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L.I.: Big City Dreams

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“The time is now for me to burn em/N***** dropped and I

ain’t heard em/ I decided to adjourn em/ And claimed my stripes cause I done

earned em.”, states the emcee known as L.I. [Lyrically Intelligent] in the

track “The Time Iz Now” off his sophomore mixtape “The Time Iz

Now.”

 

Seemingly the newest sound out of Rochester, NY,

L.I. [born Curtis Arline III] has gain independent popularity through a strong

national fanbase and buzz-worthy lyrics to match. His recent single “Cook” has

not only been received by his loyal underground fanbase, but also condemned by

critics for its drug-based lyrical content.

 

With a short list of few, including SoSo Def/Virgin Records’

SunNy and DJ Green Lantern, L.I. resides with the sparse number of artists that

have crossed the borders of Rochester

and into the mainstream Hip-Hop market.

 

Selling over 5,000 units of his latest mixtape “The Time IZ

Now”, this  ‘Lyrically Intelligent’

rapper shares production with such hip-hop producers as Midnite [Frankie J,

Stacks, Loon, etc], Battle Roy [SWV, Frankie J, Lil Mo] and E Bass [Jay Z,

Beyonce, Fabolous], and Vato [Former in-house producer for Carl Thomas].

 

Whether or not an MC from Rochester,

NY is capable of bring the urban

focus back to East Coast is debatable. However, this upstate underdog hopes to

showcase his New York

State of mind and

tell us all exactly “What Time It Iz”.

 

AllHipHop.com: I read in your bio that you grew up on a little

Van Halen. Do you think that the different variety of music you grew up on has

helped you create a more unique sound for yourself?

 

L.I.: Yea, to be exposed to different artists.. I think it’s

made me a lot more broader. A lot of the music that came out in the early to

mid-nineties [has inspired me]. Like Nas, Pun, Jay-Z… a lot of them were real

lyrical but still entertaining.

 

AllHipHop.com: You used to spit under the name “Clevy.” What

made you change your name to L.I.?

 

L.I.: To tell you the truth, a friend was like “You should

change your name to ‘Lyrically Intelligent.’, because of my word-play and

whatnot. The way I told stories was always real descriptive.  When I spoke about something it wasn’t like I

was just rappin. So, I changed it to L.I.

 

AllHipHop.com: You’ve worked with a lot of different producers

in the game that are known for working with major artists. That’s not an easy

thing for an unsigned artist to do. What’s been your hustle, as far as getting

different producers to work with you?

 

L.I.: I just try to come as hard as possible. Just like

relationships carry along from being around in the studios and whatnot. They hear

me flow and I hear the beat and if you like each-other’s work, you gonna wanna

hear each-other on your work.

 

AllHipHop.com: What’s some advice you can give to an unsigned

artist that’s looking to find a producer?

 

L.I.: I say, just go hard at getting a fan-base. A lot of

unsigned artists make the mistake of going hard to get signed. You gotta show

[a label] that you can make money for yourself, so that you can show them that

you can make money for them.  That’s why I

say ‘Go hard at doing what you do, the best you can do it’, to get yourself to

the fans. Put it like this, it’s not as hard as it used to be to get noticed, I

don’t think. The industry used to be like a fraternity. Like if you wasn’t

affiliated with somebody who was already in the mix.. it was almost like you

weren’t accepted. It’s you over here and the industry over there. Now its like

the streets and the industry are intertwined. There are so many independent

movements nowadays,. You got a million people saying they got their own record

label and thing,. it’s just easier to get noticed.

 

AllHipHop.com: Your mixtape, “The Time Is Now” sold 5,000

units….

 L.I.: [Laughs] Yea, it’s

crazy. That’s my second mixtape. I did one a year ago and I didn’t really get

to push it like that. A friend of mine, SunNY got signed to SoSo Def/Virgin, so

I went on the road with him and helping him with his projects.. so all that got

put on hold for a min. When I came home, just being out there, made me realize

what this is all about. It made me realize that I wasn’t really doing hard work

like I thought I was. Now I got more organization in my step.

 

AllHipHop.com:

What’s been frustration as far as getting a record deal?

 

L.I.:

To really keep it real, I don’t have a frustration with all of that. I mean, of

course I want something good to come along but, I’ve really set my mind at just

going hard at getting a fan base. I’m satisfied with the way things have been

going.

 

AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your single “Cook” and why it’s

been so controversial for you as an artist.

 

L.I.: The content of it. People automatically hear it and hear

the hook. They don’t really listen to the lyrics. I’m saying how it is, but

people hear, ‘Cook the crack, make the quota.’  

They like, ‘Here we go with another drug rap’. If you listen to the

lyrics, I speak about how I’m trying to take a different route in life.  I say, ‘I could’ve traveled on the

road/with a half-a-mill a load/and said ‘F*** the music/my coke is goin gold’.

 

AllHipHop.com: Do you think that the public could ever be

receptive to an emcee from Rochester

bringing The East Coast back to the forefront of Hip-Hop?

 

L.I.: I think its possible definitely. You just gotta break

that barrier. If your hot enough and you keep coming with it. Keep coming

strong with it and you don’t slouch on it. I mean, you can’t deny it. If people

think its possible, then that’s what it is.

 

AllHipHop.com: How’d you link up with Lady Luck for the track

“I’m Gonna Be OK Ft. Lady Luck?”

 

L.I.: If I remember correctly, her peoples hit me up. I think

she had heard some of my stuff on Myspace. [laughs] Myspace is crazy. A lot of

people will say like, ‘Oh, that’s that kiddie stuff. People going think you

unprofessional’ and whatever. I say, ‘Its free’. You know what I’m sayin? Its

free exposure and you can connect with people. So, I’m up on it.

 

AllHipHop.com: What’s something you want people to know about

you?

 

L.I.: That I’m comin’. Expect L.I.

 

To check out more of L.I.’s music you can go his official

website www.limusicworld.com or on Myspace at ww.myspace.com/limuzic

 

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