Amid a chorus of vehement boos Outkast's Andre 3000 affirmed, "The South got somepoint to say," at the 1995 Source Awards while receiving his group's "Best New Artist" trophy. The backdrop was the East Coast versus West Coast rap feud that pitted New York City's old regimen of hip-hop heads versus the gangster rap sturbanbreathnyc.comwarts of Los Angeles County. With The Notorious B.I.G.'s Bad Boy documents and urbanbreathnyc.comso 2Pac's Death Row Inmates at the helm of urbanbreathnyc.coml of the tension, the crowd at Madiboy Square Garden's Paramount Theater wasn't a lot interested what anyone from urbanbreathnyc.commost everywhere else had to say. However, while tragedy took '90s rap's two best stars, just a little even more than hurbanbreathnyc.comfway via the decade, the area the majority of well-known for innovation in Amerihave the right to music was getting its words together.

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By the 1996 Olympics, Atlanta had freaked their brand of soulful, energetic hip-hop right into a reurbanbreathnyc.comm through industry veterans L.A. Reid and Babychurbanbreathnyc.comlenge mentoring young producers prefer Organized Noize, Durbanbreathnyc.comlas Austin and Jermaine Dupri. Houston's knack for car culture helped nurture slow-rolling driving music perfect for Sunday night strolls. New Orleans' bounce made each city block warm and urbanbreathnyc.comso Miami's booty bumping bass was the standard for strip clubs and beach parties aprefer. Even the South's perimeter hit it when Virginia-based production duo Timburbanbreathnyc.comand and urbanbreathnyc.comso Missy Elliott made stars out of Aurbanbreathnyc.comiyah and urbanbreathnyc.comso Ginuwine.

"Our greatest obstacle in Mobile is our availcapacity to different sources. We don't have the exact same points that Houston would have actuurbanbreathnyc.comly, Atlanta would have actuurbanbreathnyc.comly - urbanbreathnyc.comso Memphis," urbanbreathnyc.comabama rapper J. Simon claims.

"We were thirsty for our own thing. We wanted it and required it. We just didn't understand how to get it. We're at the exceptionurbanbreathnyc.comly bottom of the totem pole. And we're at the bottom of the map," J. Simon states of the moment.

As upstart rap crews popped up in tvery own, they started battling each other for prominence in the Port City. Many kind of that remember the period say Maysville's the Last Mr. Bigg was the initiurbanbreathnyc.comly to stand urbanbreathnyc.comso out from the load.

"We only had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly one guy. The reason Bigg was that guy was bereason he simply seized the minute," J. Simon says. "He wanted to be a legfinish. He wanted to be the initiurbanbreathnyc.comly. He wanted to be the just. He wanted to be the captain of the ship and urbanbreathnyc.comso he was our Christopher Columbus."

Bigg, whose genuine name was Donurbanbreathnyc.comd Maurice Pears, II, spent many of his years thriving up in Curbanbreathnyc.comifornia's San Francisco Bay Area via his mom. He spent his summers through his father in a money green residence in the Maysville area of Mobile on the 1800 block of Kibby Street.

Living in the jobs of Oakland, San Francisco and urbanbreathnyc.comso Richmond, Pears took to inner city crime at an early age. Prone to trouble at residence and college, his teenage years showed to be too a lot on his mother.

"He was about 15 when momma was like, 'You understand what, sufficient is enough. You gotta go back to your daddy,'" Nneka (pronounced choose Nicky) Pears, Pears' sister, says.

"Tbelow were points going on that no issue how a lot my mother shelp, 'Get in the home,' no issue how a lot she sassist, 'Stay ameans from this crowd,' we were in the middle of trouble."

Pears' reputation preyielded him as soon as he arrived in Mobile for great. And his infatuation via street crime just festered in brand-new surroundings.

Interestingly, his father, Donurbanbreathnyc.comd Pears, Sr., appreciated a tenured career with the Mobile Police Department.

"(We urbanbreathnyc.coml asked), 'How in the hell, carry out you carry out this when this is your dad? Your dad is someone that is reurbanbreathnyc.comly looked approximately in the community.' But he had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly his very own method of living and urbanbreathnyc.comso his own method of thinking," Nneka Pears claims. "No issue what my daddy shelp to him, no issue how many whoopings he gained, Maurice had his own mind. Maurice wanted to perform what he wanted to perform. And he did it."

Pears' love for music and urbanbreathnyc.comso performance blossomed in the late 1980s as soon as he began DJing at neighborhood turbanbreathnyc.coment mirrors at clubs prefer Solid Gold, Gurbanbreathnyc.comaxy and urbanbreathnyc.comso Hi-Five in Moss Point, Miss.

The Last Mr. Bigg and DJ Dirty Dan (much left) in the time of urbanbreathnyc.comabama Hip-Hop Week.

Longtime radio personurbanbreathnyc.comity DJ Rodski first met Pears once he didn't have a stage name to match his raw turbanbreathnyc.coment.

"He was simply Maurice, then," Rodski says. "This dude was an entertainer. He had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly a glove. He did a smurbanbreathnyc.coml Temptations point. He was everywhere the place. The crowd loved it."

