Popnog 10: Big Dipper On Eminem, Kickstarter and What Makes Him Twerk
By Stacy Lambe
Probably rap's raunchiest bear, Big Dipper has been making a name for himself since being dubbed as one of Details' "hip-hop's queer pioneers." Since then he's released a new mixtape, Thick Life, as well as raunchy videos for "Meat Quotient" and "Summertime Realness," all the while pushing the buttons of fans and detractors alike. Dip, who is currently in New York City for a peformance at Santos Party House, took the time to answer the Popnog 10. The rapper offers his thoughts on Eminem, Kickstarter, and what makes him twerk.
1. You've run three successful Kickstarter campaigns. What made you turn to the platform to produce your music videos?
Big Dipper: It started as a way to making a one-off dream project come true — having a really well-made music video for "Drip Drop." Then basically two years ago music and videos became my full time job, so I got to continue to produce more stuff. I have a really high standard for my visuals and that costs lots of money. As an independent artist, I literally have no funding, support, investors, anything. I am able to do what I do solely because of the interested and supportive online community that donates to the campaigns. They give money, flirt, send me dirty pics, watch my videos, download my music, and come to concerts. And their generous and awesome donations let me and my insanely talented friends collaborate on music, live shows, videos, costume and fashion creations, and anything else that pops in my head.
Kickstarter has been totally completely awesome, and I have been really lucky with my three projects, but I think it's time to start taking things into my own hands. I am super grateful, but I don't want to push my luck.
2. One of your rewards was a private concert. Two backers took you up on the offer. How were the shows; what can you tell us about them?
Big donors are crazy. It's so totally nuts to give a person you don't know that much money. They did it, however, and must be thanked accordingly. Unfortunately, neither one of these donors was able to host a private show due to scheduling, so they opted for a nice T-shirt package. I know! What? It's nuts. Their generosity is amazing.
I have, however, played private shows, like birthday parties, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. It's always fun to play with an event DJ in someone's backyard in a tent with a catering staff. My show is even better when it's more personal.
3. What's the craziest thing you've done during a live performance?
Probably stripped to a jock strap and fed the audience bacon while I rapped.
4. You love to push the envelope with your music and videos, any pressure to top yourself each time you create something new?
YES! I always want to work harder, make everything bigger, better, more expensive, better cameras and beats and clothes and cooler locations. That is all fine and good, but my super smart collaborators always convince me it's better to work smarter, not harder.
I definitely want to push myself with everything I put out. My new mixtape, Thick Life, is leaps and bounds from where I was as a writer when I put out They Ain't Ready. My new website is updated and better, my stage show gets better every time I pick up the mic, and my videos will continue to evolve with my Big Dipper vision.
5. You mentioned once that you started off with spoken word before turning to rap. Mary Lambert incorporates spoken word into her live performances. Any chances you may explore the genre again?
Spoken word was just like a gateway for me. The music speaks to me way more than the lyrics. Sometimes I'll have the DJ stop the music and I'll circle back and just spit a lyric slower and repeat it a few times to show the audience just how really dope it is.
But to me, the exciting thing about what I do is the combination of the music and the lyric, not just the spoken word.
6. Speaking of Mary Lambert, if there was another queer artist you could collaborate with, who would it be?
I’m really into Le1f. His moody style and complex music production are so left field for my style. I think collaborating with him would be really interesting. We always have a cute time when we talk when I see him out, so I think I could bring an even goofier side out in him. That would be fun.
7. You've cited Eminem as one of the reasons for getting into the rap game. Have your feelings about him changed at all?
Everyone comes from somewhere, right, we have a history and an upbringing that dictates how we understand the world. How we choose to navigate things after that is up to us. I respect him as a rapper and an artist. He says what he wants to say and does what he wants to do. I just don't understand why some people can't see the bigger picture and just use another word when they write. He has to get it by now, like, even just that people are going to make a big deal out of it.
BUT, the man did change my whole perspective in 7th grade, so he still has points in my book. I just ignore the current shit. With him, I'm focused on the past.
8. Over the summer, you participated in the Accidental Bear Queer Music Summer Benefit Tour benefiting the Ali Forney Center. Any chance that there will be another tour next year?
I definitely think Mike Enders and Accidental Bear are working on another tour, but I don't think I'll be involved. We had a total blast this past summer, but I think he's going to curate more of a singer/songwriter, folky, rock sound for the tour.
I'll be touring on my own, though!
9. Who is making you twerk right now?
The new M.I.A. [record] is great. I love that Angel Haze song, "Echelon," and I’m always down for Iggy Azalea, Kelela, Ian Isiah, and most people on the internet. Not Lady Gaga right now.
10. Let's play "Fuck, Marry, Kill." A bear, an otter, and a twink walk into a bar, who do you…
Woof. Kill the twink, fuck the bear two or three times, and marry the otter (outside at the beach or get gay married in my home state of Illinois).
But Big Dipper doesn't play favorites. Everyone is welcome to his show on Tuesday, November 19 at Santos Party House. The show is free, doors open at 8 p.m.