interview LOCKSMITH (August 2009) | Interview By: Nima Etminan

 Dubcnn linked up with Bay Area rapper Locksmith, one half of the group Frontline, in Oakland for an exclusive video interview. Lock talks to us about his latest video "Rare Form", what made him say the Kanye West line, and why we haven't heard more music from him lately.

We also talk about his success battle rapping on Grind Time, E-A-Ski's upcoming album "The 5th Of Skithoven", and why he never rode the Hyphy wave. Hear about all that and much more in this inteview.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to nima@dubcnn.com.

Interview was conducted in August 2009
Related Media
Locksmith - Rare Form (Video)
Locksmith - Therapudic
Locksmith // Exclusive Video Interview // Dubcnn

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended) 

Dubcnn: We're right here in Oakland with Locksmith, you know him from the group Frontline. Let us know what's going on with you right now!

Man, just working, brother! Busy, got a lot of things going, my website iamlock.com, my label IMGMI (imgmitv.com), I've just been working. We just dropped the new video, I'm working on my album, working on Frontline's album, working on E-A-Ski's album. Just blessed.

Dubcnn: You dropped a new video the other day called "Rare Form", produced by E-A-Ski, tell us about that.

Yeah, "Rare Form"! Shout out to dubcnn and Nima, that video has been blowing up, it's been all over the sites. Basically, it's me in rare form. To see it, you can go to iamlock.com, dubcnn.com, imgmitv.com, and you'll see me in rare form, saying what I feel like needs to be said in Hip-Hop right now. You gotta listen to it close, anybody knows me or knows my music knows that I have a way with words, you gotta pay attention to the words. The single has been received real well.

Dubcnn: You said "Kanye come out the closet already" on your song. What made you wanna say that?

*laughs* It's just me. It's an inquiry, me inquiring. I study pop culture, I study all cultures, and that's a part of pop culture. So me, as a Hip-Hop fan, I just wanna know. Whether somebody's gay or not, that ain't got nothin' to do with me, that really doesn't matter. But are you gonna be one thing, or the other thing? In Hip-Hop, we scrutinize things, and it's just me scrutinizing pop culture, scruitinizing him, saying "look, if that's what you wanna be, then be who you are, that's fine! But let us know what it is!"

I don't know if Kanye is Kanye is gay or not, I'm a fan of Kanye, I'm a fan of some of these gay dudes music, like Elton John, they make good music. But that's what they do. Locksmith, Frontline, E-A-Ski, we do what we do, hardcore Hip-Hop or whatever you wanna call it. So when we say something like that, it's basically saying "What are you? Pick a side, if that's what you wanna be, then be what it is."

Dubcnn: Reading the feedback on your new songs on the forums and stuff like that, I've seen a lot of comparisons to like early Eminem stuff. Is that something that you've been hearing often?

It's something that you hear. I think it's just because people wanna compare the very keen lyricism and the way the words. To me, that's a blessing to be compared to somebody as dope as Eminem and has had as much success as Eminem That's tight. But once you really listen to what I'm doing and what I'm saying, you'll see that there's a huge difference between myself and Eminem. I take that as a compliment though, Eminem is one of the best.

Dubcnn: Coming from the Bay Area, you always distanced yourself from the whole Hyphy movement. How would you describe your sound?

That's kind of a two part question. The Hyphy movement pretty much kinda died out now, it was a movement that was a here in the Bay Area and had a lot of buzz. But that was never something that I was a part of. You might say that my group Fronline, we kind of ushered in the new wave of music that kind of catapulted the Hyphy movement, but that was never our intention. The Hyphy movement was something that was going on with the youngsters in the streets, it was kinda bottled up and packaged as this movement to the media and internet outlets and all that stuff.

But that's something that we stayed away from, cause that's not what we do. You can't really put no category around the type of music that we make, we just try to make good music. So we stepped away for a minute, let them cats do it, if you do it, it's fine. It's just not something I do, I don't associate with that. So IMGMI, Frontline, E-A-Ski, we kinda stepped away for a minute.

