Big Hit: Reuniting with Hit-Boy & Surviving Brutality in L.A. County Jail - The Bail Project Skip to main content

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Video Transcript

I’m Big Hit, Chauncey Hollis. My son is Hit-Boy, same thing, that’s a junior. We up here at Chalice Studios. This is basically where all the magic is made. This where I’m making all the hits man, from The Truth Is In My Eyes to Black & Whites, to The Game to Paisley Dreams right here.

Formerly incarcerated fathers being reunited with their children is imperative. In music is like basically everything for real because we probably wouldn’t be this tight.

What Father’s Day mean to me, it’s big. You know I can show my appreciation for my kids and something small as a a letter you know what I’m saying or a card even though that’s my son he’s a father too.

Seeing my son Hit-Boy with with C3 and my grandson I mean it’s like seeing me all over again. How my dad used to carry me, he does my grandson the same way. I didn’t get to look out for my son like he’s looking out for his son. It’s kind of painful too because I miss that but at the same time it’s joy you know what I’m saying. Being able to witness that and be a part of that.

My son was 3 years old when I got arrested. Before I did get arrested I did him like he does you know my grandson, I kept him with me. You know what I’m saying, every day. The love was there, just long as that presence was there that’s what meant everything.

Being in jail away from my family was like torture. I stayed on restriction, no phone restriction, I stayed on a visiting restriction you know what I’m saying. It kind of like broke those family ties up. Times that I did have bail the bail was so high I couldn’t post bail. It’s like you got to post bail immediately if you want to really get out. Cause if you don’t you probably go to court and they up the bail you know what I’m saying, or even snatch your bail. I wasn’t even guilty on a lot of occasions and I just pled guilty knowing the cross was in in store and I couldn’t I couldn’t bail out and I wanted to get back to my family or get back to the hustle whatever I was doing. Injustice just goes deep.

[In an article with REVOLT you talked about how you were almost killed in the county jail. Do you mind sharing a little bit more about that with us?]

Yeah, I wasn’t almost killed, I was killed. As far as the the doctor said I flatlined and that’s dead. We was in a county jail and you know they was shuffling us around. It took probably like a week for you to get a bed back then. L.A. County was notorious and this particular time we was in a holding tank just basically going from tank to tank to tank. Might stay in this tank all day, then next day go to this tank, we waiting on a bed you know what I’m saying and just got tired. Like literally I was just just trying to speak up for my rights and they told me to shut the fuck up, put my nose on the wall, and I refused. A lot of more police came and they just never stopped coming. And it ended up I was fighting probably like 12 police though. They told me after, like man it took 12 police to get you down. They knocked me out a couple times and I ended up on a gurney. One time I did wake up and put they hand had his hand over my mouth and my nose telling me die. I woke up with tubes down my throat you know what I’m saying. The handcuffs was just my my so swollen around my you couldn’t even really see the handcuffs. I had nerve damage on my ankles and my my wrist. And know this my eye socket was broke. Basically my ribs was broke and the doctor told me like damn you you came out your coma man you uh, somebody powerful is praying for you.

Being reunited with my son is a dream come true. We going back, we reminiscing, we getting to know each other you know what I’m saying a little bit better and what we missed out on. And getting a better understanding you know what I’m saying of certain things that we was confused on and what he was confused on and me at the same time. And what I really wanted to do for him was really just prevent him from doing that, from being incarcerated. It’s a heartwarming you know feeling you know what I’m saying being to able you know witness and and be a part of this success. You know what I’m saying and me gaining this success in such a short period of time.

My latest album is Black & Whites with Alchemist and Hit-Boy. We created magic you know what I’m saying. It was a layup and we going this is like therapy you know what I’m saying. We be around each other creating and a lot of of things come out in the music that we don’t even speak about you know what I’m saying. And we find out more and more about each other just creating music.

I feel like it’s very unfair that fathers are in jail right now because they can’t pay their bail and afford their bail. A lot of dudes is impacted like that and was like you know we gonna stay in jail double triple the time just fighting this case so I might as well plead out and get time served. That’s what you know we get we get
presented with a time served situation.

Cash bail is extortion. I feel like they’re extorting us as a people. Anybody. I don’t care if you white, Black, Mexican, or whatever. Like you say you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If it was that way why it’s not free. The whole system to me is is reversed. I think you’re guilty until proven innocent.

