by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
There are artists who face adversity and fall victim to it, lacking a solution and then there is Tracey Lee, Rapper and Attorney. Tracey Lee Esq., to be exact, is a former Universal/Bystorm recording artist. One definitely cannot forget the abbreviation, Esq., which is not only the title of his new album, but also the title that follows an attorney.
Some might call it a double life, but whatever the case may be, Tracey is now both fighting for the rights of those who have signed the dotted lines on their record label contracts as well as making music on his own terms under his own label; LLeft Entertainment.
In January of 2012, Lee and his wife and business partner, Lori Nelson Lee, merged their companies; Tracey Lee Inc. (music), CharmCiti Entertainment (film), and Nelson Publishing (books) to form LLeft Entertainment, an independent entertainment company.
I had the opportunity to catch up with the rapper and attorney himself at his listening party, celebrating the release of his indie project entitled “ESQ: The Revelation” with appearances by DJ Young Guru, Eric Roberson, and Algebra Blessett.
Q. What’s the major difference between you as an artist back in ’97 when you put out your first album compared to the work that you’re doing now?
A. Growth man. Growth and maturity. That’s the biggest thing. You’re talking about 17 years ago, so back then I was 27 years old. Now, I’m 44. A lot has transpired between that time, so I’ve had enough time to grow, to mature, to go through some things, to go through life man. That’s the biggest difference between the material that I’m putting out now and the material I put out back in ’97.
Q. You’ve worked with legendary artists like Biggie, Busta Rhymes and Kanye West. What was it like working with those guys?
A. Awe man, it was a great experience at that particular time. It was like these guys…well not Kanye so much, but Biggie had already been in the game for about five, six, or seven years. He taught me so much just from that perspective and being a chart-topping artist. So, he could give me things from that perspective that I had never gotten at that particular point in my life.
Kanye came along further down the line. I had been in the game longer than Kanye had, but just to see his growth and maturation process from where he was back in 1998 to where he is now, is crazy. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to say that I worked with those guys.
Q. What was the concept behind this album, “ESQ”?
A. “ESQ” is the title, but the subtitle is Revelation. So, basically the revelation is a whole process of 17 years of things being revealed to me. What transpired. What is going to transpire. What position I’m in now. The revelation put me in a position to be able to create the music that I’m trying to create for the listeners that I’m trying to capture.
I’m a very spiritual person. God basically said to me, listen I have put things in front of you. I have revealed things to you. Now, use those tools and present the things I need you to say or that I want you to say to the world. So, that’s what the whole concept is about. That’s what the revelation is about. That’s what Tray Lee is about.
Q. You had some feel good records on the album. I feel like you catered to a lot of emotions. Was that your goal for the project?
A. Absolutely man. I’m trying to give people my life. When you’ve been gone so long, people want to know what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been going through. We live in an Internet world. We live in a technology world. We live in a world where social media is crazy and everybody wants to know what’s going on in your life. So, instead of basically putting a camera inside of my house, I tried to put it on wax. So, that’s what this whole album was about. It was about taking you through the emotions, taking you through the feeling, taking you through everything that Tray Lee is going through at that particular time.