RACK-LO - Interview

The Lo-Life Founders are magnificient crazy ones. There's no surprise discovering that Rack-Lo, one of them, is as funny, pleasing and terrific as his own albums. Just check this interview and you'll understand why. And please take care to the self-promotion the MC inserted in each of his answers. He deserves it.

I read somewhere your mother told you to go when you were 14, can you tell us about it ? how did you live this experience ?

When I was 14 I was real hard headed, really didn’t listen to no one. But at that time me and my mother had got into a disagreement. By me getting in trouble with the law, going back and forth to Spofford then Riker’s Island, doing terrible in school, I guess she said "enough is enough". I guess this lead to her kicking me out which left me being homeless. The shit was crazy, but I survived through it. It was a learning experience. Yo, I literally just roamed the streets for nights before I moved in with my aunt (Rebecca). Nobody knew, what I was going through. None of my peers. My father helped me a great deal through that period. The ordeal was a struggle, but I got through it.

You grew up with hip-hop because I think your father was a hip-hop fan . What are the artists that mark you and influence you the most since you listen to hip-hop ?

I’m definitely feeling a lot of the old school gems from the Golden Era" of hip hop. The people who set trends, the people who changed hip hop and carried the torch and made it possible for many of the artist today to do what they do. Also, I feel like in terms of quality music, you have to back in time. To me the beginning was the best, and hopefully the culture will get back to that. Put it like this; here’s Rack-Lo’s top 10 spitters -solo-or group; Run DMC, KRS1, Public Enemy, NWA, Kool G Rap, Biggie Smalls, Rakim, Redman, 2Pac and Jay-Z.

We can see in your things that you really like emceeing, battles freestyles, ego-trips but how did it start why did you become an emcee and not a dj or a producer?

I never planned on being a Mic Controller. It’s just something I developed into. It all started out as fun. Just freestyling, flipping words & concepts without referring to premeditated word play. We would free style all day long. It was like a job to us. Furthermore, hip hop was something that was all around me as a kid. I took a liking to many facets of the culture. Whether it was graffitti, break dancing or djaying, but my strongest elements became mcing, being a street fashionist and street entreprenurialism. Djaying was a element of hip hop I grew up around heavily growing up in Marcus Garvey Village in Brownsville Brooklyn, besides just listening to the music. Back in the days around the period of 1985-88 my uncle was one of the most renown DJ’s in that era. His name is Dr. Tango. Nobody could compete with him and his crew. -RIP- (Rice Man). I remember being at block parties or what we called jams watching him do his thing. My favorite song he always played was Eric B & Rakim’s ‘My Melody’. That’s monumental, that’s hip hop!!

How would you describe your rhyming style?

My style is "Spitacular" that’s how I describe it. I’m a universal type of MC. I like to challenge the listeners, but at the same time entertain them. When you listen to my music, it’s like entering a new world. I bring listener’s into the Rack-Lo Dimension. I take them on a journey and give them something different, music that’s "SPITACULAR". I challenge myself as a writer as well. I enjoy meaningful lyrix, conceptual/competitive rhythms and ideas. To me that’s what’s intriguing about spitting, challenging your mind!!

Your whole crew Lo Life is focalised on polo RL’s clothes . Can you explain us in what this RL’s fanaticism consists of? And why polo RL?

I’m down with 2 cliques "Lo-Lifes" & "Spit Squodd". Lo-Lifes is a group of kids from Brooklyn, NY, who in the mid 80’s to late 90’s made Ralph Lauren Polo Apparel infamous in the streets. We are responsible for the sky rocketing sales in that market when it comes to urban America and beyond. We took a clothing line that was hardly accessible to people of our economic status and made it popular amongst hip hoppers world wide. This trend started out in Brooklyn, NY and has expanded to Philadelphia; Florida, Texas, North Carolina, California and Japan etc. We have true followers, the Loa-life movement is serious. Loa-Lives is legendary like rock steady in the hip hop culture period. We impacted on a lot of shit!!! Were gone make history twice; 1st street fashion "Now THE MUSIC"… WE on some b-boy/street/business shit!! Look out for LO-LIFE MEMBER SHIP CARDS coming soon @WWW.SPITFACTORYONLINE.COM.

Your albums are based on the concept of presidential campaign. Is it only a rap concept or are you really interested in politics? In these albums you say very serious things with humour and skillz, is it your aim in music, saying everything without being annoying?

