Rise & Grind is a new editorial series, meant to introduce and dissect new, buzzing, or underground artists.
Memphis is currently gaining its grip on the rap game, once again, when it comes to the new generation of rap. From the likes of Moneybagg Yo and Yo Gotti who’ve built empires highlighting the talent in the city, to OGs like Juicy J and DJ Paul who’ve helped lay down the blueprint.
Earlier this year, we highlighted Pooh Shiesty as one of the first artists featured on Rise & Grind. Nine months later, we have the pleasure of hosting BIG30 for our weekly series. Both Memphis rappers have been grinding their way up to the top as solo artists, but they came into the game together. BIG30 admits that if it weren’t for Pooh Shiesty, he probably wouldn’t have even thought to be an artist himself.
Coming off of the release of his debut project, King Of Killbranch — an ode to his stomping grounds of Millbranch in Memphis, TN — he’s finally showcasing the potential that people like Moneybagg Yo, Yo Gotti, and even Funk Master Flex have been raving about this year. His debut project defined him as a solo entity, separate from Pooh Shiesty who many have compared him to over the years. King Of Killbranch is an introduction to BIG30 in the most adulterated fashion.
“I just wanted to introduce them to me and what I got going on so they can feel me for me. And not just — they just know a n***a as Choppa Gang, BIG30. Pooh Shiesty’s brother and sh*t. I had to make them folks feel me for me,” he told HNHH.
BIG30 joined us for the latest edition of Rise & Grind where he shared an update on Pooh Shiesty, the imprint they’ve left on Memphis, and Moneybagg Yo’s role in shaping his latest project.
Stay tuned for a new instalment of Rise & Grind every Monday.
Sh*t, my hood is like every other hood, you know? Poverty, dope selling going on. You know whatever [is] going on. I ain’t just gone say wake up every day [and there’s] killing and gunshot but you know, this sh*t go on everywhere this sh*t go on. But my hood done change since I done got straight, got myself together and sh*t. My hood done changed. It ain’t bad as it used to be. My n***as come through and give back. But I’m from Winchester, Millbranch.
I just remember waking up and just being able to be with all my n***as everyday. Like, my n***as that don’t have a long time to chill, my n*ggas that passed away. I remember everybody being as one all together. That’s the only fond memory I can think of. We got thousands of memories, I can’t just pick a memory and say I remember one day we did this, you know what I’m saying? That sh*t isn’t that exciting but was fun to us. It ain’t like we had no artist and sh*t like that. It ain’t like we had no celebrities come through or nobody come give back and sh*t. We just had each other.
My homeboys proud of me, fasho. You know, they proud of a n***a. I come back and take care of sh*t. I really come back and post up in my hood. I just make sure my whole hood is straight and sh*t.
I’ve been trying to get into Zodiac signs and sh*t lately. I just can’t get all into it. But yeah, it’s true what they say about Capricorns.
Top 5 DOA:
My top 5. It’s gone me and Pooh Shiesty, off top. I’ll go Gucci Mane. Future and MoneyBagg. Take me out and put Yo Gotti in.
They made it okay for a n***a to rap this street shit. For people to draw into this street sh*t instead of just one genre of music. It’s a whole different type of culture. People wanna see this sh*t. People want to see how our hoods look. What’s going on in our hoods. Get a lil’ peak about what’s going on in the streets. So they opened up the door for a n***a to be able to do it.
I put my mixtape out. Damn near went number 1. I went gold on “Neighbors” and performed at Rolling Loud and sh*t like that. I signed my major deal. I signed to Interscope.
Studio Habits & Essentials:
Aight, boom. I gotta be fresh as hell. I gotta have the racks on me, I gotta have something to talk about. I gotta have the members with me. Sh*t, you know we gotta have exotic drugs and sh*t in there, fasho. Some type of drank and exotic and shit like that. Probably a lil ratchet, some hoes… sh*t like that.
I got some bad studio habits. I don’t like recording when there ain’t that many people in there. It either gotta be a full-ass studio or just me in there. I don’t like recording in front of two, three people. I don’t know why. I just don’t.
Shit, my bad studio habit. I don’t be finishing songs like that. I’ll lay down 16 bars, 28 bars, and just go to the next song or leave the studio. Like, that’s enough work for the day. I end up giving a song away because it has an open verse.
King Of Killbranch:
Really, I couldn’t think of no mixtape name so it was just what was going on at the time. I brought hope to my hood and sh*t. Now they know that they can make it out of there ‘cause they watched me make it out of there and sh*t. I really woke up one day and made that sh*t happen. That sh*t just happened in so sh*t I just felt like that was the perfect title for my mixtape.
I just wanted to introduce them to me and what I got going on so they can feel me for me. And not just — they just know a n*gga as Choppa Gang, BIG30. Pooh Shiesty’s brother and sh*t. I had to make them folks feel me for me.
