]! [laughs]
DJ Booth: And that’s a problem.
Big Kuntry King: And that’s a big problem!
DJ Booth: The cover of the new album, has you holding a hamburger bun filled with a thick wad of cash. Now, the analogy in my eyes is pretty simple. Having gone many years without finally releasing this debut, or touring as a headliner, what did you do to build up your bank account in the meantime?
Big Kuntry King: Me personally, when T.I. was comin’ out with I’m Serious, he was doin’ shows, so I was like, “Look, I’m goin’ with you, we gonna ride.” He’s like, “Are you sure you wanna do these shows?” ‘cause he didn’t have enough money to pay me, but we were gettin’ paid a nice little salary back then. I was like, “Cool, I’m goin’ with you.” When he became bigger, those cities couldn’t afford to have him, then they called me. I’d be like, “Yeah, I’ll come, if you pay me what you’re paid him.” [laughs] And that’s how I roll. [I piggybacked] off of that. All these years, I’ve been doin’ shows, puttin’ out mixtapes, so I’ve been relevant, I just haven’t been on the major market.
DJ Booth: So you’re sayin’ that, since 2001, you’ve been steadily earning a nice cashflow.
Big Kuntry King: Oh, yeah, yeah. This is my game: I put out a single, make everybody think I’m about to put an album out, and then I put a mixtape out. Some of my singles got real big – [they weren’t being] played on the radio, but the streets were playin’ them for months! I was on everywhere. I’ve been everywhere. Right now, I have a show in San Diego – I got shows everywhere! I really got the chance to build a fan base like the rock ‘n’ roll stars have – you know, rock ‘n’ roll stars perform, perform, perform, before they got on, before they go mainstream. See, rappers don’t do that; they’ve got to get a hit song, sign their little 360 deal, then they go out!
DJ Booth: You let the cat out of the bag about how you dropped singles, and then you’d release a mixtape instead of an album. I think you might be scaring a few people right now, who are scratching their heads, going, “Is he really not going to release the album later this month?”
Big Kuntry King: They know the album’s comin’ out – it’s My Turn to Eat this time. They know it for real, now.
DJ Booth: Kuntry, I read that when you began rapping, it originally was a means for you to make extra cash. So, to this day, do you feel like your true calling has always been to rap, or, when you’re done with this rap thing, are there other accomplishments career-wise that you’d still like to make?
Big Kuntry King: I don’t even know how to tell you, man. You know how good it feels? It’s like if you had the whole week off, right now, and you get paid double.
DJ Booth: I need that! [laughs]
Big Kuntry King: That’s how this feels!
DJ Booth: Can you give me that?
Big Kuntry King: [laughs harder] Can I give you that?
DJ Booth: You wanna pay me to take the week off?
Big Kuntry King: Let’s make this album a hit.
DJ Booth: So, if I help you achieve platinum certification, you’ll pay me to take a week off?
Big Kuntry King: Yeah, I got to.
DJ Booth: Okay, cool.
Big Kuntry King: Cool.
DJ Booth: Kuntry, your current single with Trey Songz is entitled “The Baddest.” For those who would like a little more in-depth of an explanation, describe the features of a female that make her just plain “bad.”
Big Kuntry King: What makes a girl “The Baddest” to me is independence, seeing her herself as being the baddest, in her own eyes. You gotta see that first. ‘Cause I don’t need to tell you you’re the baddest, but you’re the baddest, and that’s why I tell you you’re the baddest – you dig?
DJ Booth: Have you found your own, permanent “bad girl,” or are you still searching?
Big Kuntry King: Yeah, I got a bad girl. [laughs] I found my “Baddest.”
DJ Booth: So no more lookin’, you already found what you’re lookin’ for?
Big Kuntry King: It don’t hurt to look, though. [laughs]
DJ Booth: You’re absolutely right about that. And it doesn’t hurt to admit it when she’s not listening, either.
Big Kuntry King: Yeah, yeah.
