Exclusive interview with TRIBES Magazine -
Cover Story/Interview by Alana Jones. Photographs by Emanuel Cole Studios.
The Real Laww lives for the expressions on the faces of the fans that come to his shows- the laughter, the head bobbing, the dancing, and raised hands during a performance. The hardest working MC in the Triangle got his fill from local audiences this September at Raleigh’s 2012 Hopscotch music festival.
“Hopscotch was insane,” says Laww. “The claps and love, the daps and hugs,” he thrives on that feeling that comes after a show and, as Laww continues to break ground for area hip hop, appearing at popular venues and events across the state (including the highly anticipate The Art of Cool Project), TRIBES Magazine caught up with the artist to discuss his music, the indie grind, and his unique contribution to the growing hip hop scene, here in the Triangle.
TRIBES: Thanks for speaking with us. Can be begin by discussing your stage persona? Are you a superhero and is there a story behind the tagline “Your Friendly Neighborhood Super artist?”
LAWW: Why yes, yes I am a superhero, faster than a Busta Rhyme Lyric, more powerful than the new Lady GaGa fragrance. Able to destroy tall booths in a single verse. The most humblest person in the history of humbleness like EVER! The tagline derived from me teaching myself how to do everything in the studio. I was able to get my own equipment but couldn’t afford constant studio time. I was already writing and rapping but I wanted custom beats. So, I taught myself how to do that. I wanted my vocals to sound a certain way. So, I taught myself how to engineer. THEN I was able to help others record, write, make beats, engineer and master their [own] mixtapes and albums or singles. Like a super hero, I never really charged for my services because I loved it so much [but] my manager isn’t too fond of that idea.
TRIBES: What is the meaning behind your moniker, The Real Laww (with two ‘W’s)?
LAWW: Lyricist At Work Work because ‘I’m constantly working son- no days off son, sleep is a crutch yo. grind hard and all that good stuff son-daughter! O_o’ But Laww originally was L@w but I couldn’t put L@w on any websites like facebook.com/L@w. It wouldn’t work on the digital market. So, I thought Law but if you google “Law,” a lot of legal stuff pops up. So, freak it [I thought]. Throw in the extra W (I constantly work anyway). It works! What Laww has grown into though is order and unity. If you come to a show, you’ll see that. Their isn’t a majority of one color of people or another. Its an even blend of all walks of life. I’m black (mom) and white (dad). So, I love to see everybody come together. Plus Laww is the beginning of my middle name Lawrence, so it makes it easier for me to remember.
TRIBES: When and how did you discover a love for music and Hip Hop?
LAWW: Music has always been around me, like since the womb. My grandmother was a lounge, jazz singer out in California. I didn’t know that until recently. My mother, my brother and sisters and I had a group together when I was small, singing at family functions and weddings. I love all types of music, from my kentucky roots with bluegrass, to classical, jazz to rock, dance to country, dubstep to salsa. I discovered hip hop listening to my older brother’s CD of Busta Rhymes The Coming. The Raw energy, the punchlines, cadence, timing and flow was ridiculous. I was hooked.
TRIBES: Who are some of your early favorites? Can you share an early Hip Hop memory?
LAWW: I just want to represent those folks that may be too busy to represent themselves and would like to be heard and acknowledged for the hard work they’ve been putting in Busta Rhymes was my first. Then while doing research on that [artist], I found A Tribe Called Quest and Da La Soul. My brother got me hooked on hip hop, jazz like Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli. As a grew, I got more into the harder, more edgy stuff like Biggie and Pac, Nas, Jay Z; and then I heard Eminem. That blend of witty punches and storytelling like with Pac and Biggie but with a cadence and delivery I never heard before. Putting words together in a way that is insane, but so mind blowing. [I was] constantly rewinding the tracks.
TRIBES: Have you always had a special way with words? And a big imagination? Where does that come from?
LAWW: I always used to rhyme to remember stuff before i even knew about hip hop. I think everybody did that but I would end up making long songs in my head to remember and retell stories. When I started rhyming, I had a fascination with word play and cadences. In high school, they use to call me dictionary because damn near ever word rhymed WITHIN a line. Although most people wouldn’t even know what I was talking about (and neither did I at times), it sounded great and was fun to just listen to… not even rapping off a beat but still making people bob their heads. Read the full interview in TRIBES Magazine’s 8th Anniversary Issue available in print and digital formats at http://www.tribesmagazine.com.