Coming from DC, a city that has been overlooked by the music industry for so long, it makes me feel really good to see the industry put some focus in to the area. By now you've heard about Wale, Tabi Bonney, and Raheem Devaughn which in my opinion has shown the rest of the industry not to sleep on artists like the one that you may or may not have heard of but will be familiar with by the end of this post. With a buzz that is growing daily, DMV rapper, Lyriciss, has dropped a mixtape today, The Day Job, which will definitely help that buzz grow even more. Lyriciss took some time out of his heavy grind to sit down with Too Hood 4 Hollywood and fill us in on his current project, his future, and the state of hip hop!!
What's good Lyriciss?? You dropped a new mixtape, The Day Job, today and you've got to feel pretty good about it. Tell us what we can expect from it?
Expect some great hip-hop, man. A lot of the new dope hip-hop is very experimental and has a lot of different sounds...genre fusion, singing, etc. Well...I can't sing. (laughs) So I based this tape to be very HEAVY in what I feel is that pure hip-hop feel, the music I was raised on. That way, I could still hold my own in contention with the rest of the new artists, because you can't deny good music at the end of the day.
What are some of the stand out tracks that we should be checking for on "The Day Job"?
"Welcome To Me" stands out for the personal content I put in there...I talked about some truly personal situations on that song. Then you have a track like "Wild" that stands out because of the lyrical exercise put into it. Then there's "Put Ya Hands Up", which stands out for the different type of sound people are hearing from me. Everyone will have a track on the tape that will stand out to them for different reasons though...I think this mixtape is versatile enough where there's enough for everybody to get something out of it.
Who did you work with on "The Day Job"? Did you keep it DC or did you reach out to some other producers and artist?
For the most part, it's very DMV-based. I got features from X.O., Pro'Verb, Cayan, NandoMcFlyy., Deron, RAtheMC, and Mouse aka The Waldorf Posterboy. Got production from my team, Equinox Professionals, in addition to J-$crilla (of Guns-N-Butter/Inner Loop Records), Arafat Yates (of M1 Platoon), David E. Beats, and Cap City. Don't get it twisted, though, I got a little out-of-town love on the tape though. The homie Theo from Rhode Island made a guest appearance on a track, and the homie G-Way from Boston produced a track on there too. I'm always up for working with dope hungry artists...where you're from doesn't matter, as long as you're dope and you love hip-hop like I do. Or rather, you love your art like I do.
Tell me how the whole rapping thing started for you and who are some of your influences.
I started rapping when I was like...9 years old, joe. I started off by just taking other peoples' songs and putting my own words in there. Then I started freestyling at school, hopping into ciphers and battles. From there, I just kept at it and started growing as an artist. I started recording officially when I was 16 years old. So I've been at this for a little minute now. I've always loved hip-hop, ever since a baby. Moms seriously raised me on it. Her CD collection is actually deeper than mine, and she got certified classics...Wu-Tang, Biggie, Jay-Z, all of that. I got in trouble for stealing her CDs when I was younger. (laughs) As far as influences....Big L, Rakim, AZ, Joe Budden, Wale, Kid Cudi...they all play influences into my style.
On one track on "The Day Job", you went in on Lil Wayne's "Misunderstood" and you touched on rappers selling their soul to get in the game. With the rap game being full of auto-tune and so called "ringtone" rap, how do you feel about the current state of rap music right now?
I'm not happy with the mainstream rap game right now...that's just being honest. If I was young with the mindstate I had and the radio was playing what they're playing now, I wouldn't want to be a rapper, more than likely. The mainstream hip-hop scene is very weak...there's no strength or soul in the music anymore. You can't turn on the radio and hear a "Slippin" by DMX. You can't hear a "Juicy" type track anymore. The art has kind of sold itself out for the sake of the dollar, and I don't respect that. At the same time though, I love the newer underground artists and I love my DMV hip-hop scene. I feel like we're the heart of the hip-hop scene...we're keeping the heart beating in hip-hop's chest, you know? That's why I love the blogs so much...they're the new A&Rs. They're the new ears of what's hot, and they give you the option to take it or leave it.
Do you think that the music industry overlooks artists in the DMV? If so why and how do you think that can change?
Yes, we definitely get slept on. There's this misconception that the DMV is strictly go-go, and that's just not true. I feel like the DC hip-hop cats are truer to the spirit of hip-hop than any other region right now, honestly. Artists like Kokayi, Oddisee, Asheru, Enoch, etc., they been doing it forever and they make dope music. So now we have artists like Wale, Tabi Bonney, Marky, Buggsy Malone, Don Juan, RAtheMC...and they're stamping this area as a hip-hop mainstay. So it's on us as artists to join in and keep making quality music to be heard. If you hit the people with nothing but quality, what else can be said?
We both know there is so much talent here in the DMV. If you could make the perfect DMV anthem who would be featured on that track with you and why?
That'd be a long-ass song, joe! (laughs) I can't leave people out, and everybody knows I'm cool with a lot of of the DMV artists, and they're all nice in their own respect. We'd have to do it like Busta did "Touch It" and have a million different remixes to it.
With that said who in the whole music industry would be featured with you on your "dream" song??
I don't know if it'd be one track, but I'm definitely looking to do tracks with AZ, Joe Budden, Skyzoo, Oddisee, Kenn Starr, and Eminem. Oh, and before I die, I need some production from DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, Alchemist, and Pete Rock.
On a personal note, tell me something about Lyriciss that wouldn't necessarily be revealed through your music.
Hmm...what couldn't be shown through my music...um...I'm a very shy dude. Like, super shy. I definitely don't initiate many conversations with people I don't know. I think I definitely sound more confident in my actual songs than I really am.
What do you like to do when you're not making music??
Spend time with my daughter. It hurts, because I don't get to see her as much as I want to because of this career path I'm taking, but I'm doing it for her, so I'm hoping it'll all pay off soon enough. I really need more sleep, but I just don't get the chance to. I like to read. A lot of reading and surfing the net. Or I'm up on the XBOX 360, but that's just as rare as my sleep. Other than that, you might catch me on U St. or in Adams Morgan, chilling. I don't really want to do too much other than that nowadays, because it's too crazy out here.
What does Lyriciss have in store for the future?
More music, man. More music, more success, and bringing as much spotlight to the DMV as possible. Maybe some other ventures in writing, whether it be songwriting or screenplays. Might dabble in radio, since I'm actually certified to do so. I'm a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, so from TV to radio, I'm certified to work in it all. Kids, don't bank on sports and entertainment...none of this shit is guaranteed. Always have a backup plan!
Being an artist on the grind to come up, what would you tell the other young dudes that are either contemplating the rap game or that are rapping and want to start building their buzz??
Learn the business first. The music business is 10% music, 90% business. Learn it YOURSELF. Don't rely on nobody else to do what you're supposed to do, because they'll cheat you out of your bread and won't care. Very rarely is there a friend in this game...learn where to separate friendship and business. Finally...make music that's real to you. Don't let the industry dictate what you need to make. Put your heart into the music you make. If you just want to rap to make money, you might as well stop right now. It's not 1993 anymore...the rap game is now a long-time grind sport...you're not going to be financially stable off of this music in a year or less. Face that. Do this for the love of it or don't do it all.
Good looking my dude on taking some time out to chop it up with us, tell the people how to get in touch with you for shows, features, more songs, etc.