© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Indie Rap Hero Bigg Jus: 'Poor People's Day'

It's not economics for me. The word is what's most important at this point in time -- I exist through this, and I exist through love. And I have fun doing it.

Bigg Jus has been a legend in hip-hop music since the mid-1990s -- just not in the mainstream. He's an "indie" rapper who's made his name in the genre's so-called underground, where artists cultivate a sound that's decidedly anti-commercial.

The latest CD from Bigg Jus, Poor People's Day, sports jagged rhythms and off-beat, politically charged lyrics that almost make the recording destined to dodge prime-time airplay. But Bigg Jus says his art has to come first.

"It's not economics for me," he says. "The word is what's most important at this point in time -- I exist through this, and I exist through love. And I have fun doing it."

Bigg Jus almost literally grew up on the streets of New York City, and that street-level knowledge and rugged and immutable sense of self-determination informs his message. Born Justin Ingleton, he was orphaned at age 4 and raised in an abusive household. Before he was even a teenager, he ran away and lived under bridges and in tunnels, living by his wits.

In the early 1990s, Bigg Jus teamed up with two other New York City-area artists to form the group Company Flow, and their fierce artistic independence made them heroes among hip-hop fans already weary of rap's trend toward commercialism.

For his latest project, Bigg Jus teamed with producer DJ G-Man and took on serious topics like global debt relief and the Iraq War -- unlikely subjects for commercial rappers more preoccupied with material success and good times.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tags
Christopher Johnson
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.