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Interview with Benjamin Edwards (Big Body), June 25, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:19 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Were you originally born and raised in Athens?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards talks about growing up the in the Newtown neighborhood in Athens and writing his first rap at the age of ten. He mentions his early hip hop influences, including Lo' Down and Duddy, Big Earl from Athens, and other Southern hip hop artists from Atlanta.

Keywords: Big Earl; Lo' Down and Duddy; Newtown neighborhood; OutKast; West Athens; southern hip hop

00:08:20 - Early music career

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Partial Transcript: So you play football majority through high school.

Segment Synopsis: Edwards recalls playing football throughout high school, really starting to make music while in college, and transferring from Elon University to West Georgia College. He talks about releasing his first album Dis Ain't What You Want, going to prison, and continuing to write music while in prison.

Keywords: Elon University; West Georgia College; record album

00:12:02 - Hip hop in Athens, mid-2000s

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Partial Transcript: Around that time, what else was happening musically in town by 2003--?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards mentions artists in the hip hop scene, and talks about maintaining his relevance as an artist.

Keywords: artistic relevance; music scene

00:15:57 - Different hip hop styles

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Partial Transcript: Who are some of the key players in town that you think, from you being here and living here, has made a change...?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards talks about how different styles of hip hop were valued differently, and even excluded, from certain venues. He mentions people who helped grow the Athens music scene, how collaboration has increased over time, and how he has avoided being categorized as an artist.

Keywords: artist collaboration; innovation; stereotypes

00:21:04 - Music industry advice

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Partial Transcript: So where do you see the hip hop scene now?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards discusses the importance of making strategic decisions for success, his role in mentoring young artists in Athens, and the role of the university community in music promotion through networking and social media opportunities.

Keywords: mentoring; networking; social media

00:29:22 - Work ethic

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Partial Transcript: I'm gonna say that's 80%.

Segment Synopsis: Edwards discusses the importance of work ethic in the music industry, mentions the harder barriers to entry into the industry over time, and spotlights new artists in Athens. He also talks about maintaining authenticity as an artist.

Keywords: authenticity; identity; work ethic