[The artists featured on the project] is people I fucked with and met in real life. They weren’t just on no ‘I need a feature’ and just hopped on there. They just fucked with me, pulled up on me, did something for me.
A couple of mutual friends. I know somebody who knows somebody and we got in the door like that. And you know Yo Gotti from Memphis. He gon’ come through anything for Memphis that’s going up.
Moneybagg Yo set up my mixtape. Like, he ordered. He chose the first song, second song, all the way to the last. I just record ‘em.
I don’t really know. I ain’t really be like that verse. You know how a n***a don’t be liking their first songs and shit?
[My first studio session] we was live in that hoe. Me and the members, we was about a 1000 people in that. We in there deep. We made a song ‘bout 7-minute long. Me, Big Scarr, Shiesty, Baby K. Shit, we made a song ‘bout 7-minute long, comin’ like Three 6 Mafia or something. That hoe bumping. It was like a closet studio in somebody’s house.
Sh*t, I was in Memphis the first time I touched the stage. We’ve been getting booked for little shows downtown and in little parts of the city.
Our city has been supporting us from day 1. They behind everything we did. From freestyles on Facebook, every song, they been telling us ‘keep going.’ Singing that sh*t word for word. We a big influence, a big crowd so it’s a lot of people supporting and posting our sh*t.
To keep it 100, it be hard to come out of this sh*t. People won’t even let you come out of being a rapper. They won’t let it go. But sh*t, when I get a chance to get away, I’ll go get up with my kids, you know what I’m saying? I’ll skip town with my kids. Go take my kids somewhere. Or shit, go somewhere with the guys. Go somewhere fun that we ain’t been yet. Anywhere we ain’t been that we couldn’t go when we were little. Probably go to Disney World, California or Florida. Just anywhere. Somewhere where they [people] don’t just be all over me.
We’ll go to Florida, Vegas, get a big ass Airbnb. Pool, lil sh*t in there. Get drunk or some sh*t. Pop out on the strip, go throw some clothes on. Pop out in some exotic rentals, ‘bout 6-7 cars. It’s gone go up wherever we go, GOD.
I’m finna hit them folks with the deluxe “King of Killbranch.” Then I’ma turn around and get ready for my album. By that time, hopefully, my brother will be home and me and Shiesty gon’ do that collab tape. Sh*t, so y’all for sure got a deluxe, an album, and another mixtape coming out from me soon. I’m talking about back to back.
I wanted to talk about ‘Breaking News’. I know you said that was the first joint that put a battery in your back. Could you just bring me back to filming that video? What’s the biggest lesson you learned since recording that track in terms of being in the booth?
Shit, that was like one of my first songs. A n***a had to find themselves. Since then, a n***a done found the rhythm and know how to put the shit I done seen and went through in the rhymes and words and make it sound good on a beat. But I ain’t like that song for nothin’ in the world. I used to have to perform that hoe. My fans used to like that song and sh*t. And like, Shiesty and the girls and sh*t, they used be telling a n***ga me keep going and sh*t. I’m happy they told me to keep going. I really was straight. I was gone play the backfield and let Shiesty do his thing.
So Shiesty was the one who kinda pushed you toward the rap in that sense?
For sure. Shiesty did that.
How far along is the joint tape with you two? I know you guys previously announced it but obviously with his legal situation and things that are happening right now, that must have impeded plans.
This is what happened to a lot of our songs. We had our tapes together. This is how we was finna came into the game. It wasn’t finna be no Shiesty Season or no King of Killbranch. We were finna come in the game straight on some collab shit. Some of them songs that was on Shiesty Season, some of them was supposed to be on my tape and sh*t. Them songs that we dropped between our tape and before our tape, some of this sh*t was supposed to be on our mixtape, but we spread that sh*t out and made it work for both of us because we signed two different deals. That’s how we was doing instead of putting it all on one mixtape. We gon’ make that sh*t work. That sh*t still coming. Sooner than yall think. Soon as he touch back down we going straight back in.
How’s he been holding up? I can imagine you probably had a few conversations with him, right?
Man, he good in that hoe. He good. He ain’t missing sh*t but his freedom. He good in that hoe. I’m telling you, he’s coming right back. It’s just a lil’ setback. He ain’t letting it break ‘em. He is there sobering up, getting big and healthy. He good. He ain’t missing sh*t but us.
I know you put out a little message the other day where you were telling fans to stop comparing you guys. I think the line that stood out to me was: “The goal isn’t to be better than my guy, but it’s pretty much to build with each other.” Just going back to you and him pretty much coming into the game together, can you elaborate a little bit about that statement in terms of just kinda having similar sounds but wanting to push each other in this rap sh*t?
