by Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
Since the start of the Pandemic Era, Big Champ Green has become one of the hardest working artists on this side of the Bay Bridge. Having done some solo work, an album with DJ Twelvz, some music with the rap supergroup Grand Nationxl, and most recently with his newest configuration, MacArthur Maze, Big Champ has turned himself a major hub of creativity.
Champ Green just released a new highly anticipated hip hop album called “Adult Contemporary Playeristic Love Diaries” that hip hop aficionados are pleased with. He will be performing at the Black New World Experience on the last Tuesday of the Month, Jan. 31, at Zanzi located at 19 Grand Avenue in downtown Oakland from 7-11 p.m. Check out Champ Green in his own words.
JR Valrey: What is the name of your album? What made you name it that? And what made you make a number of hip hop love songs?
Champ Green: The name of my album is called “Adult Contemporary Playeristic Love Diaries.” The reason I named it that is to show the aspects of love, relationships or situationships that we go through; also to show that when you build a relationship and a bond together, you become teammates – that we all “playas” in some aspect or so because we all have a position to play in the game we call life.
The reason I was inspired to make these hip hop love songs was my growth and where I’m at in life, so when I looked back, I realized I covered a lot of ground in relationships. I learned a lot of lessons and felt all kinds of emotions through these different relationships, and I just wanted to express it in a mature way.
JR Valrey: I love the new album cover with all the different women’s hands with painted nails rubbing on your head. What inspired this graphic and how does it connect with the album?
Champ Green: What inspired that shot was my guy Nobl, who I call the “triple threat vet.” He does videography, pictures as well as produces. He produced the album and took this dope photo for the album cover.
The different hands of women represent how relationships can pull you in different ways.
My initial ìdea was all the pretty hands on my diary. That was cool, but he saw something else. And, as he and Rick – another dope photographer – were playing with the lights, he wanted to try the pose of the ladies’ hands on my face, and boom, we found gold, an even better money shot!
The different hands of women represent how relationships can pull you in different ways, in which, some cases you write about them for a page or two and some you write about for a chapter, and some you write about to the very last page and live happily ever after … lol.
JR Valrey: What does your album sound like? What kind of vibe does it have? Who did the production, and why did you pick those beats to make these songs out of?
Champ Green: My album sounds like good mature playeristic music. I would say my album is pretty diverse. You can listen to it whether you are married or single, coming out of a relationship or going into one. The vibes are unmatched, nothing but big love vibes. The album is based around love, the ups and downs of love. Love is a rollercoaster.
My brethren Nobl did the beats, and we vibed out and just locked in. The beats I chose to pick on this album spoke to me in a way where I couldn’t just rap, I had to let my hair down, so to speak, and be vulnerable, and express myself about past experiences and present experiences of dealing with love. And, I needed musicians and singers to elevate me. Nobl brought that out of me. He really stepped my game up!
JR Valrey: Subject-wise, what do you deal with lyrically on this album?
Champ Green: I pretty much just deal with the topic of love, the different feelings of being in love. I also talk about the different kinds of love. Some types of love are conditional and some are unconditional. Some loves are community based. Some loves start from friendship to situationships to relationships and then turn all bad and become toxic hatefulships.
JR Valrey: At this time last year, you and your partners in rhyme were a part of a super-group called Grand Nationxl. Today some of the former Grand Nationxl homies are with you in a new group called MacArthur Maze. What happened? And how did the name and concept of MacArthur Maze come about?
Champ Green: The name was inspired by a project that DJ DSharp did a year or so before, with Mani Draper and Brookfield Duece, called “Eastshore Highway,” a very dope album! We were so inspired by the project and wanted to keep the freeway theme going and spawned MacArthur Maze, so now we’re “commuting” with these beats in rhymes, in a major way!
JR Valrey: What is MacArthur Maze up to? Can you talk about the video that y’all just released?
Champ Green: We just been in the lab bringing out the best in each other, making really dope music. Our sessions are also therapy because it doesn’t feel like work. We laugh, eat snacks and chill; while we build and heal, all while keeping it “treal.” The new video that just dropped is called “1st Friday.” We did the video walking through there, just having a good time vibing and tapping into the elements that 1st Friday has to offer. The video is really cinematic!
JR Valrey: You’re a very verbose person – who are some of the wordsmiths that you look up to and are inspired by? Why do the people you named move you like that?
Champ Green: I like a lot of dope cats from Outkast, The Doc, Pimp C, Mess, Richie Rich, Nas, Jay-Z, Jada and Styles (Lox), Black Thought and Erick Sermon. That’s just to name a few, but I could go on and on. I like the way they paint their word pictures. I don’t have a favorite and the influences can change depending on the mood; however, I look at this rap game like a buffet of dopeness and you can be inspired by a buffet or a smorgasbord of creativity.
JR Valrey: What is the state of Bay Area hip hop on the local scene in the beginning of 2023?
Champ Green: I think it’s really dope, it’s so much talent out here to be a fan of. This Bay Area rap scene is looking pretty fruitful. It’s about to blow up like Silicon Valley, haha. We have so many diverse cats putting in that work, so many dope crews with talent, it’s abundant!
JR Valrey: What have you been doing on IG when you give your “Manifestivities” rant? What is that about?
Champ Green: Monday Manifestivities is like some positive gas or coffee to get your engine running for the week. Being that Monday is the beginning of the week sometimes you may feel groggy or uninspired, so I thought to give people some inspiration and motivation or some good game, something to get your battery charged or something to get you to the next phase.
I personally benefited from getting good game from people I did or didn’t know on this highway of life, and it helped me sharpen my sight. So I told myself, let me do that as well by spitting some gems, so you can stay focused and keep shooting in the gym, haha.
JR Valrey: How could people listen to and buy your music?
Champ Green: My name is Champ Green. I’m streaming everywhere on all platforms. I’m also on IG and Facebook also as @CHAMPGREEN. Also you can reach me on Twitter @champgreen09. Peace and love.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau and is founder of his latest project, the Ministry of Information Podcast. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Instagram.