You’re not a newbie to the rapgame – what have you been doing so far?
Up to this point, I’ve been doing a lot and have a lot of things on the agenda for the upcoming year and years to come. I’ve released a total of 6 cd’s and a number of 12 inch singles. Been touring around the world in places like; Norway, Sweden, Germany, London, Amsterdam, Switzerland to name a few. Recording on a daily basis is what I do often. Running my company Spit Factory and keeping everything tight with that is major. But just been living hip hop, doing what I want to do with no restrictions. That’s how I’m doing it. The Hip Hop way. The schedule is so hectic I work in a vaccum so here’s where my focus is; recording, performing, distributing, bookings, promotions, book writing, filming, directing (videos), cd manufacturing and whatever else comes with making my team win.
You hail from Brooklyn / New York – how’s the general sentiment in BK these days?
The whole feel in Brooklyn at this time is a war vibe. It’s a lot of beef in the streets and it’s only getting worst. The gangs have a big presence now, random shootings and killings in the news, man it’s crazy. Police are on a mission to lock everybody up and the system is over packed. Jobs are limited and hope is low for some. So that alone breeds violence. The Mayor done screwed the city up even more and soon or later it’s gonna get wild. It’s gonna go back to the 80’s, 90’s Golden Era shit.
How does this social environment affect your music?
It affects my music in a major way. It’s what I live, It’s what I see on a regular basis so the social environment and what goes on in the hood will be reflected in my music. As an artist I have a reference source when I’m writing and thinking and that reference is life. What happen in life, what’s happening in life and what’s going to happen in life. That’s how I approach it.
Can you still remember the times when you first came in contact with the HipHop culture?
I remember the time when I first became addicted to Hip Hop. See growing up in Brooklyn, I would always see graffiti all over the place, especially on trains. The break dancing took place right beneath my nose as Thirstin Howl III and his brother Archie mastered the element of break dancing as I was a young spectator. Then as far as the Mcing and Djaying is concerned, those are the elements of Hip Hop that I first became attached to. My uncle Dr Tango was one of the livest and realest DJ’s in Brooklyn in the early 1980’s and we lived together so that rubbed off on me in a big way. My uncle Dr Tango is really responsible for introducing me to the music of Hip Hop Legends like Eric B and Rakim, Fat Boys, Melle Mel, UTFO, LL Cool J, Run DMC and the list goes on. I became aquainted because he played their music like everyday and everytime he would DJ at what we called a “Block Party” or “Jam” I was there absorbing the vibes. And I really appreciate what he did. He was never selfish with his music and what he was doing. To him, it was all for the people. And he knew how to rock a party. I mean make the party jump as crowds and crowds of people would attend his functions. It was times that I thought the entire Brownsville was there because that’s how crowded and over packed the block would get. As far as Mcing, that’s something that I had an urge to get involved in. Like when I first decided that I wanted to make a career out of Mcing and being an Entreprenuer, it has been Hip Hop all the way since day one. So coming into contact and growing up off of hip hop to me is a blessing. I mean we look at Hip Hop as our religion. I mean the same way there’s a holy bible, we created and follow the rules and laws of the culture and respect the fore fathers and founders.
I guess your trademark of “thief rap” is really unique in the industry. Could you just break down the program?
Yeah, it’s unique and trend setting. I’m not trying to sugar coat my lifestyle and the way I came up in the hood. I just paint vivid pictures of my lifestyle and what it means to me. That’s why I call one my styles “Thief Rap”. See it’s all tied into Lo-Lifes, u know the Polo movement that started in the Urban America with Brooklyn’s inner city Youth and transpired into a global phenom. And that’s what we pretty much represented; thievery, women, loot, larceny, beef, being fly and being Hood Rich. So that concept stems from my life style, but I also took “thief rap” to another level. See this may sound off the wall, but it’s the truth. America was founded on corruption, mayhem, thievery and so and so on. So anybody that listens to my music, know what I represent. And besides that, look at what’s happening in the world today. A lot of this madness stems from certain behaviors and beliefs and people getting robbed of their possessions, values, customs,morals in all. So this “thief rap” concept should be something that we all can relate to. This whole war mode and terrorism mode is based on thievery if you do the math. Hell, even the American President stole the election not to long ago, so were use to this madness now. So musically and realistically that’s my element and no one can do it better. So in the “Thief Rap” mode I discuss and talk about all of the above in a fly way.
