Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation

Daddy B. Nice's #11 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation by Daddy B. Nice
 




"I Did My Time"

Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation

See the chart.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "I Did My Time" on YouTube.

July 25, 2021: Daddy B. Nice's Profile

Twenty-some albums, and he's still truckin', he's still relevant. Robert Smith (Bigg Robb) was born in 1967, the "summer of love," in the humid, sizzling, 12th of July heat of Cincinnati, Ohio. In the eighties Robert became a long-running Cincinnati deejay ("Sugar Daddy From Cincinnati," playing commercial R&B, rap and hiphop), a position from which he secured interviews with Bootsy Collins of Funkadelic and Roger Troutman of Zapp. Collins and Troutman had recording studios in the area and Troutman in particular became Bigg Robb's mentor---Robb working as valet, personal assistant and eventually studio mate. By the time Roger Troutman was shot to death by his brother Larry in a Cain & Abel-style murder/suicide in 1999, Robb already had a rap album and other production work under his belt and had joined Zapp, playing mainline synth-funk.

One night on a Zapp tour date in Greenwood, Mississippi, Robb met southern soul star Mel Waiters---whom he admits he had never heard of---and witnessed Waiters' stage show (singing "Hole In The Wall," "Got My Whiskey" and other hits) and the reaction of his impassioned audience, and thus began one of the more remarkable transformations in contemporary southern soul history. A Parliament-Funkadelic/Zapp disciple from Ohio experienced a Mississippi Delta epiphany.

The change was gradual, however. Although Bigg Robb championed and to an extent almost "owned" themes like "big women" and "grown folks" that dominate southern soul to this day, he served them to chitlin' circuit audiences in elaborate synth/funk extravaganzas featuring an ensemble cast of lead and background singers (Da Problem Solvas being only the most prominent), Robb himself costumed in wild glasses and regalia befitting George Clinton.

Around 2007, with more than a few albums under his belt, Bigg Robb found the funkiest, hiphoppish song in the Johnnie Taylor repertoire, a song with a druggy (minor-key?) ambience reminiscent of mid-period Sly Stone: "Good Love," written by the legendary southern soul writer/producer Charles Richard Cason. It was actually the "crossover hit" of Taylor's later career, and your Daddy B. Nice gives Robb great credit for being smart enough to recognize the song was his artistic bridge over the abyss to Southern Soul heaven.

The first time I heard "Big Man Love," his remake of "Good Love," I knew Bigg Robb had succeeded. All the best elements (and none of the worst) of funk were present: a bass line like a mule kick, a classic sample, a technically-perfect, synth-laced arrangement and production. And, on top of that--the magic ingredient, as it were--Bigg Robb's brilliant, over-the-top monologue on the virtues of big men versus skinny men.

"Now the ladies, they've found out that
A big man will pay your bills.
A big man will run his fingers through your hair and massage that new growth.
And a big man will make love to you all night long,
Even help you take care of the kids you made with one of those skinny guys."


All of Robb's genius is visible in that snippet from the song: the humor, the alpha male taking charge, the intimacy with the audience, the cadence of words tumbling out in a seemingly limitless stream-of-consciousness.

While Robb had always rapped, it had never taken place within the exalted instrumental tracks evident in these brash new songs. If "Big Man Love" was the first indisputably southern soul song that perfectly captured Bigg Robb's genius for monologue, "I Thought She Was At Home's" street-wise confessional was an absolute bomb.

With Big Woo wailing on the melody, Robb amped up the energy by rapping over the bass and drums, his leisurely, finely-detailed account of the pitfalls of betrayal as funny in a new-generation way as the legendary, loquacious Bobby Rush, as reassuringly confident as the mighy Latimore holding forth on the long, rambling and passionate preamble to his classic, "Let's Straighten It Out."

"Big Man Love" and "I Thought She Was At Home" were the first in a series of signature southern soul makeovers that defined Bigg Robb's early career, culminating in the masterpiece, "Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry," the centerpiece of Bigg Robb's 2007 sampler: Blues, Soul & Old School. A scant five-plus years after meeting Mel Waiters, Robb had reached the pinnacle of Southern Soul music, artistically speaking. Instead of bending soul to fit funk, he had bent funk to make soul.

