“You Gotta Take Pride In What Made You”: An Interview With BigXthaPlug

Eric Diep speaks to the Texas rapper about entering contests for his music, how he balances the rap life while being a father, the state of hip-hop in Texas and more.
By    March 21, 2023

Image via Jarrod Anderson

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Eric Diep is enjoying the era of Lil Yachty and Don Toliver ayahuasca retreat albums.

When BigX enters a room, the energy funnels in his direction. It’s after 10 pm when he finally pulls up to his Feb. 9 album release party at Digital University Studios in Grand Prairie, located about 20 minutes west of Dallas. The 24-year-old rapper is in a full Gucci sweatsuit and wearing his Inner Circle medallion as “Mr. Trouble” blares through the speakers. Camera phone flashlights are beaming on him. This is the first album release party I’ve been to in Texas that’s had multiple pop-up vendors for weed strains and people making made-to-order pasta and pepperoni dishes with a side of fries. I write in my notes “a lot of gas,” as the blunt smoke thickens. The event space is packed, mixing fans with industry players and artists like OG Bobby Billions and Sensi Molly.

At the moment, BigXthaPlug is the pride of contemporary Dallas street rap. In rap history, Dallas’ influence doesn’t get the same shine as Houston, but it shouldn’t be discredited for introducing D-Town boogie, jiggin’ dances, and shag hairstyles into the culture. BigX stands on the shoulders of Dallas rap pillars like Big Tuck, Dorrough, Mr. Pookie and Mr. Lucci, and Yung Nation to become the next exciting voice for locals to champion. And with his debut album AMAR, things feels like they’re a step closer to national ascendence.

The crowd goes up once BigXthaPlug starts performing “Badu Flow,” which samples“Didn’t Cha Know,” and shows off his ear for the classics. “Rush Hour” and “Levels” are Triple D anthems to the core, encouraging you to put your foot on the gas and speed down I-75. “Bacc to tha Basics” mellows things out, emphasizing BigX’s bellowing voice. Whereas other Southern rappers made it off Auto-Tuned melodies, BigX’s specialty is straight raps about the ups and downs of robbing people to get by, repping his set, and getting his shine on. His dreams of wearing designer after leaving football behind to hustle and his time spent in jail color his songs. The definition of real.

For our interview, BigXthaPlug calls in from Houston where he’s paying a visit to in-demand jeweler Johnny Dang to get a custom grill. “I’m actually getting my mouth redone,” he says. “So I had diamonds that I already did but I’m doing a whole different set with Johnny Dang. It’s just a part of showing we winning and we taking over the top, you gotta get new jewelry. You gotta separate yourself.”

One of the first videos that went viral for y’all on Twitter was this clip of you and Rosama. Y’all were rapping on a rooftop. Do you know what I’m talking about?

BigX: Yeah, you’re talking about “Rap N*ggas.”

What’s the story behind that song? Everyone was sharing that clip.

BigX: I’m going to be honest with you. So at the time, we just had some close friends of ours they just like Ro said, “turned into enemies.” So instead of us just acting out, we decided to put it in a song. The true emotions went crazy. You can hear at the end of the song we all went crazy. That was real life.

Who thought of the idea of rapping on the rooftop with the Dallas skyline in the background?

BigX: The day we shot that video was my birthday. I had opened up for Maxo Kream, he had a show in Dallas. We went and did the show. I changed. Mo Visuals, we already went crazy before when we dropped the “Safehouse” video. At the time, I was really only working with Mo. He was going out of town with me. He was doing everything with me. They felt like, “OK, let’s do another one of these and really just put on for the city.”

Can you tell me about HalfPintFilmz? How did you two meet and how has he helped your career?

BigX: Man, HalfPintFilmz… believe it or not, he is one of the biggest stepping stones. I don’t know if you ever heard of Go Yayo, but ever since Go Yayo came out, HalfPint was one of the hardest cameramen in Texas. He is still top five to me. Either way it goes, at the time, he was doing these little $50 live music reviews. If you wanted to skip the line, it was $100. I put up one song and paid $50. And I won the first one. And I won another one and I won another one. Every time I won, I would pull up and I’d be shooting a video to an entirely different song.

