Welcome to The Hip Hop Locker Room, our new monthly interview series at DetroitRap.com. Starting the year off right we’ve got our first special guest LAZARUS. It’s been quite the year for the Detroit bred lyricist, who’s been repping for the 313 all across the world alongside the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. Accolades include his viral hit “Decapitation Chamber” feat. Ghostface Killah which has garnered over five million downloads worldwide, as well as performing with Wu-Tang at at the legendary Sydney Opera House in Australia. The #LazArmy movement has seen a tremendous amount of growth & as it continues it’s momentum it felt like the perfect time to dig deeper with one of Detroit’s most gifted lyricists.
THE Q & A.
COMMi$$ION: You’ve garnered quite the accolades across your hip hop career ranging from a Discovery channel documentary to unleashing bars in front of an audience inside Russell Simmons own home. Now you’ve got a brand new music video alongside Ghostface Killah for “Decapitation Chamber”. Is there anything still left on your rap career bucket list?
LAZARUS: I just want to keep making good music. It’s been a long journey and I’ve met a lot of my idols along the way, but at the end of it all I want to lay down a legacy and have a catalog of quality work that I can be proud of.
COMMi$$ION: Speaking of “Decapitation Chamber” in the beginning of the video Ghostface Killah is shown handing over the “keys”. What did that moment signify to you & how was the experience of working alongside the legendary Wu-Tung Clan member like?
LAZARUS: Ghostface Killah is one of my favorite emcees of all time and he is without question the most aggressive presence on the mic in Hip Hop. To have him say that to me is worth more to me than getting 10 Grammy awards.
COMMi$$ION: You’re not only a rapper but a doctor as well. How have you been able to manage two careers successfully for so long & has there ever been moments you’ve considered abandoning one for the other?
LAZARUS: Doubt has lingered throughout both careers. Because this standard has never been set before, it’s been met with resistance from almost everyone. I had to challenge myself every single day to make this a reality.
COMMi$$ION: As a lyricist in a world of auto tune what drives you to stay true to substance over “dumbing” down and how do you see the industry taking shape in the coming years?
LAZARUS: The current rap scene is trash to me. The standards have lowered so much that subpar emcees are getting praised nowadays. I still sharpen my blades listening to rap music that came out in previous eras. I need substance in my rap.
COMMi$$ION: You’ve been a part of Detroit hip hop scene since the early 00’s championing rap battles over local airwaves all the way to current times collaborating alongside the likes of Royce Da 5’9, Obie Trice, & Swifty Mcvay among others. Though you currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada you have always stayed true to the 313. How has Detroit influenced you personally & musically throughout your life?
LAZARUS: Growing up in Detroit and the Detroit Hip Hop scene has molded me to who I am as en emcee. Just as you learn your first language in your early childhood, Detroit was and forever is my stomping ground. Detroit is where I learned to rap, learned to battle and where I honed my skills as an emcee. Being mentored by Royce and D12 has enabled me to be the lyricist I am today.
COMMi$$ION: You’ve been hard at work crafting your next album “Music Is My Medicine”. Outside of a mixtape in 2010 your last album debuted in 2007 with “Chapter One: The Prince Who Would Be King”. As time has passed & anticipation builds for your new project was there anything in particular you told yourself you wanted to accomplish going into this release?
LAZARUS: I want to release this album when the momentum is absolutely right for it. In the current climate of music, albums are released and then disposed of within 24 to 48 hours. Attention spans are so short nowadays and great music is overlooked because of it. The most effective approach I see now is to release one song at a time with a video and promote it heavy so that it gets the proper promotion and recognition.
COMMi$$ION: You’ve recently taken to the road touring across the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand alongside the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. What have been some of the challenges & triumphs during this new journey?
LAZARUS: It’s been a monumental dream-like experience to tour the world with my idols. For them to show me respect and give me guidance on this journey is an indescribable feeling.
COMMi$$ION: Not too long ago you shared a photo from the tour with you rocking a stage in front of 10,000 people. How would you describe what was your going through your head at the moment as you graced the stage?
LAZARUS: It was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt in my life. And the second I got the crowd rocking with me, I knew it was my time.
COMMi$$ION: Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions for the readers here at DetroitRap.com. In closing if you could leave fans with only line from any of your records to be etched in their memories which would it be?
LAZARUS: “I’m the sickest, wickedist boogie man like America made of Osama/ Wrap the heads of rap gods around my neck like Anacondas/ Come to take the throne despite your willingness, with honor/ Like Killmonger came to Wakanda to take it from T’Challa/“
So not only did Lazarus get to rock the United States, Canada, & Australia alongside Wu-Tang Clan. He was also a part of a extremely special New Zealand tour date the celebrated the 25th Anniversary of “Enter 36 Chambers“. A new year is among us, & brand new developments are surely coming from the #LazArmy camp. Until next time, this has been The Hip Hop Locker Room powered by DetroitRap.com.
“My Money” New Visual from Stretch Money
Rebel Nation flag ship artist Stretch Money has been real busy in the first half of 2020. Not letting up Stretch drop a new video for MY MONEY!
“King Father” New album from Fatt Father
Fueled By Life/ Middle Finger Music presents ‘King Father’, the highly anticipated
fourth studio album by Detroit veteran emcee, Fatt Father. ‘King
Father’ takes listeners on a personal journey through life. Fatt
Father searched as far as Windhoek, Namibia to make sure that the
production on this album was undeniable. There, he found the
soulful sounds of Namibian based producer, Becoming Phill. Marv
Won, Blizzard, Trox, Foul Mouth, Jeremy Ford, and Scud One, also
contributed powerful production to ‘King Father’ as well.