I’m very political and on all my albums I display that. Conceptually, one of my alter-ego’s is THE PRESIDENT with my wife 1st LADEE. We’re the 1st hip hop family including my son Christian aka Lo-Kid that’s going to remain together without breaking up. I try to touch on serious issues to, but in a way people can relate to it!! I may use humor or just realism. I just want my fans to know that I can go either way, lyrically. On my recently released LP Rack Lauren I penned my own version of the Consti2tion. That’s real political. I use different personalities when attacking different situations. But the whole president idea, stems from me having a great concern for politics and where we are going in the world.

On some of your tracks, you rap on others artists instrumentals . Can’t you really get originals instrumentals or is it a way like in Lolife Founders’ "Stole" (on Black Rob’s ‘Whoa’ instrumental) to parody or to remake some hiphop joints from other hiphop artists ?

That’s what you call a "Hungry MC". Breaking the rules, taking risks, doing what you have to do to get heard by the masses. To me that’s hip hop, creating something out of nothing. We do straight independent hip hop, aint no majors involved. To me, I look at it as, taking what you want. Because a lot of artist tend to wait for a record deal to come along, we said fuck that, and gave ourselves record deals. Now we’re doing the independent thing!!! We’re playing by our rules!! No holds barred!!

You often rap with your wife Shileena / 1stladee, is it easier to collaborate with her than with other people ?

She’s the best rhythm partner I ever had. That’s a blessing. I feel fortunate but it was meant to be. With my wife being involved in my music makes our personal relationship much stronger. And to top it off, she’s real, she’s ladee like and she have skills. She’s also my Lo-Wife from the Lo-Life era, we met in Dec 1989 and been together ever since. I’m the only Lo-Life who married his Lo-Wife from the "Golden Days". W’ere also raising a son together (Christian). We’re gonna be the 1st hip hop family-father,mother and son!!! Watch!!

How had you the idea to make a soundtrack Love and Loyalty for The Source magazine’s article about Lo-Life ?

We wanted to take it a step further. Besides having a series of articles in The Source, we wanted to give the people a musical stand point as well. We’re the first group that ever did something like that. Love & Loyalty is just the beginning. Lo-Life Founders will be releasing a second LP Crownsville coming soon. Also, look out for the follow up story to The Source’s mag articles. We’re doing another article, but this time it will be advertised @WWW.SPITFACTORYONLINE.COM- "IT WILL BE THE NEXT LEVEL-TO OUR MADNESS" If you thought The Source Mag was tight, wait till you get a dose of the new one.

I heard you are working on a book and on a movie with Thirstin Howl III . Can you tell us more about these projects ?

Yeah, right now we have a lot on our plates. The work load is tremendous. Thirstin Howl III, Lo-Lifes and myself- were working on a book and a documentary based around the Lo-Life History/Legacy. See one thing about the Lo-Life Movement, is that it has different levels and phases to it. So We’re gonna give it to the people raw, from our perspectives. We can write forever, because the movement is non-stop.

You are on the coming compilation Projet Chaos. How did you get the opportunity to be on it ?. How did you meet Waxexpress prod’s staff ?

My participation in the Projet Chaos compilation came about as a result of promoting. I handle/oversee all the promotions for Rack-Lo releases, so it’s a great thing. I hooked up with Stephane from Waxexpress and we made it happen. I wanna thank everybody at Waxexpress for showing love and giving me that opportunity. Yo, we’re trying to get to France to perform live !! That would be bananas. Any hip hop promoters out there, let’s make it happen !! Hit me @racklo@spitfactoryonline.com.

What is on your playlist right now ? Who are your favorite MC’s since the beginning of 2001 ?

Right now, I’m not listening to nothing, but live instrumentals. I’m trying to stay in my own world. That’s the spit mode I like to be in, especially since I’m in the process of recording my 3rd LP Aracknofoebia. To be released Mid 2002. This album is gonna set a new mark in hip hop. Some of my favorite artist for 2001: MOP, Ghostface, 50 Cent, Big Pun, X-zibit, Esham, Thirstin Howl III, Killarmy, Sticky Fingaz, CNN, Wu-Tang, Dead Prez.

My new Rack Lauren is available @spitfactoryonline.com NOW!!!!-You can also cop it @waxexpress.com. We have some releases coming soon. But log on to: WWW.SPITFACTORYONLINE.COM for more info on RACK-LO,THIRSTIN HOWL, MASTER FOOL, LO-LIFE FOUNDERS

· Thirstin Howl III new album Serial Skiller will be released Oct 2001 available @spitfactoryonline.com
· Rack-Lo Aracknofoebia new album coming Mid 2002
· Master Fool Brownsville Kid debut album coming soon

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