TRENTON -- Early in the week Freedom Green asked me if he could interview Trenton rapper Big Ooh ahead of tonight's appearance with Rick Ross in Atlantic City. "Sure, but get Rick up here, too. Tell him to hop in his big, fat limo and drive up to Trenton and interview him and Ooh at the same time." Freedom said he'd try, but we both knew it wouldn't happen. But reach for the stars, right? The next-best thing was Freedom interviewing Big Ooh considering Free kind of looks like Rick Ross.
Anyway, Big Ooh -- born Umar Alim, raised in the north and west wards of the city -- continues to grow his star. He performed at a Lil Wayne show last year, and tonight's show with Rick Ross at AC's Boardwalk Hall will add another notch on his rapping resume. If you read this before 5 o'clock, take a Friday night cruise down to the land of slots and honey and support Big Ooh. He could be massive one day. He's also the lead in the "From the Block to the Boardroom," song and video that represents the heart of the movement of Trenton businessman Tracey Syphax. Freedom appears in the video, too.
Minutes before the live broadcast I asked Big Ooh to name the best rapper of all time. He answered "Notorious B.I.G." and I thought, "Oy" and then I said, "Nope. Rakim and KRS-1 and Big Daddy Kane and Chuck D. and Kool Moe Dee" and he laughed and said "They're from a different generation." Yes they are, Big Ooh, they're from the best generation. Rap today can't carry the jockstraps of yesterday's rap, the rap I grew up to. Today's rappers don't enunciate, they're too breathy, they slur their words, and their sentences are disjointed. Say the goddamn words like you've got a pair! I want to understand the message. Watch the Boogie Down Productions video above. The story KRS-1 sings was a story of Trenton, Camden, Irvington, Newark. Still waiting for a return to those glory days of rap-storytelling. More than anything, I can UNDERSTAND what KRS-1 is saying.
That doesn't mean today's rappers such as Big Ooh don't have talent or can't bring the ruckus. They do, and he can, and tonight's appearance with Rick Ross proves that Umar Alim is taking Trenton global.