We use our ears. I can’t do anything except for listen and then put it out, and I’m doing fine. We just make up on the spot. I can’t tell you how many beats we’ve come up with on the record. We don’t get a lot of feedback. I want to do something a little bit different. I like my songs to stand-alone. The record is supposed to be a cohesive piece, a whole. That’s the whole goal—that it should be something everybody can enjoy equally. That’s the idea.
Why did you name your album with a long “L” in front of it?
The “L” is to signify it’s a “Long” song. It could be any song. I thought it would be funny to have a song with a lot of words to represent a long time in your life. It wasn’t that big a problem, though. There’s people on Facebook who think I made the name Long L. I used my whole “L” thing.
It’s funny because you can’t rap about long time in the streets in Harlem. You can’t even rap about anything past 12 years old. It’s so hard. It’s really depressing. I’ll go as far as saying this, “Hip Hop has changed a lot. We are getting so much older, so it’s really harder to rap about this stuff. My music is about my experiences now.” So I think I was taking a lot of the culture and the language and making it hip-hop now and not talking about that shit.
That’s a really tough time. You know, I remember seeing my first rapper, Rakim, one time. His name just sounded right to me, so I just listened to it all the time. When I started writing songs I just kept going back to it. It always worked for me then. I’m not sure how that works anymore. People are more aware of what rap is and what it means to be in the streets. And I love that idea.
What do you make of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta”?
I’m trying not to be a dick right now. But I’m like a cat that gets hit by a car. I was doing a show at the Playhouse Theater. We have an African American woman that I know that is part of that show. She’s an actress, and she brought her two-year-old daughter to the show with her. It was so much fun
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