Ryan Leslie may have more talent than he knows what to do with – he’s a singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, film director, current NYU Artist in Residence, and multi-instrument musician. Couple those roles with the fact that he attended Harvard University and speaks multiple languages, and it seems almost unfair to the rest of the industry that Leslie has to be their peer.
Still, he generously shares his unique talents with many others, having collaborated on or written many of the bangers that keep heads bopping today. Consider Cassie’s “Me & U,“ or his own “Addicted” or “Diamond Girl,” or even the new chart climber, “Fly Together,” with he, Rick Ross, and Red Café. One doesn’t have to look far to see that Washington, D.C. native Leslie possesses the kind of talent that has afforded him opportunities to work with and for some of the best:
Tracks like “The 5 Minute Freshen Up” on the independently-released Les Is More show a more revealing side of Leslie the rapper, including a quick reference to a million dollar lawsuit over a laptop, and his lack of concern about people who say he shouldn’t rap. Throughout Les Is More, he shows off the plush side of his life – the rewards of hard work that now afford him such luxuries as “Double E’s” (twin Escalades) in his artsy, black & white video for “Beautiful Lie.” The video was shot on a whim over a weekend in Miami just two days before being premiered during our interview. There is the whimsy of Europe, the woman, the whips, the fine wine and all, and Leslie hopes we’re proud to see another “n*gga in Paris” without feeling like we regular people are missing out:
Leslie’s gentle, “offbeat artist” demeanor contrasts strikingly from the mad scientist he transforms into in his latest behind the scenes video, this time for “Beautiful Lie.” Crossing the studio frantically from the instruments to the boards, Leslie is like a person who can’t seem to get his creativity out fast enough. He calls the new project a groundbreaking “visual album” – and it finds him in the lab rapping again, and of course, singing his signature, winning hooks, but offered in a way he doesn’t believe has ever been done before:
What seems certain is that there is an underrated talent among us named Ryan Leslie. The sigh-worthy sin is that he’s not new to the industry, and with what he calls his stellar “pedigree,” he should rightfully be hovering in the stratosphere above with people like Alicia Keys or John Legend. With Les Is More’s visually beautiful backdrops, fun choruses, and technological savvy, Leslie may just be priming to expose audiences to the next level of his genius.
Les Is More is being released one track at a time – look for new track releases (including “Beautiful Lie”) and videos on YouTube and iTunes.