I once read in a book of quotes, “you never know a man’s character until you’ve shared a bowl of peeled shrimp with him.” I’ve never been sure if the bowl of shrimp represented a metaphor or was really just a bowl of shrimp, but I understood the importance of it. Asking questions and receiving answers is essential when it comes down to really discovering whether or not you respect a person. I’ve been offered to do interviews a handful of times leading up until now, but I never went through with them. I tried once before, and it just didn’t work out as well as I had hoped it would. After I originally featured Brandon Lockheart’s latest single, The Noise, he followed up asking if I’d be interested in an interview, and to add to the enticement, an exclusive advance of his previously unreleased material titled, Shit I’ve Never Said. I took the bait. Now that I’m here writing this, I’m glad that I had agreed. Not only did I get to learn about the man behind the music, I’m able to share with you some truly fantastic hip-hop. Shit I’ve Never Said is a collection of deep thought, extremely personal tracks that Brandon has kept to himself for some time now. This whole experience has really shed light on who Brandon Lockheart is, as not just a rapper, but as a person. Read through the interview below, then make way to the Bandcamp player and listen to Shit I’ve Never Said. You could also scroll down and listen, then read the interview. I’m not here to enforce rules. You’re grown enough. Do whatever you want in whatever order you want.
TRS – What’s the story behind you having to push back the release date of “Life… Love… Bullshit…” and choosing to release the material heard on “Shit I’ve Never Said”?
BL – Honestly, it really just boils down to me wanting to present the best product I possibly can. I really like where it’s going and the thought of what it could be is amazing, so I decided to hold back until December.
On the other hand I didn’t want to leave my supporters hanging, so I decided to release “Shit I’ve Never Said”.
TRS – What all has led to inspiration of the creation of “Life… Love… Bullshit”?
BL – The chase, the dream..the project is simply inspired by the “American Dream”. More over the great degree of strain it takes to reach that dream.
TRS – I’m a big fan of music that pulls together styles outside of its own. Other than sampling, do you ever use any genres outside of hip-hop to include within your own sound?
BL – I’ve been branching out a bit lately, Choir of Young Believers I really been experimenting lately.
TRS – Production wise, what’s the specific type of sound that you’re aiming for on “Life… Love… Bullshit…”?
BL – When I was a kid my dentist had a this painting of an older man holding his sax under the clouds. I’d go into the back and waiting for me were big glass windows showing a great view of downtown Detroit. The whole city just waiting for yo, you know. The project is so soulful and it captures the exact sound i’d wanted. I link up with two producers out of London,England, Toney Mahoney and Kick Back, they made magic.
TRS – Will the project consist of exclusively original production or will you be borrowing some beats from some more established artists? Also, who all do you have contributing instrumentals?
BL – All of the production is completley orginal. As I stated all of it was imported straight from the heart of London. I went through about 30 beats before coming up with what I needed. Shout to Toney Mahoney and Kick Back on the ones and twos.
TRS – Even though some people still think of Detroit as a dying city, some of the best hip-hop has come out of there. What’s the atmosphere really like that encourages the creation of such good music?
BL – Detroit is like the phoenix man, only thing is she dosen’t know it yet. The culture there is so vibrant, you learn early you have to work hard for everything you want. The embodiment of determined men trying to become something.
TRS – For awhile now, I’ve felt like the Midwest has become the new Mecca for true hip-hop. Specifically because of Detroit and Chicago’s heavy use of sampling from dusty, long forgotten soul records. Do you agree, and if so, why do you think that the Midwest has stayed true to the classic hip-hop sound while, for the most part, everywhere else has strayed away from it.
BL – I mean that’s what the midwest especially Detroit was built upon. The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, you name it. I think that’s what’s embedded in our roots out there and at the end of the day, you can’t shake who you are.
TRS – Nowadays, a lot of the up-and-coming rappers are heavily basing their style off of video games, anime, and social media. Your approach seems to be more of a straightforward rhymer, which is increasingly becoming a rarity. Why are you choosing to stick with the Golden Era type of flow, and why do you think that the rest of these new guys are leaving it behind?
BL – I believe in doing what ever works for you an that’s all I’m doing man. I came up listening to nothing but the greats, the guys who didn’t need gimmicks and let the rhymes speak for them. Nuff said..
TRS – Where do you see hip-hop taking you? Do you see yourself someday signed to a major label, or are you more interested in building up your reputation in the underground and sticking it out independent?
BL – Umm..I’d love to stay indie for awhile, build this thing alone,my way. But who knows what God has in store for me, whatever it may be I know it’s awesome.
TRS – I’m a J Dilla fanatic, so I have to ask, since you’re from Detroit. What is your favorite J Dilla beat(s)?
BL – The beat he made for Erykah Badu’s “Didnt cha’ Know” classic man would have loved to work with, shit I would have been glad to meet him.