The Rise Of Lam. – The California MC Who Beat All The Odds (Exclusive Interview)

I’ve always believed Lam. had the skill and confidence to make it in hip hop. He started off strong some time ago, dropping solid loosies and tapes. A lull took place when he moved to California, but after buying new studio equipment, Lam gave it another go. Ever since, he’s been killing freestyles, dropping singles, and pushing out his debut EP Pay Attention. 

Lam. and I recently collaborated on his latest record, Kno U, which brought his best numbers yet. Lam. & producer extraordinaire Yondo truly shined on the genre-breaking track. You can peep our premiere here.

We sat down and spoke about freestyles he kicked in middle school, the start of his career, why he took a break, and the story of how Lam persevered, and never gave up on his dream.

Hey Lam, thanks for talking with me today. How’ve you been?

Hey Julie, thanks for letting me share with you. I’ve been good. 

Glad to hear it. We’ve been connected for awhile, but tell the readers who you are. 

I’m pretty much just your friendly neighborhood rapper (laughs.) Originally from Delaware, but now I live in Sunny Sunny Los Angeles.

What do you think of LA?

I love LA. When I moved here it was my first time coming to Cali.  It’s weird, but I’ve always felt like I belonged here even when I was growing up in the East. Everything about it fit me more then what I was experiencing back home. 

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Must be a dream come true! You’ve been putting out music for some time now. Has LA helped you meet producers, artists, etc? 

I’ve only been here for a year and some change, so for the first six months or so I was just trying to survive. I did a little bit of music stuff but it didn’t really work out the way I planned. Within the past few months I’ve finally gotten my equipment set up so I could start recording and releasing music. So, with that being said, I haven’t met a lot of people in the industry yet. Some of the people I have met through a few studio connects are far ahead in the industry so there aren’t many same level networking opportunities. I know I’ll be meeting a lot more people now that I’m actually releasing music again. 

So you want to do this on your own? 

I listen to the universe and my heart and the majority of the time it tells me I have to do this on my own before anyone will ever want to help me. The first thing I did when I came here was try and reach out to people and find people to work with to build a “team.”  Here, everyone is out for themselves and only want to work with people who they can benefit from. It’s just the nature of LA. So I’ll be doing this myself until I get with people who really believe in me and my music. 

If you feel that’s the nature of LA, why do you stay?

It’s energy. I’ve never felt more creative and motivated than I have since moving here. That goes back to what I said about feeling like I belong here. I think people get so focused on trying to pop in their hometown they don’t realize that sometimes the energy can be totally counterproductive to who they are as a being. Not having snow is dope too. 

In Delaware, how did you first get into hip hop, in terms of listening to it and thinking about it as a career?

Back when I was In middle school I used to always have the radio on at night to help me go to sleep so I would just listen to the rap stations all night. The music just spoke to me a lot more than any genre. I use to go on this forum called rapbattles.com and put my little freestyles on there. After a while I got some cheap recording gear and started doing songs. That’s how it all started.

How was the reception in the beginning? 

When I first started all I remember people telling me is that I needed to “elevate.” That was the way you told people they were trash but had some type of grasp on rapping. So I think like most new rappers, I was corny. I was rapping about hood shit and stuff like that and it was 0% believable. It took a minute for me to make stuff people actually thought was decent. 

How did you change your sound? Would you give it a name?

My sound changed when I first started listening to Kanye and Lupe. That’s when I realized I could rap about my personal experiences as the little nerdy kid who played games all day and skateboard. It was definitely backpack rap. 

Talk about that brief period of time when you were dropping freestyles on SoundCloud.

The recent freestyles? So at that point the majority of my new EP was completed. I was just waiting on finalizing the mixes and getting everything to sound good. I had a rough version of it finished that I sent to a few close friends and some others and asked for a few opinions on it. So most of my friends know I’m a rappers rappers. Like when it’s all said and done, I was born and raised on the boom bap, so when they heard the new tape, they were like okay that’s cool but the bars kinda lacking. 

So like any artist I got in my bag a bit and decided to go on some beats I really loved. I chose a modern one and an old one. I don’t make music to prove anything to people but I just wanted folks to know Imma always have the bars on tuck when I need them. Rather than just being sad some people didn’t feel how I felt about the tape I just expressed that frustration on the tracks and moved on. 

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Not every one has an open mind unfortunately. Were there any good responses?

The majority of the people I sent it to loved it. This is the first time I ever heard people say they would add my songs to their playlists and that they had favorites or wanted to see a video for this song or that song.  It was actually crazy. It still amazes me today that I make anything people really enjoy. Not that it’s bad or anything but that there are so many things to listen to and the fact that my music interests them is incredibly humbling.

I think straight rapping is great, but you made full, multi-faceted records on Pay Attention. Perhaps that’s why people said that. 

I basically said to myself, just make some music you would love to keep listening to. As much as I love rapping up a storm, I mostly listen to chill or turn up music that makes me feel good. I like upbeat stuff with positive vibes or stuff you can just sit and cool out with. That was what I was determined to bring with Pay Attention. 

I think that’s why Pay Attention is my favorite project of yours. 

Yeah it was a very freeing experience. It went through a lot of revisions but the final product is very near and dear to me. 

What are your plans moving forward?

Most importantly promotion for the project and music videos. I actually started writing for a brand new project but then remembered I still have a ton of work to do with this one. That’s just how my mind works though, I’m already thinking  a project ahead or about what type of sound I want to have next time. Networking is a huge focus for me as well and trying to get a local fan base here in LA.