Louis Logic: Sin And Bare It

Hip-hop is defined by character. Tupac, Biggie,

Snoop, and LL Cool J all were icons to the world due to that element of character.

Sadly, hip-hop is dry on character these days. While there's a plethera of great

artists, even great people...we seem to be lacking the individual who has the

charisma, the candor, and that b-boy grace to represent our foundation beyond

just the music.

Louis Logic is as good a canidate of this as

any. While his debut album, Sin-A-Matic, officially drops this week, Lou has

been putting in visable work for years. He has collaborated with many artists

from yesteryear's unerground that are finally getting recognition. Logic has

also bounced around the northeast until finally returning to his Big Apple homeland,

where he lives and drinks. Lou's exciting life and dynamic past truly make what

he has to say, worth hearing.

That fore-mentioned character is very prevalent

in this interview. With his signature subtle humor, the great storytelling rapper,

tells Allhiphop a few stories that help make order out of Logic's chaotic past.

Allhiphop: Talk about your growing up, I know

it wasn't easy.

Louis Logic: I'm originally from Long Island.

My pop was an NYPD cop in Harlem. When he retired, he wanted to move back to

a real small town where he was from. It was close to Lock Haven [Pennsylvania].

This is about '88. I went to high school [there] from ninth grade to eleventh.

That's pretty much where all the drama took place.

Allhiphop: What sense of hip-hop did you already

have before out to the sticks?

LL: Truthfully, it all started because of skateboarding,

which I took up when I was about ten. I skated for ten years and did that whole

thing. I was actually on a team called Number 9, from Long Island. They now

make all the boards for Zoo York. I had a best friend. We were like the two

mutts out of the crew. Because we were both mixed [racially]. He skated and

rhymed. We'd go out and skate for the day, get all tired and pooped out, sitting

on the curb, thinking we were little bad asses, smoking cigarettes and sh*t,

drinking beer outta paper bags. He'd spit for me, and I was so impressed. Because

he could freestyle and I never heard anything like that before. So, oroginally,

I was just a listener, but he'd coax me into doing it. Because freestyling gets

lonely by yourself. I would try here and there. This kid's name was Charlie

Tucker, and I'd really like to thank him. He essentially, personally, taught

me how to rhyme.

Allhiphop: Did the racism and adversity you would

later face when you moved, push you further into rhyming and hip-hop?

LL: There was a time when I wanted to fit in.

I tried to fit in. I tried to get the clothes that those kids wore and stuff

like that. I wouldn't nessecarily say that it changed my listening habits or

anything. Because that was all personal stuff. When I first showed up there,

I had Caberiches on, and black Adidas sneakers with whjite stripes. And an I.O.U.

sweater, very Long Island. They were all freaked out by this. They didn't know

what to think. Most of them, because of fear or what, they were really really

mean to me. I got into a lot of fights. It was not an uncommon thing to walk

down the hallway and hear, "Nigger" behind me. My dad actually started

driving the school bus, cause he was bored - retirement will do that to you.

My dad had to kick me off the bus because I punched this kid in the face cause

he said, "How far do I have to chase a nigger to get these shoes?"

Those black Adidas. Crazy sh*t like that happened to me on a regular basis.

Allhiphop: Did that struggle draw you in further?

LL: Yeah, I understand what you're saying. Yeah

I would say that it did have an influence on my me getting more involved in

urban music and just generally into Black culture. Because I didn't know much

about it before that. And I didn't really have any Black friends. My neighborhood

was real Italian. I started to develop this shell like, "f*ck these guys,

I'm proud to be who I am." Ican put up with a lot of sh*t about being Black.

It became a more serious thing to me. And urban music, styles of dress, hairstyles,

everything it became my guard against that. The more they pushed at me - the

more I was like, "sh*t, I'm a Malcolm X n*gga, I like sh*t like that!"

I started getting into reading about Black history, and writing more rhymes

and stuff. Buying all Black music, Black designers. It got pretty serious to

the point where my mom and dad were kinda freaked out by it for a little bit.

They were trying to be good about it. They didn't understand what was happening.

I wrote something in my liner notes, "I want to thank my mom and dad for

adopting me and allowing me to experiment as extensively as I have to find my

voice." There was a long time where I didn't know what to think of myself.

Because I am mixed, and I was adopted.

Allhiphop: Then onto college which sent you on

your path meeting Chops and all ?

LL: Definitley. College was the best thing that

I ever did, seriously. I mean prior to making this album. Because this [album]

is the most important thing to me I've ever done. Music has become everything

to me in life. But yeah, if it wasn't for college, I don't think I would've

gotten into recording music.

Allhiphop: The sound of your record is very unique.

How did you plan it out?

LL: I tried to make a record that would be a

soundtrack to your life. Whatever time period you're in, you would listen to

these songs and it'd be so personal and so visual - like a movie without picture,

that you'd remember them and they'd imprint on whatever moment you were going

through. So let's say you got laid or whatever, everytime you got back to that,

you'd think about listening to "Coochie Coup" or whatever. I was doing

my best to make an album without any weak songs on it. We went through pain

staking efforts to complete this project because every song on it was over-written.

If you could see the effort and detail that went into something so serious as

the "Coochie Coup" song, you'd know what I mean. I'm a perfectionist,

so I didn't ever want to say goodbye to the recording process of completing

the album.

Allhiphop: "My Best Friend" with Apathy

is a huge track. How much truth is there to this piece?

LL: There is truth to that song in the sense,

that like anybody else, I've been through an experience where somebody did me

dirty. I don't wanna be that guy that gives programmed responses to everybody's

interview or whatever. I try not to tell people too much on how real the songs

are. Because I'm a believer in maintaining the mystique behind the music. I

don't want people to know more than they need to. These things take mystique

out of the music when the fans are so deep in it that they know everything.

The tracks are leaked six months before the record comes out. A detailed description

in each issue of The Source of exactly what was intended by each track the album

that comes out by whoever. I think it kinda takes some of the magic out of it.

It's seeing the strings behind the puppet show. Who really wants to do that?

I like it if the [listeners] extrapolate their own conclusions from listening

to the music. Anything on my album that I wrote, there's definitely truth to

it. There's some relation to my real life experiences. It's not about whether

or not that happened to me, it's about did that happen to you? That's why I

wrote the song. I want the [listener] to hear that, and relate to it so they're

not alone.

Allhiphop: Your album is great in the lost art

of story-telling. How do you do it without weakening your rhymes to keep the

story moving?

LL: One of the things that I always try to do

when I write a rhyme or I write a song...I always try to write rhymes that are

multi-syllabic and that are phrase rhymes rather than individual word rhymes.

I keep my structures and my cadences complicated, regardless of whether or not

I'm telling a story. If you hold yourself to a higher standard like that, it

makes it a little easier. The other thing is, you have to be interested in telling

a story. I know that Celph-Titled and Apathy, they're working on their own projects.

And one of the things they told about mine that impressed them was that I was

able to make my concepts sound natural. [They were saying that] when they try

it, they come out forced. It's hard to write a story and make it sound like

it's not forced. I would guess it's because I read a lot and listen to like

old Rock and watch a lot of old movies. That's where most of my ideas came from

anyway. My lady-friend is a fashion designer. Her job is to travel all over,

sometimes all over the world to buy expensive clothes. That's her job, that's

what she does. She's doing research. So if I veg out all day watching DVD's

on the couch, and my job is to write Rap records - I'm doing my job, I'm doing

research. You have to also get out and experience sh*t too. Go out and taste

life, get into trouble.

Allhiphop: I myself love this line, "Hate

the mainstream, beat Dave Matthews with his guitar." That's worth buying

the album to me in itself.

LL: I just don't like the idea that there's this

body of music that is the dominant choice for listeners. You get it in repition

whether it's on MTV, Hot97, K-Rock, whatever. It doesn't matter what genre,

there's always a certain body of artists, music, and songs that's the main menu

for everyone. A lot of amazing artists are out there that people don't even

find anything out about because playlists are crammed with the same ten songs

in rotation. Video shows are the same way. It's disgusting. I just wouldn't

want to be a sheep. It's wack. As far as Dave Matthews goes, I don't like his

music first of all. Secondly, I think he totally rides on the shoulders of an

amazing rhythm section of Black guys. It's the f*cking circus. I can't stand

Dave Matthews. I always said to Celph, let me get on a video awards show dude!

I'll bring a video camera and I'm gonna push that guy on his ass in front of

everybody. Watch! Dave Matthews, I'm coming to get you. I'm not even gonna hurt

him. That's my goal, that's the only reason I made this record - to get famous

enough so that I can meet Dave Matthews and give him a shove on to his buns.

I'm gonna put that into my video too after I do it.

Allhiphop: As an extravagant traveler and conisseur

of the bar, what's the dopest bar you ever been to?

LL: Wow, that's a real good question! I would

have to say KC Clingers in York, Pennslyvania. It's f*cking amazing dude! They

have, I would say, 120 taps of real obscure, exotic, micro-crafted, and import

brews that are just unreal. Even if you got a taster, in most good beer bars,

you can ask for a taster - they'll pour you a shot essentially of a beer. Even

if you had a taster of one of every beer in there, you'd get crippled dude.

They have amazing sh*t! For atmosphere, it's not the best. But on beer selection

alone, it's head and shoulders above the rest.

Allhiphop: And atmosphere?

LL: On some chilling and hanging out sh*t, I

really like the Brooklyn Alehouse. That's my spot.

Allhiphop: We letting 'em know?

LL: *laughing* I don't care. It's just like a

carnival of weirdos coming in and out of that place. And a weird cross-section

of the young person population in Brooklyn. So, you get the kids wandering in

there with doo rags and baseball hats. Then hipster art nerds with vintage clothing

and thick framed glasses on, girls with halter tops on next to girls who have

their nails done. It's just a weird group of people. There's always a few groups

of regulars that are sloppy, disgusting drunks. It's a funny place.