When I pull up and shooting the video, he’s like, “this ain’t even the song that you won the competition to, but this hard too!” You know what I’m saying? He saw that I ain’t no one hit wonder. I was constantly working and I wasn’t scared to invest in myself. He saw all that. After I won the third one, he looked at me and was like, “Aight listen, you can’t do this contest no more.” I had got upset at first. I was like, “What you mean? We got a good thing going. Don’t mess it up.” He was just like, “Nah, don’t even trip. I’m gonna shoot your videos for free from now on.”

What was the first video he shot of yours?

BigX: “Big Stepper.” That competition, I won with the song “Mr. Trouble.” When I pulled up and I shot “Big Stepper,” he was like, “Bro, you just won the competition to a whole another song.”

It was actually crazy because that first video I pulled up two hours late to it. I just reached into my pocket, I had $200 in my pocket. At the time, he was charging $2,000 for videos. I was like, “Man, look. I know the video free. I don’t got $2,000, but I got $200.” He wasn’t even expecting that. It showed what type of dude I was and we just locked in from there.

With your buzz building off of HalfPint, when did you drop Bacc from the Dead?

BigX: So the Bacc from the Dead stuff, that was right when I got out of jail. I got the infamous story about how I got locked up, missed my son’s first birthday, and I was in solitary confinement. When I got out, that’s when Bacc from the Dead came. I think I made one song.

I was just some big ass rapper, stopped and came back. But I dropped one song months before and I got locked up. I was just making music. I wasn’t even dropping, I was just making the songs. Even though it was stupid ’cause I should’ve just dropped the songs. I used to drop songs every two weeks to stay consistent. But instead of that, I just dropped a little six-song EP and called it Bacc from the Dead and went from there.

But the big part of my career was those little music reviews. When it wasn’t HalfPint, I was doing it on someone else’s Live reviews from Atlanta. That was a big wave that was coming through. Everybody was doing reviews for money. Every competition I did, I won. Never Satisfied had a competition with an actual in-person performance. We won that one. That’s the people who shot the “Mr. Trouble” video.

You’ve shared your story of starting rapping in jail and writing in solitary confinement. Lil Wayne famously wrote a prison memoir while he was locked up in Rikers Island. In that environment, what was going through your mind at the time?

BigX: Really, if we are being honest, it was a sanity thing. I was trying to keep my head on right. I got to counting bricks and talking to myself more. I could just feel myself slipping. I felt myself becoming what everyone else was. They got a certain thing they call “prison mind.” You stuck in jail; you got a jail mind. I felt myself going into that. I was like, “Nah, I can’t think like that.” I just got trying to thinking of other ways to keep my mind off that and music was one of the ways that popped up.

Did it help keep your mind sharp and distracted?

BigX: Definitely kept it sharp, definitely kept it distracted. I honestly felt like it helped me more because like even when I was school, I felt like I wrote more in those couple of days in solitary confinement than I did in school.


BigX: I wouldn’t say it helped my pen performance ’cause I still got a doctor’s signature, but more so my word choice. It helped me with thinking before I do because I write everything. So when I write it, I go over it. How they used to teach you in school. I write it, edit it, revise it, all that stuff. It helped me as a person. You got to look at everything like this in life. You see it, you look at it, you analyze it, you edit it, you try to get it to where it is as perfect as you can and then you act before you do. My dad told me that a lot growing up but I didn’t listen. It took me a minute to figure it out.

Those lyrics you wrote in solitary confinement, do you still have them?

BigX: What’s crazy is when I got out…like I said, when I was in there, it was just something to keep my mind straight and keep me good. You ever seen the little videos of NBA YoungBoy getting out and Finesse2Tymes getting out and they got that manila folder full of paperwork? So I had one of those. But when I got out, the first thing I did was throw those away.

When I got out this time, I’m looking at it like, “Okay, you got a child now. You and child not in the same household.” That was the first thing I was trying to do was get me and my child under the same household. In order for that to happen, I had to get the household. So I had to do what I had to do to get the household. Since I got that roof for my son, I ain’t done no dirt since then. It has been straight rap.