I want my fans to know about The Bail Project and that cash bail is, man basically they doing something that I was going to do, they beat me to the punch, and they basically is helping people out that’s in the struggle. They can’t afford no bails you know what I’m saying and helping their families out cause they can’t afford to put no money up. They struggling. It’s a beautiful program. I’m going be freeing the slaves too man, and looking out for those that’s incarcerated man that didn’t have a chance to get bailed out, as well as the lawyers you know what I’m saying. Man keep your head strong. Real talk.

Bail Project going up. All the way up! Appreciate y’all coming through. Having me here on board, I’m on board man.

This father didn’t let incarceration stop him from living his dreams.

You’ve probably heard of the music mastermind, Hit-Boy. The Grammy award-winning producer has worked with artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Nas, creating songs that have topped the charts. One of the greatest rappers he’s teamed up with is his own father, Big Hit. If you are unfamiliar with his story, Big Hit was incarcerated for a large part of Hit-Boy’s life.

In 2023, Big Hit was eager to make music after serving nine years behind bars. Hit-Boy took this as an opportunity to make up for lost time and the two men have been creating music nonstop. 

“Being reunited with my son is a dream come true. We’re going back. We’re reminiscing.”

They most recently collaborated with The Alchemist on an album titled Black and Whites. In the song “Slick, Sly & Wicked,” Big Hit recounts the pain of seeing Hit-Boy crying while in court as a child. Big Hit’s connection to The Bail Project’s mission of creating a pretrial system that is more just, equitable, and humane comes from deep personal understanding.

Big Hit’s story resonates with families impacted by the criminal justice system.

To celebrate Father’s Day, The Bail Project sat down with Big Hit to talk about his music, his family’s reunification, and bail reform. Watch Big Hit talk about his journey – from surviving in custody physical assaults by deputies to using music as therapy.

Fathers are at risk when they can’t pay bail.

In his interview Big Hit describes how he was beaten, violently shackled, constrained, and suffocated simply for standing up for himself behind bars. Those detained inside American jails, particularly L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail, experience high rates of brutality, neglect, and death – which shines a light on the dangerousness of these places, as well as the need for reform. For fathers waiting to see their children again, the threat of death and serious injury in jail can be psychologically devastating.

There’s over half a million fathers behind bars in jails and prisons across the U.S. The most recent survey showed that 150,000 children had a parent who was in jail simply because they could not pay bail. Furthermore, bail is set at higher amounts for Black and brown people than for others. Disparities like this put immense stress on incarcerated fathers, as well as their children and the remaining caregivers, which can lead to despair.

While fathers who take guilty pleas can be reunited with their children, they are saddled with a criminal conviction – and the consequences of having a criminal record can mean they struggle to find employment, housing, or access to education, which can make life harder than before.

By providing free bail assistance and supportive services, The Bail Project prevents unnecessary incarceration from happening. Innocent people should not feel coerced into pleading guilty just to be released from a jail cell. Almost one-third of our clients’ cases are completely dismissed, evidence that, without our intervention, they could have been unnecessarily incarcerated and exposed to the dangerous conditions Big Hit describes.

Cash bail is extortion. I feel like they're extorting us as a people. Anybody. I don't care if you white, Black, Mexican, or whatever. Like you say you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If it was that way, why isn't it free?

Big Hit

Join Big Hit and support the movement!

As a previously incarcerated father, Big Hit advocates for reforms to the criminal justice and pretrial systems – and he isn’t the only artist who supports bail reform. His EMPIRE label mates Mozzy and Big Moochie Grape stand with The Bail Project too. 

To get more involved, donate to bail someone out and follow us on social media. By sharing Big Hit’s story, you’re not only educating others on the need for bail reform and the importance of keeping families together, but supporting a movement to end cash bail where music is a powerful act of reunification, resistance, and resilience.

Thank you for reading and watching. As you can see, we don’t stop at bailing people out. Our issue awareness and media work is essential to achieving our vision of changing the pretrial system. This work is sustained by the support of viewers like you. If you found value in our content, please consider sharing with your networks and becoming a donor today!

Media Production Specialist

Chloe Jackson

Chloe Jackson (she/her/hers) is the Media Production Specialist at The Bail Project. In this role, Ms. Jackson produces high-quality video content that brings awareness to The Bail Project’s mission and educates the public. Prior to joining The Bail Project in 2024, Ms. Jackson worked in the film industry in various roles, including camera operating for press junkets, assisting on commercials, and editing short films. She has produced and directed two short documentaries, An Artist’s Duty and Black Girl from Mississippi. Ms. Jackson received a B.S. in Media and Entertainment Arts with an emphasis in Video Arts from the University of Southern Mississippi.

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