Sunday, December 29, 2013

Conversation with Lil Wayne's bodyguard

Me with Lil Wayne's bodyguard, Big John.
The following dialog is an interview I did with rapper Lil Wayne's bodyguard, Big John. We talked during the summer of 2008, a couple weeks after the release of Weezy's "A Milli" video. It was cool because Big John was actually featured in the music video.

He got a lot of face time in that video. I used to hit John up once every few months to see what’s good. He’s cool, funny, knowledgeable and very down to earth.

This was another one of my favorite conversations simply because Big John was really putting me on to some new knowledge. Take a look at some of the things Big John and I discussed a few years ago.

Anthony: Big John.What’s good, man?
Big John: Nothing much, bruh. How are you doing?
Anthony: (Smiles.) I can’t complain. I’m feeling pretty good right now. Let’s talk about you real quick. You got major face time in Lil’ Wayne’s latest video. How was that for you?
Big John: It was cool.Know what I’m sayin.’That was really Wayne’s idea. Most of the time I’m kind of laid back. I’m not trying to be in too many videos. That was really Wayne’s idea. But it was cool. It was like I was working.

Anthony: Is that kind of what goes down behind the scenes during a Weezy video?
Big John: Yeah, somewhat.It was still directed. That particular video was done in ONE TAKE. That was the kind of video Wayne wanted to do. He actually shot three videos that same day. He was actually leaving
one video before doing that one.You can see that at the beginning of the video.
Anthony: What’s it like to work for Lil’Wayne?
John followed Wayne throughout the video.
Big John: It’s a fun experience.He’s a really smart dude.He’s really about his business.He’s probably one of the hardest working dudes I’ve ever been around.
Anthony: How did you two come in contact with each other?
Big John: Um, I actually used to work for Juelz Santana and Dipset. I got hooked up with Wayne through Juelz. They used to hang with each other quite a bit. But I really got the job during a Chris Brown tour in L.A. I had a fight with four Samoans.
Anthony:  Say what?
Big John: (Laughs.) Yeah. Everybody left me out to hang. I guess they thought I was gonna take an L. I came out of that one.
Anthony: (Smiles.) That’s wild. I know that you used to play football, but what kind of training did you have go through to do what you do now?
Big John: I’ve been doing this for 14 years. I was doing this while I was playing football, during the summer time.
Anthony: Were you a bouncer?
Big John: No, it wasn’t really bouncing. I was working with other guys. My first job was with Mad Lion (Dancehall rapper). They would call me and my crew when they came to town.We would hold it down as
long as they were in town. It’s been since ’95.
Anthony: How much do you miss playing football?
Big John: It was a good experience, but I don’t really miss playing. I’m at a different time in my life. That was what I did when I was in school. Now, I’m into my career. I more so miss the guys I played with. I miss the people.

Anthony: How much did you come in contact with coach (Bighouse) Gaines?
Big John: I used to come in contact with coach Gaines quite a few times. I was trying to play basketball too. I was all right on the court. I wasn’t sorry. (Both laugh.) But, I talked to him (Coach Gaines) a lot. He was
always in the coaches office, and we would sit down and talk.He helped me with different things.
A n t h o n y : What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced on the road in the last year?
Big John: One girl wouldn’t move her car. She parked her car right in front of the bus, like bumper to bumper. That’s probably the craziest experience I’ve ever seen. It’s not really a point of me seeing a lot. It’s really about me keeping Wayne safe at all times, because different people feel differently about Wayne in every city. That’s all.

Anthony: How do you have a personal life with your schedule and duties?
Bryan "Baby" Williams.
Big John: It’s hard. I’m married and I have kids. So, it’s difficult. But I do everything for my family and my kids.
Anthony: That’s what’s up.Hey, what’s Baby (Williams) like?
Big John: Baby is cool. He is real laid back. He’s the boss. He knows how to take care of things, and he keeps the same guys around him at all times. He’s like the people you see in movies. He’s the boss. It’s funny because people don’t think of Baby like that. He’s probably one of the most cool, laid back guys that you would ever talk to.He makes being there a lot better.
Anthony: I want you to tell everyone how much love Chris Paul (CP3 was a star for New Orleans at the time of interview) gets in New Orleans.
Big John: Man, Chris Paul has his face on the side of a building. He’s doing a crossover or something. Yeah. Right downtown.

Anthony: So, New Orleans is Lil’Wayne and Chris Paul?
Big John: Yeah. I would say that now it’s more Chris Paul because he’s physically there. Right now the city
belongs to Chris.
Here, CP3 poses with friends Game and Kevin Hart. 
Anthony: (Smiles.)Who do you keep up with the most from Winston-Salem?
Big John: I talk to Josh (Howard) and Chris most of the time. I also go back to see coach Blount every now and then. But I really don’t have too much time to keep in touch. I stay busy.

 Anthony: Are you treated like a celebrity when you go places nowadays?
Big John: Oh yeah, especially in the airports. A lot of people recognize me from the video. That’s the main thing. I honestly sign autographs and everything.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Speaking of that video. Where did the idea for the Mohawk come about?

Big John: I was getting a haircut. And, I was asking Wayne’s barber to give me a cut that makes me look big and crazy. He said that I was already big. He asked me if I would do the mohawk. (Both laugh.) I told him that I would try it. I’m going to keep it. Wayne messes with me about it all the time.
Anthony: When are you going to see Wayne again?
Big John: Actually, I’m going to L.A. on Thursday to do a video with T-Pain. I’ll see him on Thursday.

Anthony: Cool. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t doing what you’re doing today?
Big John: (Laughs.) I’d be doing bail bonds. That was one of the things that I was doing.
Anthony: OK. Do you have a favorite NFL team?
Big John: Oh, I roll with the Redskins all the way.
Anthony: What? You don’t like the Cowboys?
Big John: Cowboys? Who are they? (Both laugh.) I have been a Redskins fan since I was a kid.

Anthony: I hear that. Let’s finish with free association. Uh, Big John.
Big John: Works hard.
Anthony: Winston-Salem State.
Big John: Best school.
Anthony: Coach Kermit Blount.
Big John: Great man and coach.
Anthony: Tory Woodbury.(Former WSSU QB)
Big John: Good player.
Anthony: Young Money Records. (Lil’ Wayne’s record label.)
Big John: The best.

Anthony: No doubt. That’s what’s up.

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