With Amar, you’ve said this album is more than just about making music. You’re making an everlasting legacy.

BigX: For everyone that’s around me. Once I’m dead and gone, and once the people who are around me, who are loyal to me, making sure that I am good every day, once they gone, their kids and their kids’ kids is still gonna be good. That’s what I am doing it for.

That’s very layered for this project.

BigX: Just the project itself, if you’re listening to every song, I’m talking about things I used to do, that I had to do for my son. His name is probably in every song, if I am not saying his name, I’m saying “my son.” The album is everything I’ve done before and everything I’m doing for him and everyone around me.

How has it been balancing raising your son and connecting with this new fanbase that continues to grow every day?

BigX: The fanbase stuff is not hard because I am a people person so that’s not the hard part. The hard part is being away. We got to go on the road a lot so being away from my son is kind of an issue but it’s different. When I got out, I told my son ‘I’ll never be gone again.’ I was talking about I’ll never be in that situation. I’ll never purposely be away from you, you know what I’m saying? I’m doing it but it is for a greater cause. I’m doing this to keep this roof over your head and make sure you’re good forever. It’s pros and cons with all of it, you can’t have the best of everything. You can’t win everything. You gotta lose some and win some. But he knows.

What’s your opinion on Texas hip-hop?

BigX: I really made “Texas” because I felt like Texas needed an anthem. I knew it needed a voice and I was making myself that voice. I felt like me making that song was me solidifying that. Not only am I the voice, but I am showing that this is for us. I was making a lot of songs and I was saying a lot of stuff about Dallas, Dallas, Dallas, but it is bigger than Dallas. It’s Texas. I’m trying to put on not only the world, but my state. Everything is a step and a layer and that was one of the layers that solidified BigXthaPlug. Taking over the city first, then you gotta take over the state. Now we are trying to take over the world.

Why do you want to rep Dallas?

BigX: You gotta take pride in what made you. I wouldn’t change nothing. Everything, the way it went, I’m glad it went exactly the way it went ’cause I wouldn’t be here. I’m in a better position to take care of more people. Even if I did go to the NFL, that’s not for long. I could’ve got hurt my first season. I couldn’t have played the game. That would’ve just been a dream that I accomplished. Yeah, I got drafted and I am in the league but now what? With this, I could do this forever. I think Ice-T is still making music, you know what I’m saying? I could do this forever.

With me being independent, I could never make music again. As long as people keep playing that’s already out, my son is still going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. Everybody can still be taken care of. Why? ‘Cause we independent, that’s all us.

Do you ever think about revisiting the football dream or is that behind you now?

BigX: Technically, I am. We already did the XFL theme song. We all over ESPN right now. “BigXFL,” that’s their official theme song. You know ESPN runs the same commercials and highlights all day. We really already touching the field but I am pretty sure we are going to get it to the point where it is not just an XFL song, it could be used for so much different stuff. I feel like the NFL might end up using it. I know little league teams are already using it. I’ve been getting tagged left and right. I just feel like it is like “Texas.” I feel like it could be another global song. I feel like eventually I’ll end up performing on that field.

Do you think there is unity in the Dallas rap scene now?

BigX: In my little class, yessir. Before, no. The MO3 class. RIP to that man, but in that little class, nah there wasn’t. It was a lot going on. It was a lot of this side versus this side. It’s all coming to a close. Sad to say that MO3 died that’s why it is coming to a close. Ain’t nobody else to beef with and I’m kind of paving the way for everybody to see that we ain’t gotta beef or talk about this person in music to prosper. I feel like I’m starting a little trend.

How do you feel about getting co-signs? You got Shaq and Bun B in your corner. You just opened for Erykah Badu for her birthday bash.

BigX: I’m very grateful for the co-signs. The Bun B co-sign, he told me right out of his mouth, “you’re the man in Texas.” So that shows I had Texas. With Erykah Badu, she had me come perform, and gave me two hugs by the way.

Two hugs?

BigX: Yeah, two of ‘em. And she told me, “You the man in Dallas.” So that let me know I had Dallas solidified.

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