Monday, 28 March 2016

Young American-Based Nigerian Rapper, Big Reeno Chats With THq

Big Reeno
Meet US-based Nigerian rapper, Big Reeno. In a chat with THq, Reeno who says he has been into music professionally since 2008 lets us into his world and shares some career tips for up and coming artistes. If the name Big Reeno is new to you, check out the video for his song Home featuring King Los here and let us know what you think. Find excerpts from our chat after the cut. 

Big Reeno and Sean Kingston

THq: Hi Reeno, can we meet you please? Tell us about your background from Nigeria, and how did the name Big Reeno come about?
Big Reeno: I'm your friendly neighbourhood rapper Big Reeno. I was born in Lagos and went to Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Ogun State. Ummm, the name Big Reeno was actually given to me by my older brother. I had a wack ass rap name when I was younger, so he made me do his chores, and in return he hooked me up with the name Reeno (laughs). I was a chubby, tall kid at the time so I threw the word "Big" in front of it.

THq: So, being a college graduate, education is obviously important to you. Was music always on the cards? How did you come into music?
Big Reeno: Oh yea! Definitely. I've been writing music since I was 7 years old. My entire family is big on music. My mom had a big music collection. She enjoyed music from every genre possible. From R&B, to Country, to Rap, to Classical, to everything in between. So we always had music playing all over the house. I didn't know if I wanted to go all the way and make music my career or if I wanted to do it as a hobby, but I always knew it was something I wanted to do in some capacity. I'm a very strong song writer so I used to write Hip Hop, R&B and even Pop songs at the time. The more I grew, the more I started to focus more and more on Hip Hop.

THq: How long have you been into music, what type of music do you play, and what inspires/influences your music?
Big Reeno: Well like I said I've been writing music since I was 7 years old but I started taking music serious and trying to make a career off it in 2008 after myself and my producer went to a music conference in Miami. I just saw the hustle a lot of up and coming rappers have and met some good executives from record labels like Def Jam and G-Unit and these guys inspired the hell out of me and let me know that I really had the talent and the skill to make it. All I needed to do was really polish my sound and get my hustle on. So I did (laughs).

My sound is Hip Hop period. Sometimes I'm serious on a track and spit thought provoking stuff or just spit a bunch of lyrics and metaphors and shit, and sometimes I'm in the mood to turn up and have a good time, so sometimes I make records that reflect that mood. You know what I mean? So you can never put me in a box. As regards what inspires or influences me, I'm inspired by everything around me. I'm inspired by my experiences, by the experiences of my friends and family, I'm inspired by good music of other artists, and most importantly, I'm inspired by my fans. They make me wanna be better, make better music and be the best version of Reeno I can possibly be.

THq: So how has the music journey been for you? What have been the high and low points in your journey/career? What artistes have you collaborated with?
Big Reeno: I've collaborated and toured with a lot of artists. From Nelly, to Sean Kingston to Flo Rida to Taio Cruz to Jeremih to Waka Flocka to Kid Ink, just to name a few. I've been pretty blessed. My music journey has been great so far. It’s been a roller-coaster ride but I can’t complain. There's a lot of artists out there that will kill to be in the position I'm in right now so it'll be a slap in their face to complain. Funny enough, so far, every disappointment in my career has turned out to be a blessing. It never seemed like a blessing at first, but months or years later, It always turned out to be a blessing. So I've learned not to question God's plan. As regards the high & low points of my career, I can’t really say I've had any low points really. There have been big opportunities that I've worked on that didn't materialize and yea it sucks when that happens but I can’t really call them low points. It's sad but you just gotta keep it moving. But when it comes to high points, I would say going on tour in Asia with the homies Taio Cruz & Sean Kingston and performing sold out shows with over 20,000 screaming fans in attendance, that was definitely a high point. I didn’t even realize I had that many fans in Asia. So to go there and see them singing my songs and they can barely speak English, that was definitely a blessing.
THq: Are you signed on to a record label? What advice do you have for young upcoming artistes with respect to contracts and choosing a label as well as picking a team?
Big Reeno: I have been approached by a couple big labels who made me offers but after discussing with my team and negotiating with the labels, I have decided to stay independent and keep doing my thing with my own label Hustle Proof Records. The reason is a lot of record labels will make you all kinds of promises and tell you everything they know you wanna hear and they have no intention of following up with any of those promises. Plus they wanna own everything from your masters to your publishing and everything in between. This is never good because your masters and publishing is what guarantees an artist that even 30years after your career is over, you are still gonna be making money off the music that you put out. That’s why you see a lot of artists who had huge hits 10-20yrs ago but are broke right now. They most likely signed the rights to their music to the record label. So the record label keeps making money off the sweat and talent of the artist while the artist gets poorer and poorer. Another thing labels love to do is tell you what kind of music to make. I can’t stand that. As an artist, I wanna be able to create what’s in my heart without any forces telling me to do something else.

