Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Why R&B/Funk Singer Ron Isley Is Called "Mr. Biggs" (2013 article excerpt, comments, and tweets)

 Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a three part pancocojams series about the online Verzuz battle between the iconic Rhythm & Blues groups The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind, & Fire (EWF) which was live streamed ln Easter Sunday (April 4, 2021).

This post presents an article excerpt abou why singer Ron Isley is called "Mr. Biggs" (also given as "Mr. Big"). Some comments and tweets about Ron Isley (aka "Mr. Biggs") are also included in that post..

Click for Part I of this pancocojams series. Part I showcases a YouTube video of that concert and presents some general comments from that video's discussion thread. These comments are about the concert, including the music and musical groups, different opinions about the conert's host the celebrity host Steve Harvey, and comments about the intermission D.J. D-Nice. . 

Click for Part II of this pancocojams series. That post presents some comments from the discussion thread of this YouTube video's discussion thread which focus on Black commenters' memories of The Isley Brothers and/or Earth, Wind, & Fire's music.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to The Isley Brothers for their musical legacy and thanks to Ron Isley for his solo musical legacy. Thanks to Rashod Ollison, the writer of the article that is excerpted in this post and thanks to 
all those who are quoted in this post. 

These selected comments and tweets were published on April 4, 2021 and April 5th 2021.  Numbers are added for referencing purposes only.  

No editorial notes are added to these comments/tweets. 

From "Mr. Biggs they call him" 

"He's a boss, the man in charge of everything and everyone around him.

Behind his designer shades, he never smiles or breaks a sweat. His suits are so sharp, his hair so slick he looks like a picture come to life. The ladies adore him. He's not a pimp, although he looks and acts like one. Exactly how he became a kingpin no one really knows. They call him Mr. Biggs, and have mercy on the fool who crosses him.

Around 1995, urban-pop singer-producer R. Kelly created the Mr. Biggs character for soul veteran Ron Isley, the mellifluous voice of the legendary Isley Brothers. Isley as Mr. Biggs was prominently featured in the song and cinematic video for Kelly's No. 1 smash, "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)." The character helped reinvent the now-72-year-old Isley during the commercial hip-hop boom of the mid-'90s.

But the extravagant, above-the-law Mr. Biggs persona may have bled over into Isley's personal life about six years ago, when the singer-songwriter was convicted of tax evasion and sent to federal prison for 37 months.

Although the character helped four Isley Brothers albums released between 1996 and 2006 reach gold and platinum sales, Mr. Biggs turned Isley, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, into something of a parody. Now the man whose voice powered such era-defining hits as "It's Your Thing," "That Lady" and "Harvest for the World" can't escape the character created by a troubled Chicago superstar.

"It's added something I probably won't ever be able to get rid of," said Isley, who will co-headline the Bounce TV Summer Music Festival with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly on Friday at Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach. "When we're doing any show, the fans expect me to do a segment of Mr. Biggs. It took on a life of its own. It's like a movie with 007."

The expansive catalog of the Isley Brothers goes back to 1959 with "Shout!," an iconic secularization of sanctified gospel forever immortalized in the 1978 comedy "National Lampoon's Animal House." But it was the music the Isleys made between 1972 and 1983 - when younger brothers Marvin and Ernie and brother-in-law Chris Jasper joined older siblings Rudolph, O'Kelly and Ron - that heavily influenced hip-hop and modern R&B. The brothers were also industrious, releasing those classics on their own label, T-Neck Records, which was distributed by the mighty CBS corporation.

Politically charged funk hits such as 1975's "Fight the Power Part 1 & 2," one of the first crossover smashes with an expletive in the chorus, and sensual bedroom jams such as "Footsteps in the Dark" and "Between the Sheets" have been interpolated and sampled by dozens of artists from Ice Cube to Notorious B.I.G.

The Isley Brothers first appeared on the charts with the likes of Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley and Dinah Washington and remained relevant long enough to collaborate with Lil' Kim, Jill Scott and Trey Songz, contemporary acts who could have been conceived to their love songs.


Whether playing Mr. Biggs or crooning the classics that cemented his family's legend, Isley has maintained the same approach for more than half a century. Changing urban styles seem to enfold him.

"We prayed for our success and longevity in this show business," Isley said. "You see that; the fans see that. The ups and downs, man, we're thankful to still be here."

Spoken like a true boss.”

This comments and tweets are from April 5, 2021 and April 6, 2021. These comments/tweets refer to the online Verzuz "battle" between The Isley Brothers and Earth Wind & Fire on April 4, 2021. For that battle Ron Isley wore a black and grey fur coat, a plaisley style suit, a fedora hat and sun glasses.  Several commenters/tweeters said that he was "Mr. Biggs" (i.e. He was representing his Mr. Biggs persona). 

Numbers for the comments and numbers for the tweets are added for referencing purposes only.



1. amtindley
Ron Isley Mr Big-- that beard got me!! Still the chillest dude of all times!!"

Catries Johnson
"Look at Ron Isley in that coat looking good AkA Mr. Big."

"We are all winners to be a part of something so special!!! That damn suit Mr. Big was wearing  was the damn tie breaker for me!!"

4. Sonya x
"He plays no games"

5. Original Man
"Mr Biggs a smooth ass dude 😎"

6. Neicey Michell
That damn Ron Isley is so damn smooth

 Summer Brezzy πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸"

7. Carmelita Birt
At the beginning of Summer Breeze....Mr Biggs so smooth"

8. Gayle Henry (Hillside ES)
I see Ron had to come out of that coat and hat. Hahahahahah. Gettin warm up in there!"

Winnie Pooh
Ron Isley so fine with that gray beard omg😍😍 He can be my old sugar daddyπŸ˜‚

Dolce Gabbana
Ron Isley is a natural OG! Without even trying.."

11. katrina govan
U betta say it. He sure got swag like nobody business."

12. Antajuan Banks
"Hall of Fame OG"

13. King Rob
Y'ALL BETTER HIDE YOUR WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS because that SMOOTH a$$ Ron Isley is in the building πŸ’―πŸ’― nothing but RESPECT for both groups tho"

14. Winnie Pooh
Ron Isley so fine with that gray beard omg😍😍 He can be my old sugar daddyπŸ˜‚"

15. Pamela cheeter
"Ron know he swagging that grey!!"

16. str8spittin
"πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯TWO OF THE BEST GROUPS EVER!!!!πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯




Rx Coaching Solutions


[April 5, 2021]

Internet swoons over Ron Isley in Verzuz battle with Earth Wind & Fire. He had great grannies, grannies and daughters, daughters ready to risk it all. Mr. Big was in full effect! Fire#ronisley #earthwindandfire #verzuz battle! What y’all think? Fine wine?

Simply Kris


[April 5, 2021]

Who’s gonna watch the


 again today???

That was nothing but black excellence last night!


#verzuzbattle #EarthWindAndFire #IsleyBrothers

Because Ron Isley was looking like he’d snatch your big mama, g-ma, mama, aunties, sister and babygirl at a smooth 79, I had to post this classic


#Verzuz #EarthWindAndFire #IsleyBrothers #TheIsleyBrothers"
A GIF is attached to this tweet.


Peter Holland Jr


[April 5, 2021]·

Y'all can tell Ron Isley (a.k.a Mr Biggs) got style, because his full beard matches his coat. I'm taking notes Memo





Jessica Fyre Dizzy symbol


[April 5, 2021]·

Ron Isley re-inventing himself as “Mr Biggs” was ICONIC. There’s a generation who didn’t even know he was an Isley Brother.

This concludes Part III of this three part pancocojams series.

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