After the first two albums you swift your style to a comic-like image on “Aracknofoebia”. Did you feel like it was about the time to change the concept to avoid a oversaturation of the fans?
On Aracknofoebia The Art of Webslinging I just wanted give the listeners something extra, something that was different, challenging while repping hip hop. You know why? Because they deserve it. And I think that album accomplished its mission. See the whole Aracknofoebia concept is real deep. It’s some science behind it. And Aracknofoebia is directly related to our livelihoods as well. We see it like this; as far as getting exposure and people getting to know more about our movement and our music, the internet has been one of our biggest resources as far as getting the word out. So the same way a person in the hood or wherever may sling drugs, we took it to the next level and mastered “The Art of Webslinging”. We are promoting, advertising, performing, booking shows, campaigning, selling merch, traveling the world, speaking to fans and slinging our movement a great deal through the internet. Yeah and that shit takes consistancy, intelligence, organization, loyalty, team work, strategy and a lot more. But don’t get it twisted, we still have a heavy presence in the streets as well. Lo-Life4Life…… It’s The Art of Webslinging baby..
What about your latest releases “Racks 2 Riches” and “Golden Era Terror” – how would you define the current sound of your music?
See Racks 2 Riches and Golden Era Terror are like treats for fans and hip hop heads world wide. But at the same time, I approached both releases like official albums. I feel like my sound is right were it needs to be. Skillionaire Enterprises and Spit Factory, we got that futuristic music. I think we have created a sound that’s unmatchable. And with every release we get better and better. As far as the flows and how I flipped the styles on those cd’s are crazy. But to me, I’m just repping hip hop as I know it. Golden Era Terror, to me is like a celebration of the culture. A celebration of Hip hop’s birth, growth, founders, laws, power, beats, rhymes, mc’s, producers, break dancers, graf writers and everything else that comes along with the culture. A dedication to those Hip Hop Legends still rocking on and those legends that we lost. I think a cd like was over due in the industry and I’m glad I did it first. It’s about respecting and never forgetten the fore fathers and builders and architects of the culture. But at the same time contributing something to the culture that you’ll be remembered for. Readers can check for The Golden Era Terror 2nd Edition CD coming in mid 2006 with The Golden Era Terror DVD.
You’re forth album “Real Life” is set to be released later this year – what will you offer to the audience?
On “Real Life”, it’s gonna be a new era for me as far as that whole albums layout. I’m bringing the listeners into my world for real. Everything on that album is gonna be real, right out of my life. It’s gonna be like a book. U know the Rack-Lo autobiography in audio form. It’s gonna be an album with ground breaking beats, rhymes, concepts, sound and hip hop history and more. It’s like once you hear “Real Life” you’ll definitely know who Rack-Lo is and the foundation. Expect Lo-Wife, Lo-Kid, Thirstin Howl III, Anger Bangers and some top name features. I don’t want to let it all go, but it’s gonna be another classic. It’s gonna be an album that could be played from the start to finish, no fast forwarding just enjoyment.
Your wife Shileena already accompanied you on “Aracknofoebia”, she’ll also be heard on “Real Life”. How come that she’s stronger involved in your music now?
Shileena aka Lo-Wife, she has always been there. In the studio sessions and all. On the earlier releases she would appear on tracks once and a while. But once I started recording and putting plans together for Aracknofoebia she stepped up and held her ground. The people will get to hear a lot more of her on “Real Life” and a future solo release.
You’re a member of Spitt Squood as well as the Lo-Life Founders. I think many people may have never heard of this crews – what’s the deal with them? Will there be any group albums in the future?
Lo-Lifes are the street legends from Brooklyn NY, who single handedly started a fashion revolution in the mid and late 1980’s which spawned globally. Putting Polo Ralph Lauren clothing on the map in Urban America, while also bringing light to other known labels. Spit Squodd is a clique of live mic controllers that consisted of; Thirstin Howl III, Rack-Lo, Richie Balance, Master Fool and others, but that group disbanded. If you listen to my current cd “Golden Era Terror” Thirstin Howl III, officially put it to rest. So everything we do together as far a group is done under Lo-Lifes. Like besides having my solo career going, I’m also apart of Lo-Lifes, Lo-Life Founders. There will definitely be a Lo-Life album released in the furure around the time that the movie is released.