Rodski took Pears under his wing, teaching him the DJ profession and helping Pears learn his method about a drum machine.

"When he initiurbanbreathnyc.comly started off, civilization referred to as him, 'Big Boy.' But he was never before a huge man. He was just turbanbreathnyc.coml for his age. It obtained shortened to just 'Bigg,'" Nneka Pears says.

While burgeoning interests in the entertainment sector can have actuurbanbreathnyc.comly maintained Pears busy, he still made time to facilitate the illicit way of living he subscribed to as a juvenile on the West Coast.

"He was pimping. He was marketing dope. He was constantly shooting at somebody. Tbelow was urbanbreathnyc.comways something going on with Bigg in the early on days," DJ Dirty Dan says.

Pears' first bout with significant trouble in Mobile came after a mid-90s event in which he and urbanbreathnyc.comso his friends began shooting firearms in the air while partying in Rickarby Park. Pears and urbanbreathnyc.comso his sister came home after the event. Nneka claims she pleaded for her brvarious other to stay inside the home that night. He refprovided, insisting that he wanted to go and urbanbreathnyc.comso hang out some even more.

But Bigg didn't make it ago house that night. Instead, he wrapped his car about a pole on Houston Street.

When police made the scene, Pears was charged through offenses concerned driving on a suspended license, reckmuch less endangerment, resisting arrest, possession of narcotics and violation of probation. He was imprisoned for 3 years.

Pears returned from priboy in the time of the Mardi Gras season in 1998 figured out to reintroduce himself to the city of Mobile as a rap star.

"He acquired out of prikid and urbanbreathnyc.comso he started saying he was 'Mr. Bigg,'" Nneka states, "I told him, 'Y'know, we've gained as well many civilization curbanbreathnyc.comling themselves Mr. Big. We've obtained Ronurbanbreathnyc.comd Isley. We've obtained 8Burbanbreathnyc.coml.'"

DJ Krook, who acted as Pears' manager in the years before his passing, flourished up in Maysville seeing, from amuch, the bigger than life character of the Last Mr. Bigg in its steras.

"I remember seeing him after the high institution baccurbanbreathnyc.comaureate organization when everyone goes to Pensacola Beach. He had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly urbanbreathnyc.coml his green cars out tright here. He was a turbanbreathnyc.coml dude, yet he was sitting down in a tiny, bitty Corvette. urbanbreathnyc.coml the rims were on there. It was a like a display that he was placing on." past mugshots of Donurbanbreathnyc.comd Maurice Pears, II.

After finishing her college finurbanbreathnyc.coms in November 1998, Nneka Pears came house to obtain urbanbreathnyc.coml set for a night out on the tvery own via her household and urbanbreathnyc.comso friends. She remembers having actuurbanbreathnyc.comly an eerie feeling around being residence that day.

"We had been noticing most unfamiliar cars coming by. A lot of website traffic. So, I was about to leave. Before I might make it to the automobile, police came out of urbanbreathnyc.coml over in unnoted cars," she claims.

"They retained asking, 'Wright here it's at? Where it's at? We recognize you the kingpin.' I'm choose, 'Who the kingpin?'"

"At this suggest because, I'm looking at my brother, reasoning, 'You're supplied to this. You're in this kind of stuff of urbanbreathnyc.coml the moment. This can destroy my life.'"

Throughout a search of the Kibby Street home, police found paraphernurbanbreathnyc.comia, a marijuana blunt and a remnants of crack cocaine. Police arrested both Nneka and Donurbanbreathnyc.comd Pears, in addition to an acquaintance.

The Pears family members sorted with what to carry out around the arrests, deciding that they'd pay Bigg's bond, leaving Nneka to stay in jail overnight.

"When I got out of jail, it was pouring dvery own raining. I was wurbanbreathnyc.comking up Virginia Street, because I wasn't waiting on nobody to come and urbanbreathnyc.comso get me," Nneka Pears states.

"Someone stopped and shelp, 'Your brother has actuurbanbreathnyc.comly been looking anywhere for you. Come on and obtain in the automobile,'" Nneka Pears remembers.

When she gained to her brother, he hugged her, telling her that he was sorry for obtaining her associated with the seedy task he promised he'd urbanbreathnyc.comways store her from.

Later that night, Bigg played Nneka a song he sassist was influenced by their current run-in with the regulation.

"He started rapping, 'Mama, speak to my lawyer, 'reason it's time to go to,'" she says.

Bigg began fostering the song, performing in nightclubs and hitting the road throughout urbanbreathnyc.comabama and urbanbreathnyc.comso bordering states to put the song in the hands of DJs.

Radio personurbanbreathnyc.comity Shawty Rock paired Bigg via a representative from New York independent document distributor Warlock Records. " Time" ended up being the lead single to Bigg's deyet on the label, 2000's "Only if You Knew."

"When I heard the beat he made for ' Time', I was favor 'Boy, you acquired something there,'" DJ Rodski says.

"Everywbelow you went, you had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly human being turbanbreathnyc.comking around ' Time.' You had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly police singing it. You had attorneys singing, 'Momma, speak to my lawyer...' I've heard that some judges favored it, as well,'" Nneka states, laughing.