My advice to upcoming artists would be to invest in themselves, learn the music business and know your worth. A lot of up and coming rappers wanna make it but don’t wanna make the sacrifices, both financial and otherwise, that they need to get themselves out there. If you are not willing to invest in yourself and your dream, why should anybody else?

THq: You tweeted recently that you love touring. Tell us about your love for touring. What about touring does it for you?
Big Reeno: Oh yea! I love touring. I love being on stage every night performing in front of my fans. Best feeling ever! (laughs). I just love the rush of being on stage, entertaining people. I love looking into the crowd and seeing people singing along to my music. Most of all, I love being able to just meet and connect with my fans. Nothing beats having that personal, face-to-face connection with the fans. Being able to shake their hands, give them hugs, sign autographs, take pics and all. That right there is why I really love touring. The money ain't bad either. (laughs).

THq: So what’s next career-wise?  Are you looking at penetrating the Nigerian market? Are we to expect any collaboration with any Naija artistes?
Big Reeno: Ummm, the Nigerian market is not on my radar as of yet. Soon though. I have a lot of connects in the Nigerian music industry and I have a lot of respect for what a lot of artistes there are doing. But I'm a big believer in doing one thing at a time so that you don't get overwhelmed. My plan is to first conquer the US market before spreading my wings back to Naija. It will happen though. All in due time.

Thq: Would you consider yourself a romantic man? If you wanted to take a girl out on a romantic date, what would you do?
Big Reeno: (Laughs) I definitely consider myself a romantic guy. If I wanted to take a girl on a romantic date, it really depends on if I'm really trying to go all out or not. I might get a limo to go pick the lady up, you know? Might even decide to fly her out of town for the night (laughs). That's real talk though. I don’t wanna give out too much so that y'all niggaz don't copy my shit (laughs).

THq: Do you listen to Nigerian music? Which songs are you feeling at the moment and which of our artistes stand out for you?
Big Reeno: Hell yea I do. Me and my boys be turning up to Naija music all the time. I love what Davido is doing, I'm diggin what Burna boy is doing, Tu Face is the godfather, P-Square is talented as hell, Phyno gets me hype all the time, Don Jazzy stays on point and my guys at Syndicate Records Lynxx and Blink. I stay up to date with my Naija music.
THq: Please tell us about work you have put out. What has been your biggest hit? Any albums out yet, what’s the latest singles out and where can we cop them? 
Big Reeno: My biggest hit so far is my track with Sean Kingston called "Celebrate". It was a top 10 hit in Asia. I dropped a free EP in 2014 called Watch My Indie Throne. It features Sean Kingston, Dizzy Wright, former Puff Daddy/Bad Boy Records artist King Los and more. You can check it out now on Spotify and on my Soundcloud page You can find all my music on there too. I am currently working on a new album that will be out before the end of the year. I can't give details on it now but I'll be sure to let y’all know once the time is right. Watch out for that.

Music video: Big Reeno ft. King Los "Home"
Social Media:
Snapchat: BigReeno

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