The 1930’s brought the hardest economic disaster America has ever been faced with. Financial destitution peaked strongly from 1929-1939, but it led to the wonders of Pop Culture—through evading tough times, with the help of television, books, magazines, movies, etc. We’ve adopted Pop-Culture escapism, utilizing all of those distractions, and then some. As I met with Maryland rapper Big Flock, I wanted to gain a new perspective on why he’s naming his biggest project to-date— The Great Depression. From the loss of his closest friend Christopher “Lil Chris” Smith (best known as C. Diddy) to his dad having an incurable disease, the 24-year-old artist’s sufferings have led him to find his own escapism and motivation.
Between Lil Chris and his dad, Flock’s motivation to rap—came from them.
“My father has a disease that you can’t cure and it’s called ALS,” Flock said. “It’s called Lou Gehrig’s disease and you can’t cure it; kills your nerves, kills all your fatty cells, kills everything. He did 18-19 years in prison. He was home for about a year and got caught up with that disease. So it’s like I basically haven’t had a dad. I mean I had a dad, but I didn’t, if that makes sense.”
Flock’s father also rapped. While locked up, his dad would send him mixtapes that he recorded, ultimately inspiring Flock to rap.
Christopher Smith—helped Charles Bowman [Big Flock] when he needed it most. Known as C. Diddy or Lil Chris, Christopher let Flock stay with him in Hampton, Virginia. It was there where Flock recorded his mixtape Trilluminati, in C. Diddy’s living room. Released in late March of 2013, Flock was incarcerated a month later. While incarcerated, C. Diddy passed away in Richmond, VA.
My bros ain’t my blood, but they kin to me. I know them n***as ain’t gonna change on me
“My brother [C. Diddy], I been with him my whole life. He died when I was locked up, so of course that was depression. That was the first time I ever suffered from depression. Not just a mixtape, I really suffer from depression… like to the point I’m thinking I might gotta off myself, cause I can’t live without my brother. I don’t know no other n***a that can do the s**t he did for me. I was on the run with zero dollars to my pocket and feds tried to come and get me. I had 25 years to try to face. He came and picked me up. He was all the way out at school, at Hampton and came to get me. He was feeding me, giving me a place to stay, giving me clothes…you can say he was my father.”
While locked up, ThraxxxGang’s [Composed of Flock, Lizzle, Bankroll Marley, Freakshow, Boog, Mac Dre, Abu, and more] The Movie mixtape was taking off, led by the single “Too.” One month later, Flock was released from jail.
Flock’s buzz would only grow more, releasing his Live Hungry Die Now EP and his Sonny mixtape on July 12 [C. Diddy Day]. But trouble would still lurk closely. On July 22, Flock turned himself in for a 3-year sentence, stemming from a 2012 armed robbery charge. In July of 2015, Flock was released from prison and on Parole. The system and music industry were conflicting paths from the beginning of his 20’s to now—being 24-years-old. Other than music, Flock’s vices became his form of escapism.
“Drugs,” Flock responded on his escapism. “It got to one point that I was an addict. Not an addict on cocaine and hard drugs like that, but weed and percocets. At one point in time I was doing Xanax. I kept chasing that high. I was popping xanz’ at one point in time to f**k my head up, to the point I can’t even think about the s**t that’s f***ing me up. I drink a lot, I’m an alcoholic, sad to say. I drink everyday, and that’s to escape—my thoughts. I have nightmares every single night… I wake up in the middle of the night and I gotta walk around the house to make sure that what I’m dreaming, isn’t a reality. Besides music, alcohol got me escaping, and my daughter.”
Flock’s daughter sparks inspiration, loyalty, and love. It’s more motivation to do right and be successful, rather than continue an unfulfilling street life.
“I want her to go to private school and go to college. I know the streets ain’t gonna get her there. I know the streets will keep me where I’m at. I gotta keep looking for the streets in order to get what I want. I don’t want that. I know this music s**t is gonna get me where I want to be and the money. I can pay her tuition for years and won’t even have to look back.”
Alongside his daughter, he spoke thankfully on the mother of his daughter.
“She’s definitely a good part of my life. Broads are there for the moment, my child’s mother, that’s my girl. She’s been there with me through every stage of my life: being a young n***a, trying to be a dope boy, trying to be a killer, trying to be this or that, she’s been there through every single stage and never left. Prison, county jail, she’s been there. I’m still with her now and we have 6-7 years out of our situation. I’m glad I had a daughter with her, instead of somebody that’s just out here doing whatever; we built something. Loyalty is all that matters to me.”
When it comes to reaching the youth of Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, Flock holds a strong connection with the younger generation. As of lately, he’s toned down his aggressive lyrics; a long way from his Glockism mixtape.
“I want the kids to actually listen to my lyrics and not just ‘crank to it. I want them to listen to it and say ‘that’s not where I’m trying to go. I don’t want no mother or father to lose a son or daughter, because I’m blessed. My mother could have lost me to the system or she could have lost me by the gun.”
Charles “Big Flock” Bowman raps because it’s what he’s good at—and people love to see his talent shine. If it was up to him, Flock says he would be a veterinarian, due to his love for animals.
“I hate to see people torture animals, I love animals.” I had a cat that I loved. I named him Waka Flocka Kitty. I brought him in to my home. I took him to the vet and they told me he was too little and they had to kill him. That s**t fucked me up.”
Flock’s love for animals and his family, also extends to the people he grew up around. Growing up in Suitland, MD (187), he spent 18 years in the area.
“My hood love me the same way I love them. I never got big headed and never got to the point where I’m leaving my hood. I still say their names and everything is from the heart.”
Adding more extensions, he wants those who deserve a chance at success, to win too.
“At one point in time, I was the n***a who wanted to be helped. So I know others want to be helped. That’s why I try to give people I know who deserve it, their shine.”
Despite the good that’s happening in Flock’s life, agony still flocks in—to play its role in his life. #FreeFlock is all throughout social media. Currently locked away, the support is unanimously strong. Not failing to mention with his supporters behind him, his family, close friends, and the motivation that still reigns supreme from C. Diddy, Lucifer [Lucy] will take a break.