PEARL MAGAZINE SPRING EDITION

 

Happy Spring!

Download the latest copy of Pearl Spring Magazine. This issue features steps to a healthier lifestyle with health vlogger Chemese. Moreover, the makings of legend Sleepy Brown, and Pearl’s trip to Haiti.

THE MAKINGS OF LEGEND SLEEPY BROWN

 

The Makings of Legend Sleepy Brown

When you cross paths with a legend, what do you do?

Luckily in my case, I crossed paths with legendary artist and producer extraordinaire, Sleepy Brown at Decatur Boxing Club at DJ Nabs class entitled Jabs and Abs with Nabs. We hit it off as friends, after he complimented and attempted to emulate my signature left hook.

Sleepy along with the Dungeon Family, were one of the pioneers of the hip hop sound of Atlanta. Today, Atlanta is one of the number markets for hip hop and we can thank Sleepy and his crew for that.

Pearl: Tell us about yourself, where are you from?

Sleepy Brown: I was born in Savannah, and raised in Atlanta.

I am a part of Dungeon Family, Organized Noize, and I am a third member of Outkast, the silent one; and a part of the Atlanta scene coming up in the 90s of hip hip.

Pearl: The silent member of Outkast?

Sleepy: Well I have been with them since the beginning, singing most of the hooks, and producing.

Pearl: Tell us about your parents? And your lineage?

Sleepy: I come from a very musical family on my father side. All of my great aunts and great uncles all played instruments and they all played with some kind of band. From that came my Dad, who ended up being in a very popular band in the 70s called “Brick”. His name is Jimmy Brown, so I grew up backstage at Funk concerts. The Philips Arena used to be called the Omni back in the day, and I would go to all the Funk Fests with him. It would be Cameo, Con Funk Shun, and LTD, all these funk bands, and my Dad and his band would be performing. So because I come from a very musical family, I always felt like music was my calling. From the beginning, it was nothing but music.

Pearl: So you came on this earth, and entered into a musical family!

Sleepy: Mmm Hmmm, absolutely, sure did.

Pearl: You made it easy for yourself, some people are artistic, but don’t jump into a musical family!

Sleepy: No…I still had to learn my craft, but one thing I got from it, is learning how to play by ear. You know what I mean? I can put sounds together.

Pearl: What was the journey of becoming Sleepy Brown, because sometimes artists think “boom”, it just happens. What were some of the internal things you had to do, to step up your game; and the business side, to get the best leverage?

Sleepy: I was just kind of lucky enough …. I don’t know, I can’t say what I did, or how I did it, cause I just kind of kept doing it, you know, I just kind of kept working at it. I think once I got with Rico and Ray and really started learning about production and everything, it made sense to me. The journey of music to me was just the difference styles of music coming up. How it went from R&B to hip hop, and how hip hop came in. See I was around when hip hop first hit the masses. So I think for me, the journey was just appreciating music, coming from the funk era with live instruments, then going to drum machines and keyboards. It was really a dope era to grow up in. My whole thing was a whole learning experience, that’s all I wanted to do is learn. I felt like I had a lot to learn, that I wasn’t as good as I could have been, back in the day, which was true. I had to learn my craft, but you know, it’s just work experience.

Pearl: So are you happy where you are now?

Sleepy: Yes. The only decision I am mad about is the ones I made not thinking, doing some stupid shit. Otherwise, besides that, I am happy. The music, we have done, it’s coming back, it’s not getting old. It’s timeless, and I appreciate us, doing that kind of thing.

Pearl: I could ask you about your discography, but I can look that up? Do you want to list off the songs you have done?

Sleepy: Sure.

Pearl: Ok, well let the people know.

Sleepy: Waterfalls from TLC, Don’t Let Go from EnVogue from the Set It Off soundtrack (which we did the soundtrack), Player’s Ball, The Way You Move, Can’t Wait, and countless other stuff.

Pearl: So what are some of the things that you are working on now?

Sleepy: Right now, we are doing the SuperFly soundtrack, for the movie coming out in June, and I’m working on my album, and the Organized Noize Project. We are also working with new artists coming up.

Pearl: Nice, doing what you do, at a quality level. You know when I listened to your latest single, I was stuck, I was like………. taking it all it. Then finally, I was able to get out the trans. I’d love to hear that, before this interview is over. I’m glad you produced that song, and placed the vocals on it.

Sleepy: Yes, I am very excited about that record, it’s pretty sexy.

Pearl: Yes, it is. Is there anything else you would like to mention to our readers about Sleepy Brown in 2018?

Sleepy: Hopefully, you will be hearing a lot more from me, and I will be working on some more stuff soon. You know, I’ve been getting good reviews from Pearl and other people about the record that I am doing so, you know, it should be a good thing.

 

 

BOXING WITH BIGGS & DJ NABS

BOXING WITH BIGGS & DJ NABS

Written by Pearl Fils-Aime

I’m from Philly, Philly is a boxing town. It’s our number one sport. Heck, our wineos know how to box better than the average man, says Biggs.

Xavier Biggs is the owner and operator of the soulful and authentic Decatur Boxing Club, a fitness and boxing center located in Atlanta, GA. And I must say I am a proud member!

Biggs trained superstar singer, dancer and now actor Usher Raymond for the role of Sugar Ray in “Hands of Stone”. Biggs continues as Usher’s private trainer keeping him in peak condition for concert performances. Moreover, he trained Usher and his dancers for their World Tour, and Usher’s team on the popular NBC reality television singing competition, ‘The Voice’.