This sh*t like, bruh — ‘cause we real brothers. This my best friend. That’s my n*gga, I look at him like this my momma son. Remember your mama just get on yo ass? Like, why you fighting yo’ damn brother? This yo’ brother. Y’all should be fighting other people. That’s how I look at this sh*t. Why would I be competing with my brother? We got the same goal. If he wins, I win. If I win he wins. We ain’t on none of that comparison ass sh*t or none of that slick envy sh*t.
Was that only something that happened on the internet or did you guys hear those comparisons while you were buzzing in the city?
That sh*t happened on the internet. That sh*t be in person. He gets around a motherfuck and I ain’t around and they gonna say, ‘You really harder than 30.’ I get around a motherfucker when he’s not around, they’ll say some sh*t like, ‘Man, I ain’t gone lie, you harder than Shiesty.’ Just some bitch ass shit. I really be like why is that even coming to your head? Why is it [that] when you hear my music that’s the first thing you wanna say? Why is that even coming across your head?
What do you think you guys are bringing to the table right now for Memphis rap that may have been missing before you guys really had your breakout moment?
Sh*t, I feel like we [are] bringing back that Geto Boys, that NWA, that real-deal street music. That raw shit that ain’t cutting sh*t out. That’s talking about what’s going on in the hood every day. N***a aint talking about all these $250K cars and all these watches [that] nobody know what it is. N***a talking about sh*t everybody can relate to. Even the rappers or millionaires and sh*t, they’ve been broke, so they can relate to this sh*t. Or even the folks that are still going through that sh*t today, they can relate to sh*t. We gon’ tell you how it is and what’s going?
When we look back in 5-10 years that we’ll be including your guys’ names alongside the Gotti’s, Three 6 Mafia, and the 8-Balland MJG, do you guys think you will cement that status for this era of Memphis [rap]?
Hell yeah. I think we laid it down. I think it’s to the point where even though we [are] still newborn in our career — still early in our career. Our first impression and how we first came into the game, you can’t forget about us. There’s a couple of rappers, Zed Zilla and shit. Like, we ain’t never forget him. 8Ball & MJG, we gon’ never forget about them folks. They did they thing in Memphis. They legends. Not saying we gone stop here, I’m just saying that right now, we stamped that, like this is what’s going. You’re gonna be able to talk about us for about 10-15 more years. I really feel like we gon’ be active for about 15 more years. Sh*t, Gucci [Mane] he been on for about 20 years. Sh*t, Gotti in about 15 years. I know we could do this shit for 10-15 more years. This shit nothin’. It ain’t like we lying, running out of lies or nothing. This sh*t off the dome. It’s for real.
I wanted to ask you because I’ve interviewed FunkFlex who’ve had mad praise for you specifically, and obviously people like Bagg, Gotti, and even as recently as Juicy J, they all praised the new project. Does approval from the OGs in the game hold any significance to how you approach your craft?
Hell yeah. N***as be needing them lil’ pats on the back from the OGs because it be like, I’m doing something right. I made him reach out to me. I made bruh from all the way up there, or the GOAT, his status all the way up here, and I made him look down and say, ‘Young n***a, you doing your thing’ or ‘keep going, young n***a. I see it in you.’ Come on, it’s a million people trying to rap out here. I’m not saying I’m the only person they are saying it to but I’m one of the select few they saying they doing their thing, saying he gon’ make it far.
I wanted to ask about your post on O’Block. I know you got a very good relationship with MuWop and obviously, you got Durk on the project as well but — it’s not necessarily your neck of the woods. What was Chicago’s reception to your presence?
I fuck with them. I fuck with 300, O’Block, and them. I met them in Atlanta really and we was going to the studio. But we locked in and we share the same story. A n***a really did come from the slums. Really comes from the projects and sh*t. We really can relate. Carry ourselves the same way.
So boom, they wanted me to come to they hood, just like a couple of them came to my hood. Just to see how each other live in this sh*t and feel each other all the way out. So shit, I went out there. Shit, it really was the same thing. Every rapper says this, it’s like home. Every place they go is like home. But real deal cuh, Chicago is like home. They like Memphis. I done been to a lot of places around the world. Chicago’s like Memphis. They on that. They just got more police out there and sh*t. I fuck with them guys.
Coming from Memphis, what is it about Durk, Chief Keef, and the different guys on the Chicago Drill scene that resonates with you?
Sh*t, them folks just got different accents. Them folks saying the same thing. You can put their accent on a Pooh Shiesty or BIG30 song and it’ll sound the same. ‘Cause we talking about the same sh*t, just different accents. A n***a talking about what’s going on in their hood every day or what’s going on every day around the world.
The final question I got for you is where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
Sh*t, I see myself bigger than I am now, on another type of level. I’ll probably have a couple of artists, my foundation with my family, and a record label, and sh*t like that.