Saturday, June 11, 2011

Artists to watch: Big Heed and Alien

Big Heed and Alien

Drummer-rapper duo Big Heed and Alien are taking the Atlanta hip hop music scene by storm with their crazy antics, slick drum beats and twisted lyrics. Atlanta natives Shaheed Smith and Ali Warren met many moons ago as youths at church and clicked musically; Big Heed is the MC with the large afro and Alien is usually shirtless in a fitted cap, who's out of this world with the sticks.
I snagged a phone interview with them last week, not knowing what to expect. Needless to say, I got an earful and took part in clowning around with the guys between questions. For instance, they call lames “rectangles” and joked about working at the MARTA station and Kroger if they ever dropped out of music. And most of their answers were out of this world funny! Nevertheless, they are bringing something fun and different back to hip hop, trying to restore originality that was so prevalent in the 90s.

Music heads should expect their debut album, "The Big Heed and Alien Show" from their label Sony Music Entertainment by the end of summer. Check out my exclusive interview after the jump!

RichaTee: For those of us just now getting to know you, tell us where you’re from and how did you meet?
Big Heed: I’m from the east side of Atlanta, and we met at church. I got familiar with Alien when he was playing basketball.

Alien: I’m from the fourth orbit, dropped out the sky, my parents found me...I was born in Jackson, Mississippi, raised in east side Atlanta, Lithonia.
RichaTee: What’s new in your musical journey right now? When can we expect your debut album, “The Big Heed and Alien Show?”

Alien: You’re never gonna get it because they’re gonna drop us. (laughs) We’re pretty much gonna throw mixtapes out and hope we die by the end of next year. We’re doing a countdown, it’s called the “Suicidal Countdown.” So, pretty much we hope you won’t talk to us next year so we can be like martyrs. So the album might not ever come out, we might not ever be seen or heard from again, you might catch us working at the Marta station. (laughs)

Big Heed: Or working at Kroger. If you’re waiting on some music, we’re definitely gonna give it to you.

RichaTee (to Alien): I can tell you’re the crazy one of the duo, huh?
Big Heed: Yup.

Alien: We both crazy. That’s why we play music and try to not have jobs right now because at this time, it’s not fun having a job because you can’t even get to your job because your job doesn’t pay you enough gas money.
RichaTee: I can tell both of you have some crazy, silly personalities. But, in terms of your style, musically and fashion-wise, how does that reflect your music?
Big Heed: We’re trying to start awareness against the people that take their whole paychecks to buy shoes when the makers of the shoes don’t give a f--- about your a-- anyway. So instead of paying your whole $550 for your two weeks in the whole on a pair of Gucci shoes, when you can go and buy a whole wardrobe for five years from my line.
Alien: We pretty much go for what some call the “bum look.” If we do come up with a clothing line, we’ll call it the “bum look.” It’s not about the red carpet, what you got on, it’s about what you’re saying on that muthaf----, know what I mean? Some girls think a n---- cute because he has on all Gucci and he’s really a lame. N----’s a f-----g triangle.
Big Heed: No, a rectangle, rectangle.
Alien: A shape.
RichaTee: So tell me why y’all chose “Tipsy” as your first single.

