When people listen to music, they get inspired and it sets their mood and attitude – how they feel inside. But when music influences minds to stay positive and help them emotionally get through challenging times to make a person better, you’ve got music that is unique. This artist is ready to put in the work to achieve and is none other than young Urban Island rapper Big Myke from San Jose, CA. Growing up on the east side of the city, he’s been able to fuse his passion in life through music and creatively express himself as a rapper MC. With a fearless character and a focused mind, he shares with us the impact music has had in his life and where he is going with it.
TWID: Where are you from?
Big Myke: I grew up in San Jose, CA. I was born and raised on the east side of San Jose. My mom who is black and my dad who is Samoan had me and some people are ready to have a baby and some aren’t. My mom left me when I was just a baby and my dad was out gang banging with his friends. That took up most of his time. My grandparents on my dad’s side took me under their wing. So, they basically raised me all my life. They put clothes on my back, a roof over my head. My dad did 15 years hard time in the state penitentiary. I never had a father figure or a role model growing up.
TWID: When did you begin rapping?
Big Myke: I started rapping as a hype man for my cousin at the time who was a rapper at our family reunion. And then I wanted to try out rapping. It seemed like something I could express a lot of my emotions to and I kept going a long with it. I kept on going and rapping ever since 2005. I loved writing and it seemed like the right thing to do for me at the time to express myself that way.
TWID: Is writing music and lyrics a way to express yourself?
Big Myke: Yes, in a lot of ways. I’ve been through a lot in my life. I was always hard headed. If I’m just sitting there, I pick up a pen and paper and just start writing or type it on my phone. I can do this for hours until I feel better about myself. If I’m really feeling the beat of a song, it only takes me 10 minutes to write a verse, another 5 minutes to write a hook and I’m in my zone and it allows me to write a whole song in 20 minutes. If I sing, I do that at church or to my family. But when it comes to the microphone, I keep that all to myself.
TWID: Do you sing as well?
Big Myke: I probably do. I’m sure I got a little soul in me. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure I can hold a note. I just haven’t had the right timing to sing a song. I’ll do it because a big part of my fan base are ladies. I just never chose the route to sing. For example, people ask me if I’m a battle rapper. The reason why I don’t do battle rapping is because if it turns out whack, people are going to mistake that with my music. And it’s two totally different things, and I don’t want that to happen.
TWID: How has Hip-Hop influenced you in your life?
Big Myke: Hip-Hop has influenced me in many ways. It has made me positive in a lot of ways. Days that I’m down, I would write things down or use my phone to express my feelings, my emotions. My life was tough, so it would be something that I could rely on.
TWID: How does your Samoan roots influence you as an artist?
Big Myke: I was raised by my grandparents so my roots has showed me a lot of respect. It taught me how to be humble. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I respect all people older or younger. It doesn’t really matter. I show the same respect that I would show my grandparents and them. Sometimes people don’t show you respect in the beginning and that’s probably because they don’t know you but as they get to know you, people will respect you more. I would want people to know me first before they respect me. My grandparents are Christian and they are very into church. They always had an early Sunday morning, getting ready for church and Sunday school. I was a part of the choir.
TWID: What can we expect from you in 2012?
Big Myke: You can expect a new mixtape (Here to Shake the Game Up) on January 28, 2012. You should be expecting a lot more music videos, my album dropping at the end of 2012, and a lot more appearances. On my mixtape, I really don’t have too many mainstream artists. I just have a couple of local San Jose artists featured on there. I have Uce Hefner and A-Dough on a couple of songs but it’s mostly my own music.
“Always be humble, and humility will lead to greatness. I don’t feel like I’m too good for anybody. I don’t get ahead of myself. That helps me out and it works more for me in my day to day life,” says Big Myke. Behind the music, Big Myke’s struggle growing up wasn’t an easy road. As an artist, he has expressed his emotions through his music. Understanding respect for others and learning that as a young boy from his grandparents has kept him grounded and humble. There’s more to Big Myke than just being a music artist; he understands what it takes to get to the top. His independent mindset allows him to run his own path not relying on anything or anyone but his own merits which tells us that he’s here to shake the game up and that is WhatItDo!
For more information on Big Myke, you can follow him on Twitter.
-Article Written by: Elizabeth Lavulo
*Photos courtesy of Big Myke
*YouTube video courtesy of OnPointFilms