You’re the CEO of your own company Spit Factory – what’s the hardest task when leading an independent business company?
I can’t even say that it’s just one task, it’s a collection. You know as being independent were competing with other indies and the majors so we just try to make sure everything is tight as possible. It’s crazy because when I first started doing this seriously, I never imagined that I would be this deep into it as far as the business side goes.
We are pretty much self reliant. I’m involved in every step of the way with each project that comes from Skillionaire Enterprises and Spit Factory. From; writing, recording, performing, promoting, distributing and bookings with the creation of SpitFactoryOnline.Com. So as you can see I’m heavily involved, I’m on the grind daily. So managing the website and making sure all the elements are in place and all the pieces to the puzzle fit, that’s the challenge and I must say it’s a mighty mighty task.
I like “President’s Day” and “Letter Of Assassination”, the songs you wrote about the US president(s). What would you have to tell the head of government in a possible third song on that topic?
I would tell the President that we know his plans, the people are not blind. We know what all the wars are over and what he was seeking to aquire in Iraq. U know I would address all the current issues that people are affected by. The whole song would be information driven. But I would do the third song in a questions and anwers type of flow. It will be like a News Reporter asking the President questions as he would respond with truthful trifling remarks. And the anwers would be fill of information that the public should be aware of. Feel me.. But the ill part is that I will perform both persons.
Some less known underground cats like Richie Balance or Big Boo had several guest appearances on your albums. Could you just drop some info on them? Will there ever be any solo material?
Yeah, those are two artist that we work real closely with and their apart of our camp and movement. Richie Balance has an album dropping early 2006 which will be Executive Produced by Spit Factory titled “Da 1st Of Many”. And Big Boo will also be releasing a cd titled “Crownsville” also being Executive Produced by Spit Factory.
Also in 2006, Richie Balance as Smokey Robinson and Rack-Lo as Happy Lungz will release “The Over Dose” CD. It’s gonna be a busy 2006.
You’ve been featured on alot of national and international records, also did tours worldwide – do you have any valuable memories you would like to share with our readers?
Yo, I have all good memories nothing bad. When we go on tour in the states or across seas in foreign countries the hip hoppers show us so much love. I remember when we performed in Sweden we literally had people slam dancing and stage diving. That was ill to see. On another occasion in Amsterdam me and Thirstin had just finished performing and a female fan came up to me, pulled out her breast and told me sign my autograph.. That was crazy.. But the highlight would have to be seeing how the fans be appearing at the venues Lo Down and throwing their L’s up. That’s right, people be coming to our shows wearing strictly Polo gear from head to toe. It’s just amazing to see how what we started in Brooklyn (Brownville & Crown Heights) has spread around the world. We have Lo-Lifes around the world man, literally.
Could you give us a short insight in your everyday life?
My days are really based around operating and managing business, family time, exercising, studying “the art of war” and just succeeding. I mean we live hip hop. This is like our religion here. Other people may take this culture lightly, but for us it’s our livelihoods. Everyday day is a Hip Hop day. And I mean that. We live and breathe this culture and we are not gonna let anybody else tell us other wise.
Any last words?
Be on the look out for the Lo-Life movie coming to theatre near you soon. “MoNeY, HoEs, & CLoThEs”. There has never been a story told like this ever with this type of magnitude. But it’s gonna happen, it’s over due and the world is ready. Also in early 2006 we’ll be releasing an LP in Australia, but it will be available world wide titled “Lo Down & Dirty”., Big up to Class A Records. Yeah, to all the hip hop heads and fans from Germany, we rep that Love & Loyalty and we got mad love for Germany. Shout out to everybody in Germany repping hip hop. One Love 2 Ugrap.de for showing love and building with me. Shout out to all my Lo-Lifes on lock down; Ralph-Lo, Clay Black, Pup-Lo and all them other Double El live wires. My Lo-Wife and Lo-kid for rackin up with me. All my fam in Brooklyn and around the world.. 2 El’s Up. Love and Loyalty. And a super dedication shout out to my Mother Linda Faye Billips (Rest In Peace)!!!.. I’m carrying on the legacy.