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From Geto Boys to Solo Career: The Resilience of Rap Legend Big Mike

New Orleans, Louisiana, has long been a hotbed of musical talent, birthing some of the most iconic figures in hip-hop history. Among them stands Michael "Big Mike" Barnett, a native son whose journey through the rap scene is marked by both triumphs and tribulations.

Before his brief stint as a member of the legendary Geto Boys, Big Mike made waves as one half of the dynamic duo, The Convicts, alongside Mr. 3-2. However, fate had other plans for Big Mike when Death Row Records came knocking on his door, eager to sign the promising artist. With a personal connection to Snoop Dogg, cultivated during their shared apartment days, Big Mike was on the brink of joining the West Coast powerhouse.

Yet, it was the persuasive voice of J. Prince, the founder of Rap-A-Lot Records, that ultimately convinced Big Mike to stay true to his roots and sign with the Houston-based label. Joining the Geto Boys after the departure of Willie D, Big Mike's presence was felt on the group's 1993 album, "Till Death Do Us Part." However, tensions within the group, particularly a heated altercation with Scarface, led to his departure, clearing the path for Willie D's return.

Undeterred by the setback, Big Mike embarked on a successful solo career, but his journey was not without its challenges. As his star continued to rise, Rap-A-Lot Records sought to secure him in a long-term contract, prompting Big Mike to assert his independence. Refusing to sign a new deal until he received owed payments, tensions simmered between him and J. Prince.

What followed was a harrowing ordeal that tested Big Mike's resolve. Threats loomed ominously in the background, culminating in a chilling incident where gunshots rang out mere inches from where he stood. Though initially hesitant to connect the dots, a confrontation with a Rap-A-Lot security guard ignited a fury within Big Mike, prompting him to take matters into his own hands.

In a moment of desperation, Big Mike attempted to burn down Rap-A-Lot's studio and headquarters, an act that would ultimately lead to his arrest and a six-year prison sentence for arson. Despite the setback, Big Mike emerged from behind bars with a renewed sense of purpose and resilience.

Today, Big Mike stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, his journey serving as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, redemption is possible. Though his path may have been fraught with challenges, Big Mike's unwavering determination to chart his own course has solidified his status as a true icon of the rap game.

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