Big Heed: We came out this one first because it was the one they gravitated to the most, the one that made the radio because of what we’re saying. This is just the most sane one that could be played on the radio without somebody coming at us like that. Plus, we get tipsy when we got our little issues and our little problems, so you drink your sorrows away sometimes. So, you’d rather have fun while being tipsy.
RichaTee: But I’m sure that it’s something that a whole bunch of people can relate to.
Alien: Some people get tipsy on reading a book, pretty much whatever your vice is, or whatever makes you have fun. Everybody don’t drink, everybody don’t smoke. Some people do crack, get tipsy on crack. Some people get tipsy on pills.
RichaTee: When people listen to your music and see you play live, who do they compare you to? Who do you bring to mind for them? Are you something totally new, that they’d never seen or heard of before?
Big Heed: I could say yeah and I’ll keep saying yeah, because it doesn’t mean we don’t take or learn from any other artists. Off top, people are going to compare (us) to The Roots because of the drummer, you know ?uestlove is awesome. Black Thought is a dope a-- MC, can’t take nothing from him. But we’re not them. Everybody’s gonna compare you to somebody cause you got hair, they may compare you to LMFAO. People just compare you to anything they’ve seen before. But when you come to a show, we’ll blow their little socks and their girdle off.
(On Mondays, they play during the open jazz session at Smith’s Old Bar, downtown Atlanta, 9 p.m.)
RichaTee: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Alien: It’s all over the place. Jimi Hendrix, Andre 3000, Kurt Cobain, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Goodie Mob, Wu-Tang Clan. Old school music, anything from the 70s, Dave Grohl, White Stripes, Radiohead, Stone Age, anybody’s music.
Big Heed: With me being an MC, a lot of the rappers I really listen to have been out for 10 years. Some of the new ones. I listen to the Guccis and Flockas and stuff because they hood and they keeping it real and that’s all they know. Other than that, I think music is definitely dwindling away...and everybody’s falling victim to it right now. And the muthaf----- behind the desk they know it too, that’s why they throwing out little deals to people like that.
RichaTee: But y’all are bringing something entirely new and neat to the table, though.
Big Heed, Alien: Thank you.
RichaTee: Both of you have met and/or worked with some heavy hitters in the game, like B.o.B, Travis Porter, Andre 3000, and Cee-Lo Green. What kind of tips or criticisms did you take away from those experiences that you apply to your own work?
Big Heed: I learned to not give a f--- about what people think about you, because they hating on yo monkey a-- anyway. So if you’re good at something, somebody has to hate you. Because if they don’t hate you, you’re not doing something right. I learned to have the freedom of speech and go with your heart. Basically, just go with the beat and speak your mind. Nothing too hard about it.
Alien: Ditto on that.

RichaTee: So besides your musical talents, what other kind talents do you have besides acting and impersonating?
Big Heed: I think for Alien, all his artistic time goes into the drumming, that’s why he plays the way he plays. But me, I’m more of a person that has to channel my mind from doing stuff that I’m thinking or stuff that the voices tell me. So I gotta paint and sh--, or I do music. Do those two or I’ll be in limbo and you’ll probably never hear from me again.
Alien: Plus he also draws too, not just paints, he does a lot of graphic sh--.
Big Heed: And we’re coming out with a cartoon called “I hate my effin’ job,” check it out. If you go to our web site, you’ll hear about it. It’s gonna be very sensitive to people and help them understand what life is about and help them understand why you work the job that you don’t like.
RichaTee: I couldn’t work a job that I don’t have a passion for.
Big Heed: Yeah, that’s why we pretty much haven’t had a job in years now. But, it’s all for the love of money. It’s a lot of people out there that work jobs they don’t like. Money makes you kill people.
Alien: That check is good, and you go home pissed off every day when you go to your house, your check is good and you’re pissed off about everything else. You can have that sh--.
Big Heed: We bring the ugly sexy back...We were ugly boys back in high school, and we’re still the ugly boys but now, after you do The Mo’Nique Show, somehow you’re cute.

RichaTee: What was it like performing on 106 & Park and being on The Mo’Nique Show?
Alien: It was awesome. Like, 106 & Park was completely awesome. What completely pissed us off was they won’t play “Tipsy.” They won’t play our video, it’s not ‘family’ enough.
Big Heed: Well, they play “Bottoms Up” by Trey (Songz) and all them. They say if you cute like Trey and sold records like Trey they’ll play your sh--.
Alien: Like “Say Aah.” “Say aah, we don’t buy no drinks at the bar, we pop champagne cause we got that dough,” but we can’t say “I’m tipsy.” They played J-Kwon’s song “Tipsy,” I’m not gonna go there, but it was awesome. But we like the rebel style. It’s awesome being on TV, but it’s also sweeter being there and next thing you know, the person that performed after you that week is now on tour for BET and you’re still sitting at the house and you were supposedly you first house band for 106 & Park.
Big Heed: It’s weird how things are, but it’s just the way that the universe played them out for us.

Alien: Being bad ass is awesome, we love seeing ourselves on TV, we want it every day now. Because now people think we good, so that’s what’s up. You think I’m good, I’m awesome, so why not make some dang on money on the side, change the world and have some kids that wanna be rapper-drummers instead of vocoders.
RichaTee: That’s great though. Is there a show that you really want to appear on?
Big Heed: I wanna be on Robot Chicken.

Alien: Robot Chicken, The Warped Tour, Ozzfest, Rob Dyrdek show, wouldn’t mind bringing back Jackass, Taj Point O, you can put us on South Park and make fun of us cause our cartoons gonna come right back at ya, and put us on there cause we’ll make fun of everybody.

To learn more, read their bio and check out their music, visit Web site

Check out the video for the duo's song, "Tipsy."

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