King Biggs a.k.a. Julian Morrison, was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He is the Co-Founder of the Jamaican Hip Hop Label/Collective, Sons Of Liberty. Considered the “Mutant” of S.O.L., Biggs has been responsible for a number of S.O.L. releases since its inception in 2006 whether through his productions, or his lyrics. With the release of his upcoming project, “XXII” drawing near, 13th Street Promotions took the time out to have a chat with King Biggs to learn about his sound, his “XXII” project, and some of his favourite creations.
Who is King Biggs?
King Biggs is an artiste that produces and composes music as well who specializes in Hip Hop, Dancehall and Reggae Fusion. I always seek to break down rules and barriers but in such a way that paying homage to original elements is included. I believe that art is more innovation over imitation than the inverse.
As a Producer and Rapper, you tend to have more options when creating, describe your sound?
I mostly create Hip Hop, Dancehall and Reggae Fusion even though I’m not limited to that. I call my sound “Rich Noise” and it’s all about taking the main/traditional elements of each genre and bending them into something interesting. I really like to be surprised when I listen to music, so I aim to provide that for my listeners in different ways. My sound could be Pharrell inspired in one beat, Kanye in another with a Lee Perry sample in the background. All in all I leave my mark on everything I do, so it’s not typical or monotonous to the audience. That’s just whack!
Who are your influences?
My influences mostly stem from Hip Hop in the 90’s/00’s, Dancehall from that same era, Oldies ballads and Disco music. This includes Dr Dre, Dave Kelly, Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) from Equiknoxx Music, Timbaland, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Quincy Jones and Lee “Scratch” Perry. A lot of music was around me when I was developing because there was the radio on RJR all day, the loud Encava buses that drove pass St Richard’s every day and the people who blared their stereo systems when picking up younger siblings or children at the schools I attended. A childhood friend, Belinda Cousins also taught me a lot about music and gave me access to the work that should shape my identity today.
What made you want to pursue creating music?
Music was always with me in a special way, even before I realized I had the ability to make it. Whenever I heard Enya on the radio I felt like I could fly and theme songs when I watched cartoons were always a big deal to me. It was like the first part of a superhero movie where the hero is still clumsy and startled about the new found skills. I used to listen to Eminem a lot when I was about 11 or so and I would be fascinated with both the words and the sounds behind them. I realized Dr Dre was the mastermind behind most of it so I followed his work religiously with Belinda’s help, to the point where I wanted to create beats on my own too because I sensed that I could do it. There was a beat making video game on Playstation 2 called “Frequency” and making beats was really easy for me and I enjoyed it like Christmas, so after that there was no turning back.
What’s the process like in creating music?
In terms of composing sometimes a melody will come, sometimes I will just have the urge to mess around with FL Studio which is my main weapon of choice. Sometimes I will be playing on a keyboard and something strikes me or I might hear something else and it leads me to make more. A lot of it comes from hearing music from the people I look up to. Lyrically I turn memories or conversations I share with people into songs, that’s my new way of writing. I make sure my hooks are direct and effective though because that’s what get’s people going many times. It doesn’t make much sense to rhyme all over the place, just to have them skip after 15 seconds.
How do you feel about the Jamaican Hip Hop movement that’s going on now?
It’s good to see Hip Hop in Jamaica functioning as a community but it lacks the necessary infrastructure and backing to gain any real traction in this environment. Jamaicans culturally believe that only the glitz and glamour can verify the status or credibility of a movement or any type of business. It’s beautiful to see a natural flow from individuals making music on their own to something that is on a bigger scale, but at the same time it won’t bear any weight without corporate support or a lot of private capital due to the belief system of the audience. Jamaicans want to know that you “big a foreign” before they support you, especially if your talent is not in Track and Field or Football. However, many foreigners want to know that you have some sort of clout in your home country before they embrace you significantly so the Hip Hop community is still important. The movement is great but it currently lacks the necessary tools to really crack the surface.
You’re stepping out with a project titled “XXII”, why that number and what’s the project about?
XXII is about important moments in my life story up to the point of 22 years of age. It’s about the stories of a 90’s baby growing up in a Caribbean society going through prolonged Neocolonialism and Globalization. XXII is the “Section 90” to Kendrick’s “Section 80” reference but within the modernized Jamaican context. It’s in Roman Numerals because I feel like I’m from a different time period so it was more fitting than the standard notation. Another reason is that people are less likely to believe that I did it because Adele did the numbers thing first.
If you weren’t producing and rapping you would be ______?
RICH! Ha ha I’m half joking with that one. I would probably be finishing med school or at a firm doing marketing research. If I grew up in European country, I would probably race go karts on the side too. My major, economics, was planned around me doing music so if I didn’t have music in the picture my life would be completely different today. During my time at UWI (University of the West Indies), when I wasn’t looking at lecture notes, I would be making new music in the library or DOMS study room.
What are some of your favourite songs/productions you have done?
Here is a decent list that I came up with:
King Biggs – Remember Me (2010/2014)
Kabaka Pyramid- The Sound (2011)
The Therapist – Alone in the Dark (2012)
King Biggs – Corleone Gangsters
Tristan – Some Day (2013)
Sons Of Liberty – Natural Disaster (2013)
King Biggs- Black Mark II (2014)
Anything you want to say to the readers? What can we expect from XXII?
XXII is a collection of special life experiences in my life up to age 22. It’s a series of events that I turned into music and it has Hip Hop, R&B and Dancehall elements on it. It’s not a mixtape, but more of an art project based on it’s presentation so there will be no fake gunshots and DJ drops in the background. It’s really an inside look of the Jamaican story from the perspective of a 90’s baby that grew up in Kingston over the last 20 years, uncut.
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