E.T. First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me the time to pick your brain. I've been a fan for a minute now and its an honor to have you be the first official interview here at Element-Tree.
L.I.F.E. Peace and Blessings! Nuff Respect to you Serringe. Ya blog page is dope man. Glad to be interviewed on a real grass roots publication that represents and knows the culture! A lot of
blogs and sites think they reppin that real hip-hop, but they ain't lol! I know how you get down Serringe, so it is an honor and a pleasure!
E.T. So, how's L.I.F.E.?
L.I.F.E. Me, I'm chilling grinding everyday man! With two new solo records finished and on their way ("The Waiting Game" and "Crossing The Globe") and two upcoming group projects one with C-Rayz Walz and another emcee Elohem Star and production crew Sterling and A.J. from Philly. We call the project "Area 51" and then another group project with Iomos Marad from Chicago and producer Aneeway from France, Big Tings a gwan man I'm going in hard right now!
E.T. Growing up, when or how did you discover the emcee within you?
L.I.F.E. I discovered the art of emceeing as a young black male growing up in Queens, New York in the 80's. New York was on fire during that time! I remember my older sister playing the late Mr. Magic's Rap Attack Show on W.B.L.S, and her putting me on to Hip-Hop. I then started listening on my own and making the infamous pause tapes, and then by the time I was put on to Ralph Mc Daniel's Video Music Box it was a wrap! I think music is a big part of me. My father R.I.P., was a huge fan of jazz music, so I remember listening to jazz as a kid and now learning later that those are the same musicians Hip-Hop artist sample from. I guess it was all meant to be! Everything happens for a reason!
E.T. Who were you inspired by, and how did they inspire you?
L.I.F.E. My inspiration I think didn't come from one person, although when I first heard Dana Dane's Nightmares that sparked me to wanna rhyme. I was just amazed how a cat from Brooklyn could flip his voice like that, and then be so on point with the art of story telling! I don't know, it was so many different artists that inspired me from The Native Tongue Crew to Run-D.M.C., to just seeing graffiti on the walls and cats breakdancing. I think the culture in New York during the 80's is what got me into it really, but big up to Dana Dane he definitely was one of my favorites!
E.T. Many consider the 90's "The Golden Era of Hip-Hop." How does it feel to have been part of it?
L.I.F.E. It was man! The 90's was when Hip-Hop had genres! It wasn't just one sound running the radio. It was a cluster of styles, you had Conscious Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop House, Hardcore, Horror Core etc. It was live man. Being a part of the 90's era was an experience man. It was real live back then, there was so much going on in the city, plus the independent Hip-Hop scene was really getting bigger. I learned so much back then. So, if you don't know about the 90's era go do your homework kiddies!
E.T. What keeps you going as an artist?
L.I.F.E. The love man. As an independent artist you never know what can happen. So, its definitely not on a materialistic vibe. Its really the love of doing something that I know effects people, and that's what keeps me going!
E.T. What is life like for L.I.F.E.?
L.I.F.E. Ahh man...its stressful. L.I.F.E. works a 9-5, is in a relationship and juggles music at the same time. So I basically have no time for anything. I go hard man...long nights short days! Always! Its usually work, work, work...then find time to chill and then whatever time is left I sleep!
E.T. Back in the 90's mainstream radio was Wu-tang, Biggie, Nas, Boot Camp Click etc. How do you feel about mainstream "hip-hop" today? (Lil Wayne, Drake, Kid Cudi, etc.)
L.I.F.E. Yo, I feel like mainstream radio today is exactly what it is mainstream radio! Its commercial radio designed for the major label artists. At one time Hip-hop like I said earlier in the 90's was about genre's and different styles, then around the late ninety's the game changed and what was real and informative is considered underground or indie music! That is exactly what mainstream radio is, its designed for people who don't wanna think and don't want change! I mean every once in a while someone has something to say worth listening, but you usually only hear that very late at night or if its a guest d.j. or something. I have a friend who works for Hot 97 and told me that its a straight playlist and payola does exist. Yeah man N.Y. radio sux Kill Ya Radio unless its college, internet, Sirius or podcast!
E.T.What are your latest projects and who is involved?
L.I.F.E. The latest projects are two full length lp's each produced by two different producers. As well as two group projects. The first one to drop is "The waiting Game" lp produced entirely by producer Black Sparx from Brooklyn. Dope producer he has produced tracks for Cali emcee Blame one. Check his production on the Day's chasing Day's lp. Also he has music in a upcoming indie movie as as well as a entire album that he produced with Chicago emcee Infinito 2017 as well as several N.Y. artists out here including a track with legendary artist "Illa Noyz" from the "Boot Camp Clique". Black Sparx produced on my project released in 2006 Cuts&Colabos part 2 he did the track "Imprint". After recording that back in 2005 with him we just started vibing and then it turned into me recording a track with him every week. Those sessions turned into us recording more then enough heat, but trimming it down to a 17 track lp equipped with guest features like Impress Stahhr from Atlanta, Iomos Marad from Chicago, Elohem Stahhr, Dj.js1,reggae artist Melodic and more. Its a crazy lp man and Black Sparx is a beast on the beats! Check out our mixtape we put out hosted by the 2 Hungry bros. Its available for free download on Dominationrec.com . Our first single Veteran feat Dj.js1 will be available online on all digital music sites, the lp will drop shortly after digitally and on CD through Domination recordings. Check out the bloq section on http://www.dominationrec.com/ and also check the video for veteran feat dj js1 on youtube!
Next up to bat is an lp that I have been working on for a minute, but it is finally finished and ready to hit the shelves! It is a lp called "Crossing The Globe" produced entirely by my dude from Sweden "Big Ape" he is down with production crew Elite fleet! Big Ape and I met online in 2002 and have been recording with each other since. Last year we completed our lp with guest features from Prince Po, U.G., Shabaam Sahdeeq, Breez evaflowin, Crown A Thornz from Canada,Rise and more. I have a digital single that is out now that features Prince Po from the legendary Organized Konfusion and also U.G. from the Cella Dwellas. The track is called "Samurai Code of Honor" available on I-tunes, E-music, Amazon, anywhwere digital singles are sold.
I got two group projects that I am working on too. One with Chicago emcee Iomos Marad and producer Aneeway from France and also another group project with C-Rayz Walz and Elohem Star. More to come on those two projects we still trying to finish things up but a lot of music coming your way plus I'm on hella projects, mad features yo!
E.T. Is there a certain vibe or sound you look for when you're creating?
L.I.F.E. I go with how the beat moves me when creating. I try to make songs that fit the vibe of the track, and everything comes natural. I kind of write like I freestyle unless its a real deep concept that I am trying to write. Everything comes natural I don't stress writing or try to fit a vibe really I just go in!
E.T. Who are your favorite producers?
L.I.F.E. Wow, so many man so, so many! I would say on a well known level of course the late J-dilla, Pete Rock, Madlib, M.F. Doom, Premire, RZA,Illmind,Xile damn I know I'm missing somebody its so many and I mean indie producers like Black Sparx, Big Ape, Aneeway, my dude Aj, and Sterling, Ste-lo, Grand Fortune, Spier 1200, 2 Hungry bros, wow its so many man!
E.T. Who would you like to work with in the future?
L.I.F.E. I would love to do a track with N.Y. OIL, Planet Asia, Talib Kweli, but to be honest it gets costly nowadays with collaborations. Ain't nothing for free and no one really does anything for love anymore. Unless you have a direct connection with them! I think I recorded with almost everyone I wanted to already I mean I would love to do a track with Rakim or Nas. Also, I just know from being in the game for so long that its all politics. All the collaborations that I have done where because I personaly knew the artist, so it was easier to get the track done. I ain't chasing anyone, but I'm still a fan I just feel a lot of artists forget where they came from and usually get real big headed when you try to get a feature unless you have a direct connection with them! I mean don't get me wrong artists deserve to be paid for their craft, but don't come at me with some huge budget if I'm an indie artist grinding it out trying to get a name, cut me a deal or something.
E.T. If you could address the whole hip-hop culture/industry, what would you say?
L.I.F.E. Hip-Hop community learn from your past. We have totally disregarded everything that was given to us by the pioneers! We also have not shown love to our pioneer cats. We don't even feature old producers or emcees that gave the new artists their start! Also, hip-hoppers we as artists who keep this culture moving, we need to start owning and being the ones in the deciding factors on what's put out and what is not. Hip-hop has continuously sold out to the masses who do not care about this culture! Hip-hop was created to educate, represent art, and to have fun! Lets get back to that mode of Hip-hop instead of turning it into something that it is not!
E.T. What can we expect of L.I.F.E.long in the years to come?
L.I.F.E. A lot more music, I think pretty soon I might be more on the business side managing and putting out new artists. You will definitely see L.I.F.E. Long doing his part by continuing to put out dope music whether it be from me or someone with the same vision as myself!
Nuff Respect for the interview Serringe people look out for "The Waiting Game Lp" produced by Black Sparx available on Domination recordings and "Crossing The Globe" the lp produced by Big Ape coming soon no label as of yet but the single "Samurai Code of Honor" featuring Prince Po and U.G. available on all digital music sites now! Follow me on twitter as www.twitter.com/Thereallifelong and hit up my fan page as www.Facebook.com/Thereallifelong , www.Myspace.com/l.i.f.e.long Peace people keep hip-hop alive in your heart and rep it right!!!