The track's original singer, Carl Marshall, was nervous (see DBN interview) about the joint effort, and whether the Bigg Robb remix has diminished or burnished Marshall's reputation is for posterity to decide. (Robb gets the bulk of the attention, but he also brings Marshall attention he might not otherwise have.) In any event, "Good Loving Will Make You Cry (Remix)" exploded on the southern soul scene like Phil Spector's "wall of sound" in The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" exploded on the early-sixties, rock and roll audience.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry" on YouTube.

Along with poorer-cousin, boilerplate funk jams like "Fill It Up," "If I Get Drunk," "Blues & BBQ" with Denise LaSalle and "Cutting Up" with O.B. Buchana, big-production anthems like "Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry (Remix)" have etched the peaks of Bigg Robb's career. "Good Loving" was followed by Robb's remix of the Klass Band Brotherhood's "Sugar Shack" (feat. Mz. Jackson), and its subsequently even-longer remix. Then came "Let's Straighten It Out," in which Robb took on the big man himself with a successful update and remix of Latimore's classic. "I Did My Time,"Robb's reworking of the Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," is only the most recent in this distinguished lineage.

"This song is dedicated," Bigg Robb intones, "to all my brother and sisters who've been through the incarceration process. Also, to their families, 'cause nobody does their time by theyself. There's a lot of mothers and fathers and loved ones shedding tears...listening to their loved ones. To those that been locked up, freedom is in your mind, because it's not what people say about you, it's what they can get you to believe."

And Robb is just getting started. Later in the song he says, "I ain't a goon no more / And I ain't a thug no more," only he's not talking it, he's slipped into singing it. And if there were any invisible barrier still left for Bigg Robb to demolish, it is that he can sing at the drop of a hat---and sing well---with ease, with comfort, as evidenced by superb, Robb-sung songs like "Don't Be Ashamed" and "Everybody Makes Mistakes". And what other contemporary male star delivers the content embodied in these last two singles or the previously discussed "I Did My Time"? Bigg Robb is the conscience of southern soul.

These days Robb is inclined to do it all. He will sing, with or without synthesizers. He'll play a fierce lead-guitar if the mood strikes him, as he does in his latest "breaking" single, "Evidence". And, of course, he will pontificate like a preacher of the streets, with an unerring sense of what will mesmerize his audience. And that is how a funk-loving Ohioan came to inhabit the epicenter of southern soul culture and bring an instant smile of recognition from all the soul-loving, blues-loving "mens" and "womens" of the South.

*************
Scroll down for biography, discography and more. To automatically link to Bigg Robb's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the many other pages of the website, go to Bigg Robb in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
************


**********
Note: Bigg Robb also appears on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul (2000-2020) and Daddy B. Nices Original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (1990-2010).
**********


--Daddy B. Nice


About Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation

As a deejay in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bigg Robb (born Robert Smith) met Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic and Rober Troutman of Zapp. In an interview with Blues Critic's Dylann DeAnna in 2007, Bigg Robb described the importance of these two masters of eighties funk on his life:

"Bootsy Collins came to the radio station and did an interview with me at 6 in the morning and people swarmed to the radio station for this interview with Bootsy. And Bootsy came looking like you've always seen him look. Star glasses, spikes, the clothes and, dude, I was stunned! That was the moment. The defining point and I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. Whatever Bootsy does that's what I wanted to do. Be an entertainer! Then I saw Roger and once I saw Roger perform I was, like, "It's a wrap! I'm going to be up in this music thang!".

Robb's remix of Mel Waiters' "Hole In The Wall" (a perennial Top 10 Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul Singles 90's-00's) marked Bigg Robb's entry into the world of chitlin' circuit, Southern Soul-styled music.

However, the Southern Soul influence wasn't apparent right away. Robb's first albums (both those under the name Bigg Robb and those under the name Da Problem Solvas) were very much in the northern-funk style of George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Roger Troutman.

But there were pronounced affinities to Southern Soul music as well. "Grown Folks music," which became the title of Robb's first non-rap CD, was one such connection, because it played to the Southern Soul fans' exhaustion with hiphop-dominated, contemporary youth culture.

Another theme in common with the traditional Southern R&B fans (and one which became the title of his second LP) was Robb's fascination with "big" in general and "big women" in particular (usually spelled "bigg" in Bigg Robb's world). Bigg Robb's first signature single was "The Big Woman Song," memorialized in the The Big Woman CD in 2003.

