by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
“In my music, I’ve always wanted to give my story, yeah, but my ultimate goal is to spread a message of peace and love. For self and others. I want to show people how I’ve come along to understand and master myself, which has helped me look deeper into spreading that love.” – Lawrence Green (L. Green)
Fans of the entertainment world are often times spoiled by seeing the finishing product of a song, film, or play without being privy to the process — being the time it takes to reach the finish line. By not being plugged in to the process, we become oblivious to how an individual actually reaches the cusp of their greatness.
This applies to everything, not just the entertainment industry. It might be the well-respected grandfather down the street from you who has a certain level of admiration and love from the community and his family, but we didn’t see how he earned that from many years of hard work and extending himself to others. It might be the young college graduate who was able to finish at the top of their class, defying all odds, but we may not have been privy to how they got there; coming up in a broken home with a learning disability.
And even in entertainment, how often do we really see the adversity that a guy like Rapper Big Sean experienced on his quest to success? He’s entitled his work Finally Famous in the past, and rightfully so. However, how many of us actually understand the underlying meaning to that title? We see Big Sean on stage in front of thousands with a big gold chain hanging from his neck and that’s all we see. We don’t always get to see how he got to that point and to be honest, most fans probably don’t care and maybe that’s part of what’s wrong with society today.
The bottom line is the journey or the process for that matter is just something that a lot of us take for granted in many aspects of life and that’s also evident when it comes to high level entertainment.
As I write this piece, wishing that this reality could somehow change, I realize that it’s us that has to change it one step at a time and how do we do that? We do this by searching for more than just what’s on the surface. I guess you can say I’m making strides towards accomplishing that change as a young journalist going through my own share of daily adversity. But when I’m able to provide a platform for a rare individual, that adversity becomes a gift. That gift has led me to write this story on a good friend of mine who has dealt with his share of adversity in life and it just so happens that he’s a talented artist as a Rapper and Poet out of Long Island, NY.
Lawrence Green or L. Green, his artist name, can attest to every word written about the struggle that comes with trying to make it in the entertainment industry and in life in general. As a friend of L. Green’s, I’ve been able to witness, first hand, him trying to find his purpose in this life and after knowing him for almost five years now, I think it’s safe to say that the young New York native has found that purpose. Coming from a family with a history of pursuing music, L. Green wants to continue that legacy and simply build upon it, and he’s off to a good start.
I can think back to when he played a few records for me and another close friend of ours, Andrew Somuah, who happens to be making strides of his own as a journalist for The Source Magazine. Before I heard those records, I had little knowledge about L. Green’s talent as an artist, but I was clear about it that night and it’s crystal clear to me now as he’s embarked on a crusade of his own to build his music career one single at a time, one performance at a time, and by overcoming one adversity at a time.
How has L. Green reached the point where he is today?
He’s just stayed the course along with amping things up a lot in the last several months, which you’ll be able to come to grips with more in the interview that follows. Today, L. Green is consistently working with a band as well as performing as a solo artist, sometimes through poetry and in the form of rap. Nonetheless, L. Green is working hard to get his movement circulating in New York and in outside cities and states. He might not be able to relate to the Big Sean’s of the world at this given time, but I’m sure the Dark Sky Paradise rapper has related to L. Green at some point in the early stages of his career.
I had the opportunity to interview L. Green recently and hear directly from him as to what the journey has been like, what he’s working on today, and his plans as an artist moving forward. Thanks in advance for supporting my movement by reading this story and hopefully it will prompt you to follow my good friend and artist L. Green and pay close attention to his journey as an artist and as a person dealing with the day-to-day trials that we all face.
Q. One thing we talked about previously was the musical background in your family. Explain the pride that you take in continuing that legacy?
A. My uncle Lorenzo was apart of a band. He and a couple of my other family members started this band. It was never anything serious. It was always kept at an amateur level. However, I’ve always wanted to take it beyond that and just continue that legacy. I want to spread my message to a much broader audience than just my local audience.
Q. You also mentioned the advice that your cousin gave you some years back. He encouraged you to study music just like you would study anything else. Speak on that. How important was that piece of advice and how important is it to study your craft?
A. Well, you know rap or music in general is a form of art and you have to learn how to improve yourself. You have to master yourself as an artist and one thing he always stressed to me was that just doing it alone is not going to get you to where you want to be or get you better. Sometimes you have to see other people’s success and see what they did to make it. It’s an art, so you have to study it. You have to perfect it. I always kept that in mind man.
Q. Let’s also talk about your poetry background, which started at a young age for you. When you started writing poetry, what was going on in your life at the time? What made you pick up that pin and start to put words on paper?
A. Normally, you hear people say ‘Well, I was going through this at the time and I had to put something on paper.’ Haha. Honestly, I was a huge Puffy fan and I always admired what he did. So, eventually I just started to try to write rhymes and I never wrote with a rhythm, so when I played it back it was like a poem and then my cousin was like ‘Okay. That’s poetry, but here’s how you rap.’ So, it all started with trying to do what Puffy or Mase was doing at the time.
Q. The whole poetry thing is interesting to me because that’s kind of the basis of Hip Hop. It started out as spoken word. When you think about some of today’s artists, do you feel like they’re keeping that in mind? Are they thinking about poetry or are they just trying to be gimmicky?