The 12-track album showcases Fatt Father’s growth as a
lyricist, conversationalist and as a father. With features that include
Melanie Rutherford, Finale, Quelle Chris, Fatt Father’s 11 year old
son, DJ Oreeyo, and more. ‘King Father’ is well balanced on every
level. Whether in the car, gym, or living room, this album is the
perfect soundtrack. After many projects and years as an emcee, Fatt
Father continues his dominant reign as King Father.
Verdict Album Review “Keep Livin” By Brandon Scarber “Real Name No Gimmiks”
KEEP Livin for tomorrow is not promised!!
By Brandon K. Scarber (Real Name, No Gimmicks)
In 1991, Geto Boys released “My Mind Playin Tricks On Me” via their magnum opus We Can’t Be Stopped on Rap-a-Lot/ Priority Records, who doesn’t know the timeless lyrics:
“At night I can’t sleep, I toss and turn…four walls just staring at a nigga. I’m paranoid, sleeping with my finger on the trigger…But I ain’t goin’ out without a fight…” – Scarface [of Geto Boys, raps]
This song with these specific lines, is the first time in hip-hop/rap we experience an artist describing issues with mental health and dealing with it in real time. But, it definitely wasn’t the last time we would hear it on wax, or deal with it either.
From Mac Miller’s death to XXXtenacion, Capital Steez [Pro Era], Juice WRLD and documented accounts from Eminem, Joe Budden, and recently Big Sean and Charlamagne the God, hip-Hop/rap awareness on mental health has grown over the years. Verdict’s coming of age shall be no different!!
VERDICT, a Detroit bred emcee and lyricist, is the new artist to watch. Verdict dropped his first project Eastside High back in 2014; and now he’s back with KEEP Livin. A project filled with vivid storytelling and visceral bars, delivered in an entertaining way.
He’s unafraid to address the taboo of mental health and its relationship with social media. Unapologetically, he tackles musical withdrawal, stagnated successes, public acceptance and validation.
All of these things drive artists and creatives, at times to fall into depressive mind states and situations. The feeling of maintaining one’s own perceived “hype” and/or success, or the keeping up of appearances to maintain a status, which can become ultimately a liability to the artist and/or creative.
Not to mention, the elusive RESPECT from fellow artists and creatives, who could be considered peers? But let’s be honest, Hip-Hop/Rap is a blood sport!! Verdict gives us the realness from a black man’s perspective who is taking control of his life and career.
Most artists are spewing clickbait, and/or more concerned with the superficial “comments,” “hearts,” “likes,” “shares,” and/or “views.” Verdict, on this project is openly talking about not being immune to these divisive things as well. At the same time, he is doing the handy work of dispelling what it means to be an emcee and lyricist in Detroit and beyond. He is an artist, creating music aka stereo therapy!!
KEEP Livin, is not just his manifesto but a war cry to all the refugees of the culture who’ve dealt with similar issues and circumstances. KEEP Livin is only 8 cuts! There are some bangers, conscious tracks, introspection, and pretty much something to satisfy any type of listener. This isn’t your regular degular!!!
I do not believe he did this in vain. Maturity is woven into the lyrics and songwriting. It is heartfelt throughout the project and it is refreshing!!! Keep Livin should surpass Verdict’s past records “Feelings” and “Scenario” Feat. Neisha Neshae, as they both gained some radio successes and premiered on MTV. KEEP Livin is another strong entry into his musical catalogue behind local favorite – College Ain’t for Everybody.
With KEEP Livin the title track, Verdict raps about short term retirement and re-igniting his creativity for music. You feel the hunger pains and growth throughout the track, the same can be said for the “come up story” you hear on the Eminem sampled Don’t Lose Yourself. Verdict is beaming with vigor.
Applause to the Production team. They took creative risks and it’s paying big dividends throughout this project. Quarter Pound Music did most of the heavy lifting on this project with 6 of the 8 tracks to his credit. The Snap! song “The Power” sampled on Verdict’s Hectic will definitely catch you off guard. On JODY, the way Quarter Pound Music flipped 2 Pac’s “Hail Mary” was solid too!!
Verdict refuses to dumb down his content to the mumble rap. What You Know has single potential. It’s a summer time vibe that’s sure to be heard cranking out plenty of whips cruising down Jefferson Ave to Belle Isle this summer. On July 19, which closes the project combining Mary J. Blige and Roy Ayers’ brings everything back home for the listener.
With all of this content, Verdict has the talent, but I don’t think he has fully found his voice or place within the music community of Detroit and beyond. Maybe, his music is bigger than the city? But, at any rate, with KEEP Livin, he is definitely headed in the right direction.
Rise up, Gunston and E. McNichols!!!
Benofficial Music Certified!!
Willy J Peso x Neisha Neshae – 12 Plants
“My Money” New Visual from Stretch Money
Myles Garrett (Feat. Bang Belushi, Jypsy, Isaac Castor & Ketch P) Prod By Foul Mouth
Aztek The Barfly “Playing With Fire” Prod By Aztek The Barfly
“MOVE DIFFERENT” Travis Slang
Neisha Neshae “Double Up” Lyric Video
Fatt Father “Dreamin” ft. Quelle Chris and Finale Audio
Milwaukee checks in! Maal Himself – “Safe” Check out the visual
A Minus Ft Nolan The Ninja “Uncut” video Prod By Nolan The Ninja
“What Love” Feat Yakgod Drizz & Low Benz Prod by Wil Black
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