It’s been almost 3 decades since Robert ”Bigg Robb” Smith started on his professional musical journey. Hailing from Cincinnati Ohio, Robb’s earliest childhood memories are of him reading Ebony and Jet magazine aloud for family and friends at the age of 3 years old. “My cousins would make me do it for their entertainment”, says Bigg Robb. “I guess you could say I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time”.
Starting off in 1979 as a local disc jockey at a small community radio station in his hometown, Bigg Robb began meeting celebrities and forging relationships that changed his life… Read more
I was 11 years old when a gentleman named Tom Knox put me on the air. It was a blessing I mean I had no idea back then that what God had planned for me. I just wanted for my mom and dad to be able to sit at home and hear me come through their radio. When I started my voice hadn’t even changed, and people would call in and say ‘tell that lil girl to play this and that’. It was funny because I sounded like a cross between Smokey Robinson and Michael Jackson. After about a year and a half of doing this, I got my own show and that’s when I really got loose. I mean the records I would play are now called classics and I can remember when they first came out. I was the first person to ever play rap on the radio. I’m talking Grandmaster Flash, Spoonie Gee, Planet Rock, Run DMC, Newcleus and the list goes on & on. Then I get the bright idea to try and do some interviews with some of the stars (well God gave me the idea), and that’s how I met Midnight Star, Reggie Calloway, Bootsy Collins and my good friend Roger Troutman.
Bootsy was the 1st guy who came and gave me a chance to really be a professional. I was like 15 and he would let me do odd jobs and stuff and hang out with him in the studio he was my first hero. I mean, he is the king of glitz, the Black Liberace, and when I saw how the people responded to him I was like I wanna be like Bootsy and even to this day folks will tell me I remind them of Bootsy I take it as a great compliment because he is truly a superstar. Bootsy also made me promise to never ever ever mess with drugs and I know that may surprise some folks because of his “funkadelichistory” BUT he would lecture me for hours on how that was the wrong path and that staying drug free is the right way I feel so thankful to have him as a friend, mentor and musical hero.
Well during the same time period I met Roger and the band actually I met Zapp Troutman first while leaving a Midnight Star recording session at the 5th Floor Studios. He introduced me to Roger we became friends and the rest is history. I have been around the Zapp camp since 1982, and count the following as some of the greatest experiences in my life before I joined the group. Watching Roger in the studio as a kid, hearing songs like Dance Floor, I Can Make You Dance, Computer Love, Doo Wah Ditty, I Wanna to be Your Man, As We Lay and many more before they where finished and released. Going to the concerts and seeing all the backstage stuff that happens. One time I even witnessed Prince and the time having a food fight in the Cincy Riverfront Coliseum.
People ask me all kinds of questions about roger and I will some it all up withthe following: He was a truly gifted, kind gentleman who loved entertaining, and making music. He spent probably too much of his short 47 years between the studio and the stages of the world he gave his heart, and soul to what he loved which was music and people, and I feel very honored to have been able to been in his inner circle, on his staff and a member of his band.
He taught me things years ago which have made me a better man a better performer, a better producer thus making me a better person! His music lives on and is played around the globe hourly and his influence is never gonna leave. I hope that I can repeat a legacy like his “VERY FEW WERE BETTER ON THE STAGE AND VERY FEW WERE FUNKIER IN STUDIO”. Roger was one of a kind a leader not a follower, he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t fake he was just himself. I love him and I miss his physical presence but I know that he’s gone to a betterplace.
After years of mentoring under Roger I started making records on myself I wouldtry to take the things that I learned working at Troutman Sound Labs and expand upon them. My first cd was called “CHEDDAR-CHEDDAR” it’s mainly a rap type thing I can remember playing it for Roger, and too my surprise his only criticism was, “how many did you press up? I hope you got more than 50 or 100 to sell tonight after the show.” He gave me his total support man I was on cloud nine.
My next project was a rap record on a guy named Drawz on Warner brothers it was called “U DA1″ although it didn’t do well in sales, it was during the making of this that I made up my mind I wanted to produce records since that day I have been striving to get better with each project. I think I’ve done about 75 records since 1995, and although I have yet to have a Number One hit, I really feel it’s just a matter of time Ibelieve it will happen when god say’s its time so I don’t really get depressed ordiscouraged I just keep trying to make great music that makes people feel good.
With the release of my cd Grown Folk’s Music I started my own label and it was based on a vision that God gave to me to make music that feels and sounds good like the groups of the 70’s 80’s. Therefore I started my group which is called “DA PROBLEM SOLVAS”. I’m also been passionate about my own solo projects.
My latest album Soul Prescription is rooted deep in Blues and Soul, while still giving you that Old School funk flavor that you know you gotta have. Keeping it in the family, my youngest son R-3 has his own projects and is an amazing musician in his own rite.
The Official Website of Bigg Robb
00 – Intro – Big Robb feat. Kurtis Blow and SURE – Money (Jerri Curl Muzic, 2009)
01 – Bigg Robb feat. Kurtis Blow and SURE – Money (Jerri Curl Muzic, 2009)
02 – Roger – In The Mix (The Saga Continues…, 1984)
03 – Bigg Robb feat. The BAR-KAYS – Jerri Curl Muzic (Jerri Curl Muzic, 2009)
04 – Bigg Robb – Any Man Can Make A Baby (Jerri Curl Muzic, 2009)
Background music during the interview:
Jackson 5 – Darling Dear, James Brown – Say It Loud I”m Black And I”m Proud (Parts 1-2), Midnight Star – Hot Spot, Teddy Pendergrass – Heaven Only Knows, Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock, Fatback Band – Street Dance, Bootsy Collins – Ahh…The Name Is Bootsy Baby, Zapp – More Bounce To The Ounce, Bigg Robb – Party ” Nite (Bad Mamma Jamma) Medley, Zapp – Dance Floor, Bigg Robb – Everybody Makes Mistakes, The Ohio Players – Fire, Bigg Robb feat. Omar Cunnigham – Chocolate Puddin