DJ Booth: Kuntry, another cut on the new album is entitled “Love You The Right Way,” featuring R&B accompaniment from Lloyd. When it comes to success in the bedroom, some men might say it’s best to simply let the woman tell you just how she like it. In your past experiences, what do you recommend for all of our readers and listeners who have struck out, as of late, under the sheets?
Big Kuntry King: [laughs] You’re talkin’ about the guys who have struck out?
DJ Booth: Yeah. They need some help, and you’re the man to deliver it.
Big Kuntry King: For me, personally, if you just take your time, and love a woman the right way, you can’t strike out – you just can’t. If you’re a lazy bum, and tryin’ to get yours all the time, then, hey, don’t be mad when I show her the right way, you dig? When we show her the right way, ain’t that right, Z?
DJ Booth: That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Would you suggest, as a recommendation for some of these guys, putting on some of these songs from the new album? Can that help them in the bedroom?
Big Kuntry King: That’ll just help me take their lady – if they listen to the swagger, they’ll get the idea. And some of them would probably relate to what I’m saying, like, “Yeah, Kuntry, I’d do the same thing you’d be doin’, homie.”
DJ Booth: How would it feel to know that your music played as the soundtrack to what will be the attempt of many men to try to get the woman lovin’ them the right way?
Big Kuntry King: Hey, man, that’s what time it is, though. That separates the real from the fake. You know you’ve got to stand on this side of the fence. I’m tryin’ to make it easier for us guys, when you walk up to a lady at a club and be like, “I know he ain’t lovin’ you the right way. I could do it, I got you, baby,” and that song’s gonna click in her ear, and she’s goin’ with you dawg, I promise you.
DJ Booth: Well, I know that you’re full of swagger. Something else I read that you’re full of is also pickiness – I heard that you hand-picked all the beats on the album. Outside of music, what would you say you are most picky about in life?
Big Kuntry King: I’m picky about clothes, too. You gotta think – I used to be 300 pounds, now I’m about 280, and I wanna look just as good as a skinny guy. And I got a shoe fetish.
DJ Booth: How many pairs?
Big Kuntry King: I got a whole room full of shoes. I don’t know, about 100, 200 shoes. Growin’ up I didn’t have many shoes, I had like two pairs of shoes.
DJ Booth: How many of them would you say you’ve worn more than one time?
Big Kuntry King: These Black Gucci shoes, I just can’t keep ‘em off my feet no matter what. This is one of them pairs of shoes that always looks good to you, no matter what. You look at all the shoes you could go out in, and you’re like, “I’m gonna put these on.”
DJ Booth: The worst is when you go out and buy a new pairs of shoes just to go with a new outfit, and when you’re ready to go out, you end up putting an old pair of shoes on every time.
Big Kuntry King: I do that a lot. I’ve got to stop doing that.
DJ Booth: Well, I’m sure when you get all your checks from the upcoming album, it might be wise not to put them all towards shoes – sounds like you have enough of those.
Big Kuntry King: I’ll get all those checks and buy a couple more shoes. I’ll probably still do it. ‘Cause some things you can’t change; you can never change how you are.
DJ Booth: Your album’s dropping, T.I.‘s album is dropping, you guys have to be planning some sort of Grand Hustle tour.
Big Kuntry King: From [now] till the end of the year we’re going on tour, that’s a definite. T.I.‘s doin’ his movie right now, I’m tryin’ to get in another movie he’s doin’, and we’re gonna be doing a tour, workin’ on the next album. [We’re gonna] keep this thing running.
DJ Booth: Kuntry, I’m so happy that you’re finally going to get your chance to shine. Why don’t you give everybody a website or a MySpace page, something so they can find out more about what you’ve got goin’ on.
DJ Booth: I appreciate your time greatly, and I thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth.
Big Kuntry King: Thank you, brother. I appreciate you, Z. I hope I keep on surprising you, and showin’ you that I’m really here to stay.