Both were largely funk-rapping concoctions, with Robb playing "master of ceremonies" to a musical format that varied greatly in quality from song to song. Witty, flamboyant, and a charismatic speaker, Robb was nevertheless not a "lead singer."

As a matter of fact, the occasions on which Robb's talents really shone were collaborations with lead singers: "I Miss You" w/ Mama Big, "Guajira" with Don Cisco and "Big Robb's House Party" with Karen Brown.
So Robb took the "next" step, putting together a band called Da Problem Solvas (not to be confused with the Problem Solvaz, a Sourthern rap quartet), with its three principals being Robb, longtime collaborator/co-writer Bart "Sure 2 B Thomas (see song credits for "Good Lovin'" above) and lead singer Big Woo, whom they picked up from a Toledo, Ohio-based band.

Da Problem Solvas' Every Woman Deserves To Be Satisfied arrived in 2004, and it marked another milestone for the hard-working, "driven" performer/producer.

And yet, there was a relative hiatus of a couple of years (a Christmas album, a Hurrican Katrina album, and other-artist projects) before Bigg Robb returned to form with a vengeance on 8 Tracks N 45's in 2006.

This eighteen-track, funk-slash-Southern Soul CD featured a roster of artists executing a big-tent, three-ring-circus musical agenda that dwarfed anything seen before on the chitlin' circuit.

Robb brought in talent from the Gap Band, the Ohio Players and seemingly anywhere else he could get his hands on it. Bigg Robb repeated the formula in 2007's Blues, Soul and Old School , crossing the line into "compilation" album territory by even presenting full-fledged guest-artist songs such as Pat Cooley's popular Southern Soul hit, "Older Woman, Younger Man."

The jewel of the album, however, was Robb's collaboration with Carl Marshall on Marshall's already-established Southern Soul hit, "Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry."

In awarding Bigg Robb the first annual "Daddy" Award (2007) for Southern Soul Producer of the Year (and #3-ranked Southern Soul Song of the year), Daddy B. Nice wrote:

"Good Lovin' Will Make U Cry" (Remix)------------Bigg Robb w/ Carl Marshall

"For the first time ever, the technical edge and clarity of hiphop and funk were fused seamlessly and naturally with Southern Soul, serving notice that a new and masterful Southern Soul producer had come of age."


Blues, Soul & Old School became one of the best-selling CD's in Southern Soul rhythm and blues history.

The same year (2007), Robb released a compilation of earlier songs entitled The Best Of Bigg Robb & Da Problem Solvas. The collection included the early hits with other lead singers: "Man Next Door" (one of the first songs to openly address beaten-women advocacy) and "Keep On Stepping" (Robb's most purely northern-soul tune).

Jerri Curl Music (Over 25 Sound), a nineteen-track collection, was released in 2009, compiling popular singles with "Float On," "Everybody Makes Mistakes," "Family Reunion," "Party Tonight," "It Ain't A Party Until You Play The Blues" and "If I Get Drunk."

A gospel-oriented collection of old and new songs, Grown Folks Gospel: Songs Of Encouragement, including "Mama's Song" and "Everybody Makes Mistakes," was published the same year.

Soul Prescription, another typically-generous Bigg Robb collection (18 tracks), followed in 2010. Once again, Southern Soul radio singles abounded. "Remix Our Love," "The Crying Zone," "Young Folks Love The Blues" and "Backtracking" were extremely popular with fans, and Bigg Robb's star power continued to rise.

Juke Joint Music (Over 25 Sound, 2012) was equally successful, repeating the formula used on 8 Tracks & 45's of including signature hits by other popular artists, i.e. L. J. Echols ("From The Back") and Klass Band Brotherhood featuring Nelson Curry ("Sugar Shack"). The album also featured Robb's accomplished remix of "Sugar Shack" and a number of well-received collaborations with artists such as Mel Waiters, Ghetto Cowboy, Omar Cunningham and Carl Marshall.

Juke Joint Muzic will also be remembered as the album containing "Lookin' For A Country Girl," leading to no doubt the most unfortunate episode in Bigg Robb's mid-career. The instrumental track to the tune was stolen by a septuagenarian named Bishop Bullwinkle for a single called "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw". What had happened was that a Florida local (Bullwinkle) who was just fooling around (thus the copyright appropriation) at a shopping center radio promotion suddenly went viral on YouTube. The record became so successful Robb felt he had to sue. Many of the proceedings were played out in these pages (see the Bishop Bullwinkle Artist Guide). A few years later, Bishop Bullwinkle died.

