Choose One:

Q-Tip or Phife Dawg?

“Phife all the way. Tip had the image, but to me Phife was raw on another level.”

Studio or Stage?

“I have to go with Stage. The studio is real personal to me. It’s where I let out my frustration, talk about the good the bad ways to change the world and all that other rapper stuff. However, there’s nothing like seeing people react to your words. It’s even better when they come up to you after a show and commend you for your performance. I love being around people in general and feeling good energy. To sum all that up, the studio is more discreet and it’s where I put in the ground work but the Stage is a different beast. Your career relies on if the people dig it.”

Sober or Sauced?

“Aww man, I gotta be a cornball and say sober lol but naw. As far as music goes I can’t really perform in the studio or on stage with any substances in me. I lose focus fast and since I perform with no vocal back track, I gotta be sure I remember everything that needs to be said.”

Current Fashion Trends or Throwback?

“I’m with the throwback all the way. I do like to mix it a bit, but a lot of these guys out here starting to look a lil’ on the feminine side but to each his own though, if you feel good, do you.”

DJ or Live Band?

“That’s a hard one. I can’t really pick a side. I’ve had the opportunity to perform with a live band and It’s nothing like having other musicians on stage feeding off each other’s energy. On the side of the DJ, it’s an unreal feeling when the beat is about to drop and the speaker system is correct. I gotta go with both.”

Outkast or Wu-Tang Clan?

“I gotta go with the WU. I will say though, i’m not too deeply versed in either one of their catalogs like that. I’m ATCQ all day. But it ain’t no denying the WU.”

Basketball or Skateboarding?

“Ball has been life lately. I should be in the D-League or something.”

Ab-Soul or Schoolboy Q?

“School Boy. I’ve dug deeper into his catalog as of late and I’m digging it. Ab-Soul has to grow on me. I always hear hype about him but when I listen it just doesn’t click to me.”

Work or Weekend?

“Work, Work, Work. If I fail, at least I know it wasn’t from lack of work I put in.”

Q&A:

Coming from Philadelphia, how does that influence your craft?

“Philadelphia is a difficult place to be sometimes. Just like any other inner city neighborhood, there’s a lot of drugs, violence and kinds of negativity to get caught up in. That’s the reason why I make the music I make. I enjoy finding the perfect balance of motivating and making the music listenable and relatable. You can definitely hear my hunger in the words. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get out of a situation where you watch your mother work close to 16 hour days to pay the bills. My craft and my delivery is derived from the struggle. As Cliche as that is, It’s the truth.”

If you could make a short statement to the entire, and all urban communities of Philly, what would it sound like?

“If I could make a statement to my city I would say “think before you act”. A lot of senseless violence and unnecessary tension is brought upon us when people act on impulse and out of hate. Change starts from within the community. Do something nice once a day, smile at somebody. Make our home a HOME. We are family in this city. If all of us came together for causes and community upbringing, Philadelphia would be at a high point in no time. CHange is within us. Take a stand for what needs to be changed. don’t just take to social networks to cry out. Lastly, be an example for our youth. They look up to us as heroes and when heroes give off the wrong energy they absorb it.”

How does being proficient in videography help you in the hip-hop world?

“Being proficient in Videography is a stepping stone for me. It allows me to take my visuals into my own hands. Videography has and is allowing me to network within the music industry and meet the right people. I love creating art period. Whether it be visually or sonically.”

While making ‘Green Hour’, was it helpful to have Crusty Cuts as the sole producer?

“Crusty Cuts was a huge factor in this project. We went 50/50. He handled production and I put my thoughts on the instrumental. I’m glad we linked up. It’s a good feeling having someone produce solely for you. Not having to worry about leases and legal ish. Not only did he produce, but he brought the vinyls on stage and we put on the “Green Hour” in a bunch of live settings. “Green Hour” wouldn’t be what it is without the OG Crusty Cuts.”

Explain what type of emcee you [Ler Stevens] are?

“Hmm.. I would say I’m a Neo classic emcee. I’m a mix of all your favorites with an added new flavor. Creative, motivational, relatable, soulful and more all in one. A true MC embodies the live element wholeheartedly as well, and that’s definitely me. On and off stage I live what I speak.”

Are you in the beginning, middle, or end stage of developing yourself as a rapper?

“I would say I’m in the middle stages of developing myself as an artist. I know my sound well but I’m definitely in an experimental high point still. I’m forever growing, But I’m very solid in my style of creating.”

How do you go about booking your shows and spreading recognition of your art around cities such as Burlington, VT?

“As an artist on the hustle, It’s sometimes hard to get shows and this is one reason i got into the event curation world. I’ve successfully put on concerts for local artist while adding myself to the bill. There’s no handouts so I go out and get it. When people start to recognize, I definitely get contacted more about opportunities and that’s very ill. I just network every skill I have and I always find an in to talk music business and shows. It’s all a chance game. It’s about who you know and that’s why I talk to any and every body.”

If you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

“If I could collaborate with anyone dead or alive It would be the whole “A Tribe Called Quest” crew. I would love to be featured on of their raw cuts like “Word play”. I feel like it’ll bring the best out of me as an artist. I still have hope that Phife will hit me up one day. Haha in due time.”

 What mark would you like to leave on the hip-hop world?

“I would like to be known as one of the influencers. I don’t have to be the biggest or the most paid. I just want people to know that within my words there’s a lot of meaning in what I’m saying. I want that young Philly boul to tell me that I changed his life one day. The power of words is undeniable and we as artists need to know that. I just want to be remembered and to know I gave hope and purpose to people who feel hopeless. I’m your voice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Ryan Klingenberg

Ryan 'Hip-Hop Hercules' Klingenberg is a writer based out of Long Island, New York.

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