Down Under on Lock /// Interview with Lock Smith (USA)

Well known to American audiences for years now, word-wizard Lock Smith has gone under Australia’s Hip Hop radar for too long.  Aussie Hip Hop heads were officially introduced to the U.S. battle battle rap veteran when was here recently for his national tour alongside Sydney rap duo Smacktown.  Find out what went down when Farley Ward got locked in with Lock Smith while he was Down Under.

Hey Lock Smith!  You’ve been here in Oz for a couple of weeks now right?  How are you liking Australia?

G’day mate!  Yes, it’s been about two weeks now, I got here last Friday.  Man, this place is a beautiful place.  I been to Melbourne, Perth, Byron, Brisbane, its great.  It’s been awesome.

Of the towns or cities that you’ve visited, which has been your favourite so far?

We got to chill out and spend a few days at the Gold Coast, so that was pretty awesome.  There’s a lot going on.

Your music is new to Australian audiences, let’s give them a bit of a run down on Lock Smith!  I understand you started out in in battle rap?

Yeah, I have that past, yeah for sure.  Umm, I made a name for myself, got quite a bit of recognition through battle rapping and freestyling, and various other things.

Do you still battle or have you given that up now?

I would never say I have given it up. But I haven’t battled in quite some time, just because I’ve been so focused on music and touring and focusing on producing albums and that kind of thing.

You were runner up on an MTV battle rap competition. Was that when people started to really notice you?

Yeah that was a while ago, that’s what put my name on the map, in the U.S. especially.  It was such a big battle back in 2003, so it was quite sometime ago.

That is a long time ago.  We’re late in catching up with you, aren’t we?

Yeah, well you know, better late than never!

A lot of Hip Hop tracks are filled with violent, sexual or drug related content.   These themes seem to sell records, so why have you avoided using this sort of content in your songs?

My content is pretty much just true to me, I mean I try to just rap speak.  I feel like it should just be a reflection of me.  I don’t think I’m a violent person and I don’t have a lot of money to rap about, so I just got to rap about real life you know.

People are can be very drawn towards honesty, realness and vulnerability.  Your music is definitely has all three of these qualities.

Thank you, that’s the kind of music I have been drawn to.  My music is just kind of an expression of that and you know, my story, my reality.

In the track ‘Hardest Song Ever’, you discuss the abuse you experienced in the past and how that has affected your life.  Was it hard for you to expose yourself in that way?

No.  Well, I mean at first it was a little bit.  But you know, it was mainly just facing it myself before I even wrote the song.  When I was able to like, speak about it with someone and open up about it, once I was able to do that you know it was a lot easier for me, it was just natural to me, as an artist to write about it and talk about it. And once I got it out there, I think the next thing that I was a little fearful of was performing it.  But once I saw the reaction and how people embraced it, how there were just genuinely moved by  the message and how it affected so many people, it kind of inspired me, motivated me, to make sure I always perform that song no matter what.  I could be in the most underground grimey hip hop place or the most party atmosphere but if I get up and perform that song to people, and bring them into that world they seem to be really receptive to it and really appreciate it, so i appreciate it.

A lot of people can relate to your story.  I’m sure you would have received countless messages of appreciation and support?

Yeah I mean it’s one of those things that you don’t really realise it until like you do it and you see the reaction and its like, wow!  This is crazy, the massive response and the genuine messages they send me.  And I’m  grateful at the same time.  I mean I don’t want anyone to have to go through that but if I can provide some sort of comfort then it was worth it.

You have collaborated with some pretty awesome hip hop artists.  RA The Rugged Man featured on one of your recent songs, plus you’ve toured with him… He has a huge personality!  What was he like to work with?

Yeah I’ve toured with him a couple of times.  He is an incredible artist, I mean he’s a pioneer.  He’s just an all round really good dude.  Super talented.  He is someone I’ve always had the utmost respect for.  We kind of connected.  We met in the States in New York and he showed admiration for my music and I had already been a big fan and a supporter of his music.  I had a song that I thought was worthy of him and I let him hear it and he loved it and we collaborated.  It worked out so well that he was like, ‘Yo, why don’t you come on tour with me?’  I toured twice with him, we toured Europe and the States.  He has become more than a supporter, he has become my good friend.

Lofty Goals is your fourth album right?

Yeah that’s my new album, it will be available June 30th, everywhere online.  But you can pre-order it now.  If you pre-order the album, you’ll get the song ‘Blinded’  which features Jarren Benton from Funk Volume and Futuristic.  So you get that now if you pre-order the album.

You hooked up with Futuristic and Jarren Benton in ‘Blinded’.  Its a dope track, very upbeat vibe.  All three of you are on fire right now. We might be a little late in hearing about you, Lock Smith, but Australia is getting to know you now.  Are you getting a good response from your music?

The last three years or so, since I started putting out music as a solo artist has been great.  Man, I am very grateful.  The reception has been really good, the fan-base and the music has being received very well.  So everything is growing.  The touring and coming over here is  a really great opportunity.  Smacktown invited me over here, I am really grateful for that.  Everything has been positive man,  I couldn’t ask for a better last eighteen months.  Everything is really growing.

And those guys are killing it.  Jarren, he jumped on a song of mine, but I just jumped on a song of his with Hopsin.  That song is crazy.  They asked me to jump on and I was honoured to do that.  Lots of good things are just coming together.

So I understand the guys from Smacktown found you online and hit you up to do this tour with them.  Have you enjoyed touring with Smacktown?  Were you excited when they hit you up to come over to Australia?

Like I said, I am just so grateful for all the opportunities. I’ve been able to connect with people who appreciate my music like in Europe, Australia, South America,  from all over in every continent, so when they reached out to me, I was very

Excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other artists in other places and expanding.  Cause you know, me as an artist, I want as many people as possible to hear my music, from Australia to California to Antarctica, everywhere.

It was the thought back in the day that you had to have a record deal to be successful.  These days we are seeing a lot of independent artist coming up thanks to the internet and YouTube.  You are independent aren’t you?

Yes, definitely.  100%

I imagine it would be a lot of hard work being independent as you would have to do absolutely everything for yourself?

There are definitely a lot of pluses and a lot of minuses.  Its a lot of hard work regardless, its always going to be a lot of work. Back before the way technology is now, it was definitely a lot harder and a lot more expensive.  Now with technology, a lot of times you can record yourself, you have social media, you have outlets and platforms so if people want to find you they can find you through Soundcloud and all those kinds of things.  The bad part.  Well not necessarily the bad part, but the part that makes it a little more difficult is that anybody can do it which makes it harder to because there is so much to sift through before you find sorting you actually like.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there you just have to look for it.

What’s next for you once you go back to the US?

Yeah I’m gearing up to put out ‘Lofty Goals’.  I have a couple of surprises in store for that.  Music videos, a lot of content that goes along with that album.  Hopefully I got a couple of tours in the works, so hopefully ill be coming back to Australia!

We hope so!  Thanks for the chat.