Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Before The Riots. An interview with @UCanCallMeLA

"L.A. is a fresh female emcee. For me, she came out of nowhere. For her, she’s always been here. And our path’s crossing was really all about timing." - ThroatChopU, Return Of The Real

I first started to cover the Brooklyn female emcee L.A. and her music last August before the drop of her debut project The Presentation. However, it was in July that I first caught L.A. on a track when she was featured on another NYC based emcee ScienZe's The Phone Tap(e) project. I was immediately impressed and felt that her potential needed to be documented, and decided to cover her music leading up to the release of The Presentation this past January.

Her debut was big, with a fresh mini-movie video to go along with the project. And now so many months later, L.A. has been featured on MTV SuckerFree and DollarVanDemos, and her work has found its way on to HipHopDX and DJBooth, among many other sites.

People were beginning to take notice and I thought that was dope. But she's been generating a buzz among indie sites long before she cracked the bigger domains and it was fresh to see their acknowledgment of her work. I knew from that first track that the girl was incredibly talented, and her live show only solidifies that. The college educated, full-time-job-holder has bars and a vision. Bars and vision that need to be heard and felt.

L.A. is dope. L.A. is ill. And at the end of the day, I'll always come back to something I wrote about her in November in my column over at RefinedHype: "In a Hip-Hop scene where people only recognize one female in rap (at a time), it’s important that you check for L.A. Her rhymes and thought process and views on music are much deeper than a lot of surface level music we hear today."

It was soon after that release of The Presentation that she began work on what would be a project produced solely by Cali based Hippie Sabotage, The L.A. Riots: Mental Fatality. And now after two singles and a fresh video to match, we're on the eve of Mental Fatality. I reached out to L.A. to get her thoughts going into the release of her new project. Check out our conversation after the jump.

So, we're on the eve before your second project drops. A few delays but the moment is finally here. How do you feel?

L.A.: Yo. I'm so hype. A little nervous but I know nerves are ok. But I'm actually really excited for this. It's like high school graduation.

What was the concept behind The LA Riots: Mental Fatality?

L.A.: The L.A. Riots: Mental Fatality is lyrical discussion of my internal battles between my mind and heart. Life fucked me up so the album is a lot of verbal blacking out. It lyrically delves into my oppressors in my life, including the ones I formulate against myself as an artist in a industry that will evidently change me for the best and worse. I use the L.A. Riots as a metaphor of brutality formed by control. These are just a million and one concepts I had for the album but a lot of it is free flows of the heart and the mind and when it came all together, it told this amazing journey of an artist trying to seek her spaces spiritually through the usage of music. I JUST REALIZED I SAID ALOT (laughs). But I really hope the people can see the vision.

You went with one production team on the project. How did you link up with Hippie Sabotage and was the intent always to put out a full project with the crew?

L.A.: I linked up with Hippie Sabotage back in November 2010, before my first project, The Presentation came out. They sent me an amazing beat tape that I just one day in the winter started going off from and I told them "Hey, I want to do my next project with you guys." And from then on we have been building ever since. They are truly the essence of storytelling sound and I appreciated it especially considering my poetic style of writing and rapping.

I found that The LA Riots: Mental Fatality has a lot of deep and personal material on it. What's the most personal cut for you and why?

L.A.: Sheesh. This one is a hard one since they all are pretty much about my life but I would say "Rainy Season" since it's my first time going into the dysfunctionalities of family, and my internal battles as an artist trying to succeed in this industry. I would say the next track to also do that is "Sinner's Blues".

What should folks expect from you with the new project?

L.A.: A lot more of me. I put my whole self in this project hoping that people could relate with the stories, hoping I can possibly change a day or a life.

What's the big difference between this project and The Presentation?

L.A.: Growth. The growth I believe is crazy. It's almost a year since I finished "The Presentation" and one huge difference I would say is my flow, and overall lyrical skill has changed for the better or for the worse I don't know cause I don't feel as intelligent as I use to be (laughs) that comes with working 9-5's, but yea growth.

When the last track fades out, how do you want listeners to walk away from the project feeling?

L.A.: Like they have to hear it for the rest of the year.

And since I know you're always working, what's next?

L.A.: My first headline show The L.A. Riots: I'm Alive show, October 30 at The Studio, Webstar Hall and my next tape L.A. Confident-chill. Haven't decided if that's how the title should be but the beats for this project already... bananas. I'm also suppose to be doing alot more features, as well as a project with FreshNerd from 100 Akres soon, so be on the lookout!

The L.A. Riots: Mental Fatality will be available at DJBooth.net, September 14.

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