Think Bigg arrived in 2013 and featured "Let's Straighten It Out" and the drinking anthem "Fill It Up".

Next up came the Showtime album in 2015. The sixteen-track collection included dance jams such as "Getting It In" and "Blues & BBQ" (one of Denise LaSalle's last recordings), along with the ballad "Please Don't Judge Me" and new remixes of "Sugar Shack," "Good Good" and "Fill It Up".

With a title nod to Mel Waiters, Got My Whiskey Party was released in 2016. It featured a duet with Waiters on "BYOB" and a coming-out single for Toia Jones, "You Can Get It".

Born 2 Do This (2017) was highlighted by the autobiographical title song and a remake of Luther Ingram's "If Loving You Is Wrong".

Bigg Robb's Christmas Party appeared later the same year.

And Good Muzic came out in 2019, featuring "Cuttin' Up" with O.B. Buchana, "That's My Job," and "I Did My Time".



Tidbits

Updated July 25, 2021:

1. Bigg Robb on YouTube



Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Fill It Up" and other songs live onstage in Vicksburg, Mississippi on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Evidence" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "If I Get Drunk Tonight" live at Paradise Club in Texarkana, Arkansas on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb and Toia Jones singing live onstage in Montgomery, Alabama on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Everybody Makes Mistakes" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Grown And Sexy" Live Onstage on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "If I Get Drunk (Make Sure I Get Home)" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Southern Ladies" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb (w/ Omar Cunningham) singing "Float On" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb (w/ Charlie Wilson) singing "Groove On" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb (w/ Shirley Murdock) singing "Family Reunion" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb (w/ Shirley Murdock) singing "Mama's Song" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "BYOB" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "The Crying Zone" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Backtracking" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb (with R3) singing "Down South Shuffle" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Keep On Swinging" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "Evidence" on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb singing "If I Get Drunk Tonight" live at Paradise Club in Texarkana, Arkansas on YouTube.

Listen to Bigg Robb and Toia Jones singing live onstage in Montgomery, Alabama on YouTube.


Honorary "B" Side

"Good Loving Will Make You Cry feat. Carl Marshall"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Did My Time by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
I Did My Time


CD: Good Muzic
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Good Muzic


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Good Loving Will Make You Cry feat. Carl Marshall by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Good Loving Will Make You Cry feat. Carl Marshall


CD: Blues Soul And Old School
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Blues Soul And Old School


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Blues And BBQ (feat. Denise LaSalle by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Blues And BBQ (feat. Denise LaSalle


CD: Got My Whiskey Party
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Got My Whiskey Party


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Born To Do This by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Born To Do This


CD: Born 2 Do This
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Born 2 Do This


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Everybody Makes Mistakes by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Everybody Makes Mistakes


CD: Grown Folks Gospel/Songs Of Encouragement
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Grown Folks Gospel/Songs Of Encouragement


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Good Good by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Good Good


CD: Showtime
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Showtime


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Thought She Was At Home feat. Da Problem Solvas by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
I Thought She Was At Home feat. Da Problem Solvas


CD: 8 Tracks N 45's
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
8 Tracks N 45's


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let's Straighten It Out by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Let's Straighten It Out


CD: Think Bigg
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Think Bigg


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sugar Shack feat. Mz. Jackson by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Sugar Shack feat. Mz. Jackson


CD: Juke Joint Music
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Juke Joint Music


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Young Folks Love The Blues by  Bigg Robb #11 The New Generation
Young Folks Love The Blues


CD: Juke Joint Music
Label: Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Juke Joint Music


Browse Through
Daddy B. Nice's
'Bargain CD' Store


©2005-2021 SouthernSoulRnB.com

All material--written or visual--on this website is copyrighted and the exclusive property of SouthernSoulRnB.com, LLC. Any use or reproduction of the material outside the website is strictly forbidden, unless expressly authorized by SouthernSoulRnB.com. (Material up to 300 words may be quoted without permission if "Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul RnB.com" is listed as the source and a link to http://www.southernsoulrnb.com/ is provided.)