Warning: This post contains some adult imagery.
Growing up in D.C., rapper LilBigBrother knew what it meant to need money. But the bigger conflict, for him, was love — the yearning for love from his father.
“He went to jail when I was 3 and came out when I was 9, and I felt like ever since he came out — because he missed so much of my life — he kept trying to buy me and my brothers’ love a little bit because he wasn’t around,” LilBigBrother says. “That’s cool, that you giving us money, but I would rather have the time with you. Let’s spend that money together instead of you just sitting at the bar.”
The song “Mine,” which LilBigBrother calls his personal favorite among his tracks, details the effects of his father’s habit of substituting money for lost time.
Warning: Explicit lyrics.
“And I been dealin’ with depression since an adolescent/Finna grab a Smith & Wesson/Put to my dome at any second/If it wasn’t for the love and my family blessings/I’d be all alone dead and gone with my family restin’,” he says.
The 22-year-old MC is the oldest but the smallest of his group of siblings, thus the name. In person, he has a calm demeanor — one very different from the emotional persona on “Mine,” which features fast rhyming and sudden tempo switches. Other tracks, like the smoother, more melodic and more stoner-oriented “Dopeman (Hootiehoo),” tap into his mellow side.
But despite those contrasts, all of his songs have one common characteristic, the rapper says.
“My music just got that bounce to it,” he says. “I can’t mess with a song unless I get that bounce feeling from it.”
The man born Sean Hamilton didn’t always have dreams of being a rapper. He was always artistically inclined — “I was a real theater nerd the first half of my life,” he says — but took awhile to realize that music was his main passion.
“My music just got that bounce to it. I can’t mess with a song unless I get that bounce feeling from it.”
“I went to Duke Ellington [School of the Arts], so I was around a bunch of musicians already,” he says. “We had a recording studio in our school, so a bunch of the people I was cool with made music. I wasn’t really trying to rap, I was trying to be a part of it as like, a label head. … One day they were like, ‘Sean, you should rap,’ but I had never thought about it. So I think I went and wrote a rap to ‘Lemonade’ by Gucci Mane, and that was the first rap I wrote.”
So far LilBigBrother’s musical output been released via a Soundcloud page, and he’s active on Twitter, but he hopes to expand on that exposure.
Warning: Explicit lyrics and adult imagery.
“I don’t care who listens to my music, as long as you listening to what I’m saying and understand where I’m coming from. As long as you know I’m not out here just making pointless music, then I embrace you as a fan,” he says. “All of my songs are a story from my personal life, someone that I know or things that I’ve witnessed people go through, and I just speak about it to maybe help someone else in that same situation.”
LilBigBrother’s immediate plans are to release his first official mixtape, Club Bounce, in conjunction with Nappy Nappa, another D.C.-area artist. The first single, “My Youth,” will have a video, the MC says.
As the interview ends, and he walks out of his favorite carryout in Columbia Heights, LilBigBrother has more immediate concerns, though.
“I just broke my cigarette,” he says, “and this weed brownie isn’t kicking in.”