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Interview with Earl Arnold (Big Earl), June 30, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:30 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me, how did you get started being an artist?

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about growing up in Harlem, being in a crew with rapper Big Al, and moving back and forth between different places when he was young.

Keywords: Harlem, New York; childhood; influence; performance

00:03:23 - Big Earl and the Twin Boys

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Partial Transcript: You did your first song in Athens.

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about his first crew, Big Earl and the Twin boys, and how they had a B-Town sound, influenced by growing up in the Bethel Homes neighborhood. He talks about collaborating with Lo' Down and Duddy, and describes the eastside/westside hip hop rivalry of the late 1990s.

Keywords: B-Town; Bethel Homes; collaboration; rivalry

00:10:17 - Solo career

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Partial Transcript: When would you say things started slowing down to where y'all maybe wasn't doing the music anymore?

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about travelling to Seattle to record his album Life on the Line under Mayhem Records and filming movies in Los Angeles, and says that his lack of knowledge about music promotion and management put him at a disadvantage in the entertainment field.

Keywords: Los Angeles, California; Mayhem Records; Seattle, Washington; record album

00:17:39 - Return to Athens

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Partial Transcript: My mama was passing. She said make sure you get back in the studio...

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about returning to Athens after his mother's passing in 2008. He recalls the decline of the B-town sound in the local music scene at that time and talks about starting to produce new music again.

Keywords: illness; mother; new music; return

00:22:32 - Connection to celebrities

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Partial Transcript: My auntie is Dame Dash's grandmother.

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about his family's connections to other well-known artists, such as Dame Dash, Big Al, Corinne B., as well as streetball player Tyrone "Alimoe" Evans.

Keywords: celebrity; connections; interpersonal relationship

00:27:05 - Athens Hip Hop Awards

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Partial Transcript: Another thing, let's go back to 2012 when you and Trap Boy got together.

Segment Synopsis: Arnold talks about the Athens Hip Hop Awards as a catalyst for music production and as a platform for artist recognition.

Keywords: Athens music scene; artist recognition

00:30:42 - Teamwork / Platform for recognition

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Partial Transcript: What I learned from 2012 to now: assemble the team.

Segment Synopsis: Arnold compares his earlier do-it-yourself mentality with his growing appreciation of teamwork when it comes to music production. He also comments on what potential there is for cultivating mainstream hip hop artists in Athens.

Keywords: change; collaboration; growth; music scene potential