Compiled and edited by Michael Krieger for The Higher Plane
Out of all the interviews we have conducted, this may be my favorite artist we have interviewed. That’s saying a lot considering Brother Ali’s music dominated my college years, Jay Electronica held down 2009 all on his lonesome and Wiz has been bumping since he entered the radar screen in early 2010.
I have yet to find a more honest, creative and versatile new artist. Okay, yes, I mess with Blu. Besides him though, the Columbus, OH native has continued an upward progression and displayed a lot of growth in his music since I first heard him back in 2006. Now, every time he drops something, it’s dope. In the interview we talk about his latest mixtape, the incredible The Measure, his go-to producer, balancing the messages in his music and why Orpah is evil.
Check out the interview to learn more about the up and coming spitta they call L.e. For The Uncool. I think you all will really enjoy it.
THP: Let our readers in on the background of L.e. for The Uncool, and how long you have been doing this music thing?
L.e. For The Uncool: I have been inspired by Hip-hop, and music all together since I was able to speak. I have been serious about pursuing Hip-hop since around 2005.
THP: You have one of the more unique monikers in hip-hop. You previously had just gone by L.e., but have added ‘for The Uncool?’ What is the significance of that?
L.e. For The Uncool: I don’t have swag! I am who I am. I am an individual who has always decided to do what I feel whether it was cool to the majority or not. Also, I believe no one can tell another person they aren’t cool.
THP: On August 31st, you released The Measure, your second solo mixture. What were some of the things you were trying to accomplish with this project?
L.e. For The Uncool: I was focused on evolving as an artist. That’s why it took a while to put that project out. I felt like I was growing, and I wanted to wait and let my growth get to a certain point so I could show my fans. I wanted to show them I am moving upward lyrically and personally. I am still growing.
THP: On both Anti-Parachute Theory and The Measure, Rashad handles the majority of the production. How did he become your go to producer after leaving Fly.Union, and what is your creative process like working with him?
L.e. For The Uncool: $haddy is like my big brother. I have looked up to him musically since I was a kid. Honestly! It is very simple working with him, and that’s why he will play a role in every project I release.
THP: I have to say: I think his production allows you to showcase your versatility in regards to rhyme patterns and subject matter. He can go from a soul-sampled track to a Southern type track to a Neptunes-esque track. Is this showcase of your versatility something you set out to do consciously, or is it something that just fits for both of you?
L.e. For The Uncool: Writing songs has always came natural to me. That’s why $haddy pushes me to make a “Run Me To The Mall.” I wanted The Measure to be a grimy, no hook project. So, we create a great balance.
THP: I’d like to talk about some specific tracks off of The Measure. You did a video for the opening track, ‘First of All.’ The video, while relatively simplistic, offers a deeper commentary with a message that seems to be in the realm of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or “Everything isn’t always at what it seems.” Talk about that video and the type of message you were trying to deliver.
L.e. For The Uncool: It was just a concept I had. There are a lot of people, and things that are positive where I come from. I didn’t want any performance scenes in that video because I thought it would explain the concept a little better.
THP: A lot of your subject matter is introspective. On ‘Knotz,’ you say: “I never wanted to speak the language of Oprah Winfrey.” Just elaborate on that line. Also, if money isn’t a hugely motivating factor, where does your motivation and inspiration to create come from?
L.e. For The Uncool: Oprah is a danger to us! I believe in these times, anyone who has obtained that kind of wealth has a certain evil about them. I would like to take care of my family and inspire change and good. Not be extremely wealthy, and criticize a group of people. My family, my people and my sneakers inspire my drive, period. I am a hypocrite, and I know I am in no position to look down on an entire culture! No one is.
THP: You also have tracks such as the widely popular “Polo on My Body” and “Run to the Mall” off The Measure. Is there an urge you fight when creating content focused on materialism, or are you simply providing the listener with another real side of you?
L.e. For The Uncool: I am materialistic. I love sneakers and nice quality things. I definitely fight myself when creating these songs…but they’re so dope. But I read and know about kids who have nothing. So, I try to balance things out.
THP: Listeners come across a lot of uplifting and motivating lines in your music though. Take for instance, on “Where the Wild Things Are” you rhyme: “Whatever you think is cool is cool, and you ain’t gotta change for them bustas in ya school.”
L.e. For The Uncool: Exactly! In high school, I would make fun of the kids who made fun of kids who couldn’t afford Jordan’s. That was always wack to me because at one point in my life, my family couldn’t afford that stuff. I know how horrible that made me feel. Not cool.
THP: You go on to emphasise that people should be comfortable in their own skin. Talk about some obstacles you’ve overcome in being comfortable enough to be yourself, and further, to spread that message.
L.e. For The Uncool: There are so many things I wish I could have changed about myself as a kid. My voice is high. I’m very light skinned. I was extremely skinny. I struggled with those things for a while, and I still do sometimes. My music is also therapeutic for me.
THP: Additonally, how do we as a collective and culture, fight against some of the poisonous messages that permeate throughout hip-hop, but more importantly, continue to be propagated to the youth by the mainstream media?
L.e. For The Uncool: Record labels only care about making money! They don’t care about what messages are put out there to make that happen. Hip Hop as a culture should teach young ones that Hip Hop was put here for them to express themselves creatively. I am no saint. I am not saying every rapper shouldn’t use profanity. I’m saying we need to hold artist accountable for violent messages that definitely sway our youth.
THP: Fill us in on some upcoming plans for L.e. Any more releases or shows coming up soon? Also, where can people find out more about you?
L.e. For The Uncool: I just released a new song and remix as a free single package on Halloween titled “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”. To keep up with everything I’m doing people can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/LeForTheUncool.
THP: Let’s end with a question about Ohio. How do you feel about the current scene and where it is headed?
L.e. For The Uncool: Ohio will become a power state in Hip-hop! That wave will be lead by myself, Stalley, & $haddy Tee. A young man named Fabrashay A is going to be a real problem for rappers as well.
Overtime with The Higher Plane
THP: Top 5 Jordans
L.e. For The Uncool: IVs, VIs, IIIs, XVIIs, XIVs