The city of Boston has never been known for its Hip-Hop roots, as much as its known for its obnoxious sports fans. MC’s from the region that have managed to flourish are few and far between, but the handful that did build a name for themselves, continue to make the most of it.
Cary “Big Shug” Guy happens to be one of the alumni from the historical city, and longtime collaborator of the now defunct, but still legendary Gang Starr.
His contributions on albums such as Moment Of Truth, Hard To Earn, and Guru’s Jazzmatazz series opened the door for him to release his own projects like, Who’s Hard, Street Champ, and most recently Otherside Of The Game. Now its time to see if the man with the Gang Starr lineage will be able to start one of his own.
iHipHop.com: You came out with Otherside Of The Game not too long ago. Did you keep your format pretty much the same, or did you switch it up some?
Big Shug: I’ve grown on each album… I think I’ve stepped up my lyrical ability a lot, and I still do the hardcore joints that people are used to. So on each album, I know that I show growth.
iHipHop.com: Is there any meaning behind the title of the project?
Big Shug: Yeah there is… There are a couple sides of the game; like blue collar, independent, and a few others. I think my style is like the essence of Hip-Hop, because I’m the core, and I embody that. So that’s the part I bring, and that’s how I feel.
iHipHop.com: I also noticed that you have Termanology featured on the album. A lot of people associate Boston with the “Crabs in a bucket” mentality, how would you describe it now?
Big Shug: If you look at Boston artists like Term or myself; I’m the only one that really puts people on my projects, as far as sharing the light with others. On my newest album, three of the producers are from Massachusetts, so I wanted to let the talent be seen on this side. But that’s what I’m about, and I’m showing that lead, and I’m hoping that others might take to that as well.
iHipHop.com: Is this album also through Babygrande Records?
Big Shug: Nah… What a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of [these] independent labels aren’t about making an artist grow, they’re just about filling up their catalog. A lot of the time, they just sign somebody so they can keep putting records out.
They don’t really get behind the project until after the fact, and they find out how things could have been. So this project here is on Traffic Entertainment, and each move I make is usually a different move, and I’m still in it for the long haul and I’m still pushing ahead.
iHipHop.com: Speaking of independent labels, a lot of your releases have been through the independent circuit. Is that a road you’re content with, or would you join a major if the opportunity presented itself?
Big Shug: Of course if the opportunity presented itself, because I feel like I have a lot to bring, and I also have artists underneath me. There is so much that I can do on a major, and I’m just going to continue on.
iHipHop.com: At this point in your career, what are your feelings? Do you feel like you’ve been overlooked, or underrated?
Big Shug: I feel like I’ve been overlooked and underrated for a while, but now people are just starting to see it. There are people that don’t really know about the Gang Starr affiliation because they have been broken up for about 4-5 years now, and I had put out three albums in four years. So right now, I’m creating a whole new buzz, but the people are just getting onto it.
iHipHop.com: You’re also a co-host on DJ Premier’s Sirius Satellite Radio Show, Live From HeadQCourterz, how’s that experience been like for you?
Big Shug: I’m a natural radio dude, so it’s really not new for me. Plus you have to remember all the years that Gang Starr was doing sh*t, I was on a thousand radio shows… [Laughs] Every time we did one, I always took over, so it was more of like a natural thing for me. Anybody that knows me will tell you that I always keep it popping that anyways.
iHipHop.com: So could you ever see yourself hosting your own show?
Big Shug: Oh yeah, most definitely, that’s what they’re talking about now.
iHipHop.com: Obviously with your affiliation with Gang Starr and DJ Premier there’s no question that you represent the realism in Hip-Hop. But do you think with how Hip-Hop is now, that’s hindered you a little from reaching bigger audiences?
Big Shug: Not really because Gang Starr was just one sound, and what I do is not necessarily what they do. There is a hardcore edge, but I work with different producers as well that have their own sound and that is different than [DJ] Premier’s sound. I also sing, and I incorporate that within the music; so I don’t think it hindered me, I think that I’m on my route.
“Big Shug” was part of Gang Starr, but that’s when Gang Starr had their format. My sound has never been their sound, it was always “Shug’s” sound, and that creates something different within itself. It’s nothing against [DJ] Premier because he’s great, and we have chemistry, but I’m still navigating through this music.