About


Spencer Wirth-Davis (AKA Big Cats) is a producer, DJ, composer, and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He makes instrumental hip hop that draws from a wide range of musical influences including classical, hip hop and jazz. His work is melancholy, multi-layered and cinematic; a definite stylistic departure from the standard hip hop sound. Drawing from his background as a classically trained musician, his compositions go well beyond the traditional sample-and-drums format of hip hop, creating complex juxtapositions of instruments, rhythms and sonic textures. Before turning to hip hop, Wirth-Davis studied string bass for nine years under the instruction of Chris Brown (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra), Michael Watson (Minnesota Opera), and Chris Bates.
His most recent album, Pangaea, is a collaborative effort with Toki Wright. Okayplayer named the duo “the best, most important hip hop act Minnesota has to offer”. His previous album, For My Mother, was named a top 5 Minnesota album of 2012 by Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, City Pages, and Vita.mn. In 2015, City Pages named Big Cats the "Best Producer in the Twin Cities". He is also the recipient of a 2012 McKnight Composers Fellowship and a 2015 Jerome Travel and Study fellowship. 
He has collaborated with BJ The Chicago Kid, Toki Wright, P.O.S., Smoke DZA, Lizzo, Caroline Smith, Haley Bonar, Chastity Brown, Sage Francis, Guante, The Tribe & Big Cats, Sims, K. Raydio, MaLLy, and many others. He has shared stages with Atmosphere, Brother Ali, P.O.S., Dessa, DJ Qbert, Schoolboy Q, DMX, Action Bronson, Riff Raff, and many others.

Spencer works out of RiverRock Studios in Northeast Minneapolis.

Press:
“The preeminent beatmaker in the Twin Cities”
-893 The Current
”Big Cats has produced some of the Twin Cities' most distinctive beats for over five years.”
-City Pages
“Lush, instrumental trip-hop... a terrific record”
-Pioneer Press
“A beautiful, moody soundscape”
-Minnesota Public Radio
“Exhibit No. 1 on hip-hop producers/beatmakers being real musicians”
-Star Tribune
“...the best, most important hip-hop act that Minneapolis has to offer”
-Okayplayer