Bay blood surges through the arteries of Locksmith. If hes rhyming
alongside Left, the other half of his group, Frontline; or, if hes
surgically euthanizing MCs in battle, Lock is Dr. Kevorkian. This Grind
Time grime reaper snatches souls, sending them to the dead poets
society in the sky. Locksmith is devoting himself to Hip-Hop. Although
he didnt create the Hip-Hop helix, his impending solo, Frank The
Rabbit, will help unlock its secrets. In his AllHipHop.com debut,
Locksmith clarifies his thoughts on everything from regional Hip-Hop
AllHipHop.com: For the
folks outside of the Bay, what differentiates The Frontline and Locksmith
from other regional talent?
Locksmith: As far as
the Bay area, I think that everybody is unique. If youre not unique
then youre following a pattern; or, youre following a specific
type of gimmick or something to that degree to that extent. We just
wanted to find our own niche. Even before the notoriety, we always wanted
to be our own artists. We didnt want to follow E-40 and Too Short.
Weve always respected those dudes as artists; but, we wanted to set
our own trend. The Bay is a very diverse area; so, our music and as
artists we reflect that. We never followed just one specific trend or
localized ourselves to one area. We always wanted to internalize everything
that was going on in the whole country and put that into our music.
Were very aware of whats going on in the nation and internationally,
too. So, we put that in our music and it fits our personalities. Its
reflected in our music.
Sometimes emerging MCs striving to break into the mainstream may sacrifice
their lyrical integrity in order become more commercially appealing.
What motivates you to remain steadfast to your lyrical ideals?
Locksmith: Its not
even a question; I just do what I feel. Whenever you start consciously
saying, I want to appeal to this [it] can be deadly to your career.
I dont consider myself an underground artist or a commercial artist.
I just do what I do. Sometimes, Im in a mood to where I have thoughts
that may appeal to a wide range of people. I may have s*** thats
going on internally; I dont know if people will identify with it.
But, I know that Im going to do it. My producer, E-A-Ski recorded
this track, Rare Form. I just had some s*** on my chest. Lyrically,
I just wanted to go in and do what I do. He was like, Yo, this s***
is hot. We gotta shoot a video. Im like, Yo, are you serious?
Hes like, Man, I think this is dope. This needs to get out there.
So, we did itnot thinking that this was something that was going
to get a lot of notoriety. This is some intense type of s***; right
now everything is real soft in a sense. Hip-Hop has become more like,
you know, easier to swallowas far as the mainstream goes.
So, putting out something like
Rare Form I didnt expect this to do anything except provide
a visual for people online. The s*** ended up getting added to
MTV and spun in regular rotation. Its big on the radio stations
out here in Northern California. Im like, Wow! You have a song
with no hook with a long verse for like two something minutes, and its
getting played on the radio. Im going to shows and people are knowing
the words. So, thats not something that you can plan for, you just
do what you do
In respect to the four main principles of Hip-Hop: the emceeing; the
deejaying; the B-Boying and the art of graffiti, how would you describe
Hip-Hops current state? Are we experiencing a Hip-Hop depression
or a Hip-Hop reformation?
Locksmith: Some days
I feel like Hip-Hop is being revitalized and some days Ill see something
and it kinda gets me like, Ugh! If I can still make an impact
and I can still do what I do, [and] if I still have that passion inside
of me to keep going, then I feel like its very much alive. Ive
noticed that when I see people appreciate what Im doingand I appreciate
what the other dope artists are doingI feel like Hip-Hop is very
much alive and that the principles and the essence of it is very much
The problem is that its
becomewith capitalismand whats going on in Western society,
were able to market that and [it s become] watered down to a certain
degree. Its going through all this commercial rigmarole, and then
it gets kinda watered down. And youre like, okay, youre
sick of being fed these same images over and over again. Thats just
the companies and their marketing thats making it that way. But,
Hip-Hop and its essence is very much alive. Every time that I walk somewhere
in The Bay area, I meet tons of young kids and people of all ages telling
me, I love what youre doing! Its incredible; they show me
love. That lets me know that Hip-Hop and the passion for Hip-Hop is
still very much alive and those principles are still present.
Locksmith: "Rare Form"
AllHipHop.com: How do
you approach a lyrical battle, is it always pure spontaneous flow? Is
it okay to come with prepared verses?
Locksmith: I fell into
battling when I first started emceeing Battling is such a critical
part of Hip-Hop itself; Ive seen its progression. It started off
as being this total freestyle, off-the-dome kind of thing, to progressing
to people having lines, to people having something prepared for somebody
that you know [you re going to battle] ahead of time. I go into a
battle preparing for anything to happen You dont know what youre
going to get You cant come into a battle so prepared that where
you have it all written down and you dont know what this guy is going
to say. At the same time if hes preparing for you then you have to
be somewhat prepared for him. He may come with something thats totally
written and then youre stuck trying to freestyle off the dome. So,
you just have to be ready for whatever.
Within this last year, Ive
been back on the battle circuit doing some damage. Ive learned that
I have to watch every opponent... Ive had some MCs that have Googled
me and have come back with some totally false information. Theyve
seen it on the internet so they felt they could attack me. I have to
be mentally prepared for that and know whats going on
On November 5th, Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, is alleged to have
murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood military base. Its been reported
that before he began shooting he bellowed, Allah Akbar [God is great]!
What do you think of those who are so willing to try to establish a
correlation between his actions and his faith?
Locksmith: I dont
know what was going through that persons head... Its like what
Malcolm X said, The chickens coming home to roost. I dont know
what was in that brothers heart and what he was doing. I know that
dont believe the media most of the time. The media is controlled
by sponsors and corporations that are promoting a certain thing. So,
I cant really go by that. All I know is supposedly what happened.
Im a Muslim. Islam does
not preach violence on innocent people. The only time that you can use
physical action is when somebody is threatening you directly and you
fight back against that; or, when you have to stop oppression. If you
see somebody else killing or unjustly doing something to someone else,
then its your obligation to step up and stop that. But, I dont
really know all the details on that. I dont know what went on with
that particular person. I can only speak on that part; thats how
we deal with it.
Lock, I want to thank you for your time. Is there anything else that
youd like to express?
to my brother, Left!