A. I feel poetry hasn’t really kept a strong heart in Hip Hop nowadays. At the same time, we do have our poetic artists like a Wale, Common, Kendrick and so on and so fourth. However, as far as the broader spectrum goes, people are just going into the booth and rapping. Rich Homie Quan and Rick Ross are getting caught saying things in their raps and they say ‘Oh, I didn’t know what I was saying. I was just rapping.’ They’re not putting a lot of thought into it and I’m not saying that’s bad. That works for them, but as far as keeping the poetic aspect alive, there’s few artists today that still do that.
Q. Would you be more happy with your career if you were able to look back and say ‘I never made it big, but I was able to create music with substance and develop some type of following and my music really told a story?’ Or would you be willing to downgrade some of your music or your substance just for the purpose of becoming mainstream and getting some type of fame? What’s your thought process on that?
A. I mean, I’m not going to lie. I did fall victim to that one time and it didn’t feel great afterwards. I made a commitment to make a certain type of song that required me to step away from something that I was used to doing. I have to admit that I didn’t like it too much, so if I had a choice, I would be cool with just making good quality music the way I like to explain things from my personal experience. I would be cool with a good following and if I don’t make it big, I’m cool with that if it means me having to dumb down my music to make it appealing.
I’m fine with doing me and having my small following, even if it’s just 20 people. I actually recently performed with a band I was working with and a rock band was on after us, who has a huge following in the DMV. So, I’m watching them perform and they were going hard. I looked back and there was just one guy with me at the bar, but if you saw them performing you would think they were performing at Madison Square Garden.
Q. You’ve talked about your days in the schoolyard, putting together freestyles and songs with your friends. What was fun about that? What do you miss about that and what do you think it did for you as an artist today?
A. I was just having fun at the time to be honest with you. We were just having the shortest battles. I’m talking two bars or two lines, but it was the best feeling ever. It was fun. You were with your friends and there was no judgment. It was just yaw and how I refer back to those moments today is whenever I’m dealing with a song or doing anything musically, it reminds me not to think so hard and just have fun with it and that’s how you produce your best work. That’s with anything. Sports, music, anything. The less you think about it, the better you do. Going back to my school days in the schoolyard and making fun songs, it just reminds me not to think about things so much.
Q. You’ve recently released some singles. How many and how did they come about?
A. The first single I released was ‘Don’t Play It’ featured by my producer Jarred AllStar. I walked into the studio one day and he was like ‘Hey, I need you to get on this track.’ I listened to the beat and it was raw. He worked on the hook and I came up with my verses. It was actually only meant for me to have one verse at first, but then after we did it, he told me that I could have the third verse, so I went in. That was my goal for that. My next single is going to describe a past experience I had with a female who I’m trying to express an interest in and she has that guard up. She wants to pursue interest, but that guard is stopping her from it. I’m pretty sure a lot of people can relate and I just want to share my experience. That’s what came out when I went to the studio.
Q. Let’s talk about your manager Shawn Haynes. How did he help you get things going again with your music?
A. First off, shoutout to Space Age Music and Shawn Haynes. I was actually introduced to him through a friend. I was actually looking for a new studio and my friend took me to a studio where Shawn was recording. I was meeting a producer who was always a friend of my friend and I heard this beat that he was working on, which happened to be Shawn Haynes’ song. We chopped it up for a bit and he gave me a chance to show what I was able to do from a rap standpoint.
Whenever I’m presented with those kinds of opportunites, I try to slaughter it. He liked what I did and saw what I could do. It’s been magic since then. I’ve been on shows and have performed at Magnet, a club in New York that we’ve consistently performed at. It’s in El Monte, Long Island. We’re actually about to go to LA too. He knew someone who knew someone in California and they came to New York for a video shoot and I was able to connect with him.
Q. If you weren’t a rapper, what aspect of the music industry would you want to work in and why?
A. I really would want to work in Artists and Repertoire (A&R). I feel like I have a good eye for talent. Sometimes I can piece together certain types of talent and it may not even involve me. I just feel like I have a good eye for that. I would love to do that. That wouldn’t even be a job. That would be me getting up to do something that I love to do.
Q. We’ve talked about what a good shoot looks like and what a bad one looks like. What’s a successful video shoot in your opinion?
A. I feel like it’s all about creativity and stepping outside of the ordinary. For instance, it was this one song I had. It wasn’t like I had full control of what the video was going to entail. That’s the reason I didn’t do the video, but it was something typical like bring the girls in the club and just have them dance. It was simple, basic and something you’ll usually see on WorldStar or YouTube. I feel like when a video has substance and it’s more than just a girl sitting in a chair or a drug dealing or murder scene, I feel like that makes a good video.
I feel like Kanye is one of the most rare artists ever. Like his ‘Dark Fantasy’ video; it took me a few times to watch and understand it, but there was a scene of him driving a car and then a Phoenix flew out of the sky. If you look at that, it looks like a Phoenix coming out of the sky haha. But what it was saying and what he was saying is that when he had the car crash, he was reborn. It was just the way he did it. It made you think. He’s so different in a lot of ways compared to other artists. | ΚΜΝ
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