The Tribe & Big Cats! also known as, TTxBC may only be two people on stage, but in their words, “We’re like 15 people, and a couple jungle cats.” The Minneapolis hip-hop duo, and sometimes more made a splash at this years Soundset Festival. We caught up with them behind the scenes after their set to talk about inspiration, the hip-hop community, and what sets them apart from the others. Today their album, Space dropped on The Tribe & Big Cats! Soundcloud, for FREE! Get yourself the album, and read on about this Minneapolis duo.
Do you consider yourself underground hip-hop artists?
Chris: No. No. I don’t think we consider ourselves that.
Spencer: First of all, no. But I’m not even sure what that means these days. Cause like 10 years ago, K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar and everyone that is popular right now would be considered underground. You know, people doing shit without a record deal, like DIY type stuff that is what the underground used to be, but with blogs being the major source of music for people, and everyone buying shit digitally, independent artists do just as well a lot of times better than artists on major labels. I feel like there’s not that divide that there used to be. Also I like making money.
Chris: I LOVE making money.
With a name like The Tribe and Big Cats are people that have never seen you perform live before surprised, like, oh, that’s two homies!?
Chris: They have no clue what to expect.
Spencer: People will send me emails and hit me up on twitter and be like “Man, I really like your guys’ beats, you guys are really dope!”, and I’m like, (laughs) thank you, I don’t know who you’re talking about “you guys”.
When you bring people on stage with you to perform, do you have a normal call up for shows?
Chris: We just kinda tell them to come out. We usually work with our friends.
Spencer: The only people we are working with these days are the people that are the homies first, that also make music. People like MaLLy, where it’s like, they are just the homies that also happen to be really good at making music.
Chris: It just makes everything that much easier.
Who outside of the Minneapolis, or Minnesota hip-hop community inspire you?
Spencer: Shit, most of them are here today!
Chris: Kendrick, School Boy though he’s not here today, Big K.R.I.T., BJ The Chicago Kid.
Spencer: Katie Brown.
Chris: Death Grips.
Dude! That album!
Chris: (laughs) I love it!
Spencer: That’s all I’ve been listening to is Ab-Soul and that record.
Chris: That’s all you need to listen to.
Do you ever find it’s too easy to get immersed in the Minneapolis hip-hop scene or lose track of what’s going on outside of the Minneapolis hip-hop scene?
Chris: Not at all. I think the way we see it is, we don’t want to be bigger than Minneapolis, but we want to do shows everywhere.
Spencer: I think it is easier here than a lot of cities to get caught up locally. Because there is so much going on locally, and so much of it is so good. We have a really deep, really dope scene. You can go out every night and see a rap show and have it be dope. We try and stay in tune to what’s going on outside of that too.
Is there anyone on either of the coasts you want to collaborate with:
Chris: Smoke Dza, he’s out in Harlem.
Spencer: I’d like to work with Oddisee sometime, from D.C.
What do you think the predisposition is to an outsider if you’re a Minnesota hip-hop artist? Do you think being a hip-hop artist from Minnesota loop holes you at all?
Spencer: Obviously because of the success that Rhymesayers and now, Doomtree is having that comes to mind first, to a lot of people that aren’t familiar with the scene. In a lot of ways that’s a good thing, those are dope artists that have been doing it the right way for a long time. They have opened the doors for a lot of artists to really have success. If we were living in a town where there wasn’t a scene like that, or artists that have kicked open a lot those doors I think in a lot of ways it would be harder. But at the same time, I think a lot of dope acts do get over looked because there are so many established acts. It might be a little harder for less established acts to get a lot of press, and stuff like that. Overall I think it’s a really positive thing for Minneapolis.
Chris: What he said.
What is unique to what you are bringing to the scene?
Chris: Our live performance. And our albums are just real, when you listen to the album all the way through I feel like anyone can relate to it.
Do you have any plans for a tour coming up?
Both: Yes? Yes.
So we can look forward to seeing you guys before the year is out?
Spencer: We have a record coming out in July called, Space. And we’ll be touring that.
What is your advice for other hip-hop artists, DJs, MCs?
Chris: Be nice, and try not to suck.
Spencer: A lot of people as soon as they start rapping, making beats, whatever want to get out and start performing. There’s definitely something to learn from that, but I think it’s important to get good first. To study your craft, get feedback from people whose music you like, so that when you do present yourself you are already at a level where people are going to take notice of what you’re doing.
What is making it big to you two?
Chris: Living off music. I just want to live off music.
Spencer: I think that would be a common answer, is like, getting to a point where you can live comfortably where you can live off music?