(This is a 2010 interview with the late Lansing-based rapper Big Perm)
To simply call Big Perm a “Lansing rapper” would be a severe understatement.
Aside from recording over 10 mix tapes, he has a strong focus on the business side of music, including promotions, marketing and management. Perm’s label, Street Dream Entertainment, has become his main focus in life, and his efforts are beginning to pay off.
While Big Perm, real name Cameron Doyle, is heavily influenced by the late Pimp C, Notorious B.I.G and Big Punisher, he has developed a style of his own — mixing his Louisiana roots with the Lansing hip-hop sound. His polished rhymes landed him on the Common Ground Music Festival stage multiple times; last month, he was an opening act for Ludacris and Three 6 Mafia.
Big Perm, who dropped his first release in 2005, is busier than ever and working non-stop with The Chemist, his production team. Big Perm performs this Friday, at Level II Ultra Lounge in Lansing, along with headliners Chingo Bling and Roxxi Jane.
How would you describe your day-to -day activities in music?
I do rap and promotion. When I work with somebody, it might be me performing on a song, or appearing on a live show, or just helping them on the promotional side. It might be on the business or the music side. I think you have to. These days, labels don’t just want to sign the artist. You have to be able to market yourself. I take that one step further and get into marketing for others.
Is it hard paying for promotional materials and releases?
It’s definitely a struggle. The No. 1 thing I tell young people who want to get into rap is that you really have to love it. Sometimes you may have to go without something you want or need to promote yourself as an artist. There are tough decisions to be made every day. I’ve invested so much time into my career that I thought I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t sacrifice to invest in myself.
Do you feel the Lansing scene is united?
I think the scene, in the past, was divided. Today I think people are showing a willingness to work together. They are starting to understand that everybody’s got something the next guy is going to need. It’s better to network and share rather than hold all of your cards to yourself; you only go so far in your journey to the top when you do that. People are starting to get it and come together in the Lansing scene. Times are hard in Michigan right now (and) that reflects across every level. It’s hard to win by yourself.
What inspires your lyrics?
My most successful songs are, ironically, about love and relationships. Outside of that I talk about the heartache of growing up without things you wanted and growing up poor. I also talk about the struggle it takes to get those things you want. Sometimes you cross the line and do things you don’t want to do. A lot of times people think if someone sells drugs they are a bad person. Depending on their situation, it might not be their only option, but it’s the best option. I definitely touch on that, because I did do that. I’ve been on both sides of the drug game. It’s real-life experiences, and some fictional, and I mix it all up into one package.
For more information, visit www.planetperm.com