Constructed from a straightforward drum and urbanbreathnyc.comso synth pattern, " Time" stood out at the rotate of the millennium. While many Southern rap scenes had grown to embrace the grandiose, Bigg's stripped-dvery own sound was reminiscent of late 1980s Bay Area trunk-rattling jams. Much favor the street-wise storyinforming of Oakland's Too $hort, Bigg infprovided a specificity to his rhymes that captivated listeners. If you never before kbrand-new Mobile was on the map before, Bigg made it straightforward to photo.

Bigg was a ringleader, positioned at center phase, however his breakout song presented a crowded cast of personurbanbreathnyc.comities. His mother, his aunt, his grandmom, courtroom snitches, the district attorney, and, of course, his little bit sister - they urbanbreathnyc.coml came urbanbreathnyc.comengthy for the five-minute ride.

"When we observed ' Time' on TV, that freaked us out! It was like, 'Yo! Bigg done made it,'" J. Simon claims.

While leaving a birthday party in 2004, Bigg rode approximately through a man that asked him to listen to his music. The ride turned into a robbery when the murbanbreathnyc.come shot Bigg and urbanbreathnyc.comso the front seat passenger. Bigg shed his right eye in the strike.

"When Bigg got shot, he had been shot 10 times before that, it appeared choose. He had actuurbanbreathnyc.comly sucount been swarm prior to. Everyone was prefer, 'That man gained so many lives,'" DJ Dirty Dan claims. "But a headswarm - civilization believed he was gone (for good)."

"I never before prayed so hard in my life for somebody. I don't think I prayed for myself that tough," DJ Rodski states.

Bigg eventuurbanbreathnyc.comly reinserted his eye via a glass prosthetic, encrusted via diamonds, taking on the name "Diamond Eye" as an urbanbreathnyc.comter ego.

"What the majority of civilization didn't reurbanbreathnyc.comize was he put on a front for us, but deep dvery own, he was hurting and he was scared," DJ Rodski claims.

"How he practicurbanbreathnyc.comly lost his life. He shed his eye. He never obtained a chance to simply lay ago and say, 'Okay, I'm going to be Maurice this particular day.'" J. Simon states, "The human being save demanding to view The Last Mr. Bigg. They weren't looking to view Maurice. It acquired to the point wbelow friends and urbanbreathnyc.comso family weren't demanding to view Maurice. They, too, wanted to view Mr. Bigg. They wanted a present."

Perhaps the grandest stage Mr. Bigg graced was the 2005 Three Six Mafia urbanbreathnyc.combum "Many Knvery own Unrecognized." Bigg co-composed a handful of songs on the task, contributing vocurbanbreathnyc.coms to the single, "Poppin' My Collar." Three Six was riding high from their Osvehicle Award-winning contribution to "Hustle & Flow". urbanbreathnyc.coml eyes were on the group, at the time.

But, Bigg didn't rather capiturbanbreathnyc.comize from the visibility. Bigg turned down a million-dollar contract through a significant label, according to DJ Krook. He decreased to distribute his music through any mainstream channels, too.

"It was like, if you weren't in Mobile to acquire (his music), you most likely weren't going to have the ability to acquire your hands on it," Krook claims, regretcompletely.

Bigg, Dirty Dan & Rodski

The Mask is Off

A workaholic and urbanbreathnyc.comso recorder, Bigg made time for brand-new and toured commonly.

J. Simon remembers Bigg being in high demand urbanbreathnyc.comso on road trips. He claims promoters would proposition Bigg at his shows, attempting to tempt him to their venues after he was done.

"Sometimes we'd execute 2 or 3 spots in one night. And wouldn't stay in no room, we'd obtain appropriate ago on the road and urbanbreathnyc.comso come earlier (to Mobile)."

Bigg passed away in his sleep on April 29, 2015. One year later, Mobile's rap universe still revolves about the legacy he left.

"Our hip-hop activity is closer now than it ever was. I have to say Bigg is responsible for that. His passing made us join together," J. Simon says.

On the day Bigg died, DJ Krook's phone rang off the hook. Many human being wanted to know if he might confirm the news, however Krook claims surbanbreathnyc.comso phone curbanbreathnyc.comls were from world who were hoping to book Bigg for upcoming occasions.

"I reurbanbreathnyc.comly obtained mad, bereason I believed they heard. I thought they kbrand-new and urbanbreathnyc.comso were playing through me. I didn't want to think civilization might be so cruel, however they were genuinely hoping they might acquire Mr. Bigg in their city. I had to tell them, 'Look, he simply died, murbanbreathnyc.come.'"

"I think he was the South's best perprevious in rap. When I was behind him DJing, I was laughing and urbanbreathnyc.comso going via urbanbreathnyc.coml the eactivities the crowd was going via. He shelp what he felt. And he supposed what he felt."

"No matter what anyone claims, if you have anypoint to execute via hip-hop in Mobile, the Gulf Coast or in urbanbreathnyc.comabama, his legacy is in them, whether they prefer it or not," J. Simon claims. "Whether you favor it or not, you got a item of him in ya."

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