Usher and Biggs at Hands of Stone movie premiere.

My uncle was a boxer. He influenced my father to become a boxer in the Army. As a toddler, I can remember seeing gloves and a speed bag in the basement.

As kids, we would body box all day, then, late into the night, under the streetlamp. “You want a fair one” a kid would yell out, which indicated a street fight with boxing rules and an imaginary referee. Nowadays kids pull out guns.

I did not take boxing seriously early on. It wasn’t until my late teens, that I began training regularly with some of the best trainers a fighter could have: Jimmy Arthur, Qunizell McCall and Georgie Benton. Arthur and McCall were beloved by many of their fighters, and Benton went on to train Evander Holyfield, Joe Frazier and many more notable fighters.

Biggs amateur career was brief and he turned professional in the late 70’s. However, in the mid-1980s, Xavier traded a frustrating professional boxing career without a promoter for a once in a lifetime opportunity to assist his youngest brother, three-time world amateur boxing champion Tyrell, in his quest to be the first to receive the Olympic gold medal in boxing in the newly established superheavyweight division. That dream manifested at the 23rd Olympiad, 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.

 

1984 Olympic Boxing Team

As I progressed as a boxer, I learned that my real calling wasn’t fighting in the ring, yet, serving as a trainer. Everything I learned with Arthur, McCall and Benton, became the foundation of who I am today as a trainer.

Biggs training regime at Decatur Boxing Club include but not limited to Sugar Ray Rope Slap, shadowboxing, medicine ball work, bicycle crunch, reverse crunch, and bag work.

Boxing is a gentlemen’s sport.  The reason why they call it a gentlemen’s sport is because, it requires you to have real character to box someone.

Sugar Ray Robinson is the epitome of a gentleman. He was a fighter that possessed class, grace, and style. It was like watching a ballerina in the ring. I opened Decatur Boxing Club 14 years ago, and my training is based on Sugar Ray Robinson’s methodology.

I like training boxers that possess a beautiful spirit, and that want to be a positive example. I am not interested in training negative spirits, that are in it, just be a brutal ass kicker.


Jabs & Abs w/ DJ Nabs

Biggs also trains legendary DJ Nabs, who has recent started his own class at Decatur Boxing Club, entitled Jabs & Abs w/ DJ Nabs”.

What made you start your own class?

Well I’ve been promoting the boxing lifestyle since, I’ve been doing it, which has been about 7 years now. People would always ask me do I teach? And I would always say no, come to the gym. So eventually, there was an opening and I talked to Xavier Biggs, the owner, about doing the 11am class, and he allowed me to do it.

I am still a trainer in training, I consider myself, more of a person that inspires others, a motivator. I like to motivate people in the boxing ring, to be the best that they can be.

Have you grown in this new role?

Oh yes, definitely, because I think I am a really good student, in particular, anything that I love. And I have loved boxing since the moment I met Biggs here at 9pm at night, and he told me I had natural abilities. So when I watch others, I put myself in their shoes, I see the pain, the aggression, the struggle in their face, or I see confusion, and I try to alleviate that by giving them something to hold on to, whether it’s a story, a personal experience, or I tell them what I see in them, and I try to pull it out of them.

Producer/Recording Artist Sleepy Brown on Jabs & Abs with DJ Nabs

What brought you into the class?

I used to box in Las Vegas, and was looking for a new boxing home. Nabs and I worked in the music industry for years, and I saw that he was boxing.

How do you feel about the class?

I like the class. It’s not just boxing, we do a little some of everything. Nabs is a great instructor, shouts out to him. It is a challenge, otherwise, I would not be there. I most certainly recommend the class.

Producer/Recording Artist/Lecturer/Martial Artists Professor Griff on Jabs & Abs with DJ Nabs

What brought you into the class?

First of all, Nabs and I go way back. I got into a car accident in 2015 and damaged the nerves in my leg, subsequently it affected different parts of my body. I did acupuncture, reiki, I did all kinds of things, then I sat around trying to heal. I did aqua therapy, and some others things. I’ve always been a martial artist, so I told myself, I just got to work through the pain.

Then I saw “Jabs & Abs with DJ Nabs”, and I said what is Nabs doing, I never known him to be a boxer, I’ve always known him to be a DJ. So I ran into him, based on a post about a film we were in together. When I saw him, I said man, I need to get back in the gym, and he said, you know what I’m doing, and I said yes.

How do you feel about the class?

Surprisingly enough, I now understand what I put my students through. Nabs is a great instructor. He is very detailed oriented. He’s cool with it, he’s not over the top. He’s confident and wants to pass the information on to others.

Graduates of Jabs &Abs w/Nabs


A Lady Named Pearl on Boxing

I began training with Biggs in 2014. I came into the gym to improve my fitness, and gained an appreciation for the art of boxing, not to mention the wonderful Jazz music Biggs plays while working out. It is the best conditioning I have received, since becoming an athlete.

Moreover, I am thankful to DJ Nabs for improving my skills, while attending his class.

Boxing has tested my will, improved my cardio and rhythm, and has increased my self-confidence. The environment of the gym is amazing and has a very authentic feel. – A Lady Named Pearl

Check out more of this story in Pearl Magazine Winter Issue.


Photos of Pearl are courtesy of Anthony Gary.