Long Island Rapper/Producer Big Breakfast's New Album 'Ringtones' Follows His Own Path
Sharp bars, fire beats, let's go.
Photo by George Douglas Peterson
Big Breakfast is a rapper and producer out of Long Island who’s affiliated with the New York / New Jersey Smoker’s Cough crew. His new album Ringtones, premiered below here, is packed with madcap beats and rhymes, a sharp New York City wit matched to sharp sample-based production that gleefully skirts past the sound of the radio to something a little more timeless. “It’s rough trying to come up and not trying to jump on whatever’s cool right now,” he tells me on a sunny afternoon in VICE’s flower garden. He’s not a card-carrying Real Hip-Hop Head; he loves loves underground and radio rap alike, but the finicky business of trying to figure out what comes next in hip-hop is too shaky for him to worry about anything about what interests him personallly. Stream Ringtones below and and purchase on Friday right here.
So you’re from Queens or Long Island?
From Long Island. I live in Queens, but I’m from out East on Long Island.
What’s the scene like out there rapwise?
Um, not as good as it could be. There’s rappers that are decent, but they don’t do anything, and the rappers that do do stuff are just, like paying to get on shows, like, pay-to-play, open at the Emporium for Ja Rule and stuff. It’s weird.
How do you feel about outer boroughs rap being sort of a Brooklyn story for a lot of people who pay attention to hip-hop?
It is, but a lot of people say they’re from Brooklyn, but they’re not... I mean, Long Island has some popping artists from back in the day, but now with the internet it’s mainly just rich kids that have the money to shoot a video, and they just shoot a video. That’s it.
Talk to me about Smoker’s Cough. How’d you get involved?
GDP from Jersey. That’s my friend. He started it a year after I met him, and a year after that he wanted to put stuff out for me. It’s kinda been on hiatus, but it’s coming back right now. He’s been touring with this band the Front Bottoms and taking photos and stuff, so he hasn’t really been around. But the past year, I’ve been trying to finish this album so we can get something out. I think we’re gonna do cassettes with Smoker’s Cough.
How long have you been rapping and producing?
I’ve been rapping since high school—but not seriously—which is, like, ten years ago, but 2011 is when I really started making beats and recording myself and really trying to put things out. But the past couple years is when it’s actually become a thing.
How do you decide what you’re gonna sample? The thing that caught me is when you sampled “One in a Million”?
I don’t know. I like to do stuff that people will recognize, but obviously you can’t do that and sell it. But I’ve been giving my music away for free anyway, so I kinda haven’t been sweating samples, really.
Do you think if shit takes off you’re gonna have to start digging deeper, or…
I’m kinda trying to stop sampling as much for that reason, but that’s my favorite thing to do. I love MF Doom and Madlib and stuff, and that’s all samples. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.
Talk to me about the new record.
I moved back to Long Island for a year and lived in my sister’s basement and pretty much only did that and only work for the past year. I would come here to work and then go home and just work on my record. But it was actually pretty nice because I had a big basement to myself, and it was mad quiet. At times it was like… you’re stuck in the basement for twelve hours straight making the same song, and you don’t even like it anymore. I like the finished product. I’m happy with it. So, that’s what matters, I guess.
But do you feel like the process of making it was exhausting? Glad to be out of the recording phase?
Definitely. 100%. But it’s definitely the most well put together thing I’ve done yet so I’m kinda happy with it. My last album was cool, but I just really started trying to make beats hardbody in 2014, really. That was me figuring out my style of beats. I spend a lot more time on the beat than the rhymes now. I like making an entire song and being like, “I made this song.”
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