"How'd you get the name Big Ted?"
I still get asked that question. Like I ain't been around long enough yet for that to not STILL be a real question anymore! No matter, I guess if folks are asking then they're interested. Well, here goes with the full truth and nothing but...
I take you back to south London in the 80's for this one. Battersea to be specific. Plough Road to be right and exact. I was headed there with Gary, one of my fellow hip hop enthusiasts and school bodypopping crew members. (man, I wonder what happened to the rest of Street Level???) He was taking me to meet some of his non schoolfriend hip hop heads. I can even remember my absolute favourite joint at the time was 'Hip Hop Beat' by The Rapologists. Dope!
Now, before I get into this part, I'd like to set the scene a little bit. This is the 8o's. Hip Hop is still pretty fresh over here. I knew I loved it, I knew it loved me. But I was still working on how to show it. So, at this point in my life my style was a little wack-ish! I had wanted the 'wet look' hair style but my Mum was NOT having it! She said I'm not allowed to spoil my hair with that. Instead, I had what back then was called a 'dry perm'. It was a treatment that came in a beautiful little glossy cardboard box with beautiful black people with beautiful black hair staring back at me on it. My mum performed the duties as hairdresser and turned my tight natural curls into a big floaty afro! Not what I wanted, but hey, you don't say that to a Jamaican mother if you value your lips!!!
Back to Plough Road. Gary and me roll up to a bunch guys laughing and joking on the street corner and he calls to one of them. Gary says to me "This is Michael." Michael looks me up and down for a split second (no doubt clocking the floaty 'fro) and then says "Wassup Big Ted!" The small crowd erupts in laughter! From that moment on I have been forever known in hip hop as Big Ted. The Michael who gave me this life changing rebranding would later become known to a generation of heads as MC Mello.
Michael, Moomin, Mello, you will ALWAYS be my hip hop father!
Gary, you get a big thank you too!