Interview: Big Lou seeks and finds “Redemption”

Big Lou hails from Camden, New Jersey, and recently released the music video for “Redemption,” a powerful song about restoration and liberation.

While growing up, Big Lou found relief from the inducements of the streets through music, which allowed him to focus. As he began to climb the ladder to success, he discovered the people around him weren’t what they appeared to be. In the end, they ate him up.

But they didn’t spit him out. Big Lou refused to surrender. He’s back and more determined than ever. And he has the chops and talent to once again rise to the top of the hip-hop game, witnessed by his six Underground Music Awards and collaborations with Bruno Mars and Busta Rhymes.

Knowing what he now knows, Big Lou is well-equipped to achieve success, not only for himself but to help other artists along the way – he’s the CEO of the Lost City Nation label, which operates on The Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated, a rarity in the music industry.

The video for “Redemption,” depicts a never-ending line of artists gobbled up by the predatory music industry. As he watches, Big Lou realizes he needs to intercede on behalf of those who, like Prometheus bound, find themselves shackled and helpless.

Like Dorothy pulling back the curtain, exposing the machinations of the Wizard of Oz, “Redemption” discloses the way out of the music industry’s dark tunnel.

Rhyme Junkie sat down with Big Lou to discover more about how he got started in music, his challenges, and how he keeps his sound fresh and tight.

How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?

I first became fond of music when I was 13-years-old, my brother was a DJ and he always played the dope hip-hop songs like Eric B and Rakim, LL Cool J, Krs One, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, etc… you name it, he played it and I just wanted to be around him all day and by the time I was 15 I saw myself putting together rhymes and started loving every minute of it.

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What singers/musicians influenced you the most?

It was quite a few in the beginning. It was cats like Rakim, Kool G Rap, etc… but then I started noticing I was quite creative and wanted to do a track with some of the rock world or other genres like Duran Duran, Billy Idol, etc… just because the storytelling in music was always something I love doing.

As an artist, what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

Tuff question but I will have to say staying focused after losing quite a few years of my career when I was headed to stardom to falling down and fighting to get back to where I deserve to be.

Is your sound evolving? If so, in which direction? Toward R&B, trap, or some other direction?

It is most definitely evolving. I always try to add some flavor and stay with the times but never lose focus on what the goal is and that’s to uplift my people from the streets with timeless music that the world can relate to.

Hip-hop is by far the most popular music genre in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh and avoid coming across as derivative?

Well, I was always creative and I always hate to imitate a certain sound everybody else is doing, so I always try to keep my flair with some new creative flows and changeups within my creative process so the fans can really see that I’m doing them justice by entertaining them in many ways while staying true to my craft.

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What is your songwriting process?  Do the rhymes come first, or the music?

I would say a little bit of both. sometimes I hear certain drums in my head and patterns and others I may hear a beat I really like but the most pleasure I get is creating music from scratch and then putting the rhymes to it.

Why do you make music?

Healing. For me, I always made music that affected me one way or another. The song “Crackhead” was inspired by my brother; another song called “Stop Hitting Me” was inspired by domestic violence and me ready to walk down that road because my dad abused my mother and I found myself ready to do the same thing until  I caught myself and it led to me creating that timeless track which touched and helped a lot of people fight against domestic violence and changed me to a better man.

What was the inspiration for your new single/music video “Redemption?”

The Truth inspired that track. I went thru it and dealt with people forging my signature on contracts but then a team I showed loyalty to didn’t even help me and I felt the betrayal of the music industry but I refused to let that take me down and fought until I won my lawsuit and was able to be here making music today. It’s not where I should be yet, talking millions like before, but I am determined to be in those talks again and show people that you can succeed without selling your soul.

What do you want people to take away from the video?

Absolutely nothing. Certain things need to be addressed and if I get blackballed for being real then so be it. But I will always be a man with integrity, and they can never take that away from me.

Where was the video shot and who directed it?

I actually shot the video in Cherry Hil,l N.J. in a studio I work out of called Polygon Studios owned by a good friend of mine I’ve known for years that also recorded and engineered for me, named Rob Feturrici. The video was directed by Jimmy Giambrone, a great director who shot a lot of videos from Fabulous to Vinnie Paz, Freeway, etc… and always worked with me, also.

How are you handling the coronavirus situation?

I try my best to stay as safe as possible. A  lot of prayers, which is my number one priority, eating better, taking my vitamins to help my immune system, and just following basic rules that a lot of people do not follow, which baffles me, but to each his own. But I hope all you guys are staying safe, too.

Looking ahead, what’s next for Big Lou?

Movies. more music, building an empire with my partner and long-time friend, Ruben “RickyRube” Rivera, and helping other artists take their careers to new heights, like artists we have now – K.I.D., Str8 Drop, and even our poet, Khaliwop, and just changing up the whole scene of how a record label should be run. I just want to open doors never opened or tested before and help someone deserving to not make the same mistakes I did in the past and be great doing it, And I would like to sign off by saying thank you Rhyme Junkie for the interview and if you need anything from me or my artists, I got you. Bye and be safe from the Lost City Family.

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