Dubcnn: This is the second video that you dropped this year, after the IMGMI Introduction video earier this year, along with a song called Therapeutic. Nowadays you have artists who drop new songs every other week, but you seem to be holding back. Why is that?

I wouldn't say it' s holding back. I scrutinize myself, we are all very critical of what we do. We could drop tons of music, Ski got a vault filled with music, beats, lyrics, songs, all that. But we're very critical about what we do, we still believe in quality over quantity. We know when it's time to go hard and drop shit, and we know when it's time to fall back. For a good 4-5 years in the Bay Area, 2003 to 2007, we was dropping music, Frontline albums, E-A-Ski had singles out, producing for different artists. But sometimes you gotta fall back and reinvent yourself and come with a new fresher sound.

So when you hear a song like "Rare Form", it's like "Oh my god, what is this?" And it makes an impact, because of the freshness and the quality of it. We spend more time on quality than trying to just drop music. It's only a handful of artists that's successful right now, and the ones that do it, they take their time. With the exception of people like Lil Wayne, which is in a different market. But the way we strategize and the way we move, we just do it a little different. That's the IMGMI way.

Dubcnn: When can we actually expect a new project to come out?

Man, soon. Very soon. Me and Ski been really tinkering with how we wanna drop and when we wanna drop. So be looking for it before this year is up. E-A-Ski's new album is called The 5th Of Skithoven.

Dubcnn: Oh it's not Apply Pressure anymore?

Nah. Well Apply Pressure is still coming, but this is the album we're working on now. It took such a huge change in direction, that Ski was like "Yo, this album is gonna be so much bigger and it's going differently than what I planned, so I can up with the name Skithoven." Musically, we picked that name cause it's on such a high level. When you hear the orchestra and the instrumentation, it makes you think of a Beethoven symphony. So with that said, that album is in the works, we've been working tough on that. Also my album, Frontline album, Left album, we've been working on those. I would say that before the end of the year you will hear a IMGMI project.

Dubcnn: Have you been working on any collaborations with artists?

I've done some stuff. I'm not gonna name any names, I've done stuff with people outside of this area, some stuff with some cats locally. Also stuff with some unknown cats that when you hear them, you're gonna be really taken back. You wouldn't even know it's in the Bay Area and they're gonna put a lot of pressure on these dudes necks out here. I'm talking about up and coming dudes that's raw. Shouts out to my cousin Frank Nitty, he's coming. If you wanna hear anything else, go to iamlock.com, IMGMItv.com.

Dubcnn: Which artists or producers are you checking for right now?

It's a lot of dope cats. Me and Ski was just tripping off this cat, he's actually from out here but he's in New York now, Ryan Leslie. He does more R&B shit. But his instrumentation and the music that he does is incredible.

Dubcnn: You seen the YouTube videos of him working in the studio?

Yeah, dude his sick man! That's like a dude that I would love to collaborate with. Also I've been working with Jake One, I'm sure you're familiar with him he's incredible. I got a bunch of stuff with him in the works, he's tight. Other than that just my camp, Left, Ski, we've been working hard in the lab. It's so many other talented artists in the industry though, of course.

Dubcnn: How's your battle rapping career going?

For ya'll that don't know, go to iamlock.com, I've actually been very active on the battle scene lately man. Just trying to get my feet wet, cause I love Hip-Hop and I'm a multi-fasceted artist, so I like to gather in as much things as I can, if it's for a purpose. There's actually a movement right now across the country caled Grind Time. They were putting on these big battles out here, we saw what they were doing, and we were like "Yo I wanna get down". So since then, I've been killing the battle circuit man! If ya'll don't know, go to YouTube, type in Locksmith Battle, go to iamlock.com I got all the battles up there, you'll see what I've been doing. Its been a blessing!

Dubcnn: Before we go, is there anything else you'd like to let us know?

Iamlock.com, IMGMItv.com. My album is called "Frank The Rabbit", E-A-Ski's album "The 5th Of Skithoven", Frontline, Left, it's on the way man.



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