Thu, 03 Oct 2013 09:17:10
"That's the motivation theme song right there," Lantana smiles at the thought of his latest single, "All Hustle, No Luck".
With the song, Lantan's built the kind of formidable, focused, and fiery anthem that can ignite any room from a club to a stadium. Driven by his airtight mic skills and gift for an unshakable hook, it's the perfect introduction to the Cincinnati MC—who happens to be one of the most talented young rappers in recent memory…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Lantana opens up about "All Hustle, No Luck" and so much more.
"All Hustle, No Luck" is very inspiring. What was your approach?
Really, "All Hustle, No Luck" has been my motto for a long time. I got it tattooed on me when I was incarcerated because it's my motto in life. I started rapping. I went into the studio with a producer named Young Ex. We had the beat, and it came together in like an hour. It was only an hour-session because that's all I could afford. I did that. Ever since then, it's been going.
It's such a true statement. You have to hustle for any success. You can't just wait to get lucky.
It's the only way, man! I just don't know a lot of people who "lucked up" on a whole ton of money [Laughs]. I don't know anybody like that. Shit don't shake like that, especially where I'm from. That's real. Not even just with money, when it comes to success in general, it doesn't work like that.
You have to build it from nothing and put your heart into it.
You've got to be fully committed. You can't ever be like, "I don't feel like" or give some weak ass excuse because there are too many people who want it out here. If you don't really want it, somebody else is definitely going to push ahead of you.
How did it feel winning "Mixtape of the Year" at the Ohio Hip Hop Awards?
It was cool. Last year I won it. This is my second year in a row winning it. The only two CDs I put out as Lantana won it. It's an accomplishment for me. I've only been out of jail for two years. To be recognized for every project I put out is incredible. I really put a lot into every project that I do. It feels good.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
It really is. I always liked rappers like Scarface, DMX, and Jay-Z. When you're real in your music and you're not just making something because you think people are going to move to it, that's how I feel like it comes out. I don't go in and plan it like, "I'm going to tell this story". It's just what I'm going through at the moment. That's what I'm going to put out. I feel like that's what lasts longer in terms of music. That's what gets passed on. You've got to make music that's really you. That's how you have a better chance of lasting instead of just making music to make music.
What you do is very visual.
I want it to be vivid. I've got this new mixtape coming up, and I'm getting more into detail about certain things in my life. I'm still being broad about it though so people can relate. I'm from Cincinnati, and people don't really know who we are there. In my music, I try to convey it and be a good representation of it.
What is Cincinnati like?
Really, it was cool. We've got our good parts and our bad parts. It's cut down the middle. We're definitely coming up. Growing up in Cincinnati, it was what it was. You were either from the black neighborhood or the white neighborhood. Things are coming up though, like I said. The Cincinnati Reds are getting better. The Bengals are getting better. We've got a casino now. We've got Adrien Broner the boxer. I just got this deal. We're starting to get a lot more hope in my city. We never really thought we could be the ones at the forefront. We never thought it could happen like that. We only thought we could be famous where we're from. It's a big thing. Cincinnati is starting to change. That's why I've got my hashtag #YoungCincinnati. It never was what it is now. The hashtag is about a new day for us.
What is the story you're telling?
It'd be a life story to see how I came up. It's not like I came from a real dire situation. Where I came up, it's not like we had everything, but we were still cool. When I was young, I went to school and did my thing. I was in the street. I was still rapping. I went to jail. I did four years from nineteen to twenty-three. I got out at twenty-three, waited a year, and put out a mixtape. A couple of months after that, I got flown down to Maybach Music, and I was in the studio with Rick Ross. After that, I flew to New York and got signed to RCA. It's a hell of a story for two years, but it's not over. It's going to be a while before we get to that!
What are some of your favorite movies?
For some reason, I've always been addicted to mob movies like Casino and GoodFellas. There's a movie called Bad Lieutenant that I love. That was a great movie! I saw that when I was incarcerated. I loved it. It was really artistic, and they did it in a different kind of way.
What artists shaped you?
I would say Jay-Z and 2Pac. I can still listen to 2PAc now, and I'd say any Jay-Z album. When they're rapping, they're really expressing their feelings and conveying that. How Jay-Z conducts himself in everything, he doesn't have to give everyone everything. With 2Pac, it was just the passion. When he rapped, you felt it, and you know he meant it. That's why people get his name tattooed on their bodies. With music, you really can reach people in a deep place. Those are the type of artists that mean the most to me.
How do you usually record?
I never have a song before I go in. I leave it up to the beat. It just comes to me. I get to smoking that good rapper weed, and it just comes to me. I don't really like writing. I didn't even like writing letters when I was in jail. My handwriting is terrible too [Laughs]. I go in, play the beat over and over, I get one or two bars at a time. You say it over and over until it's locked in. It's an amazing process for real.
What's next for you?
We're about to put out the remix. I did my verse. I killed it. Yo Gotti did his verse. We have a couple of others coming out. I've got my new mixtape coming out. I feel like it's my Trap or Die. It's a good body of work. It's All Hustle, No Luck forever. Whatever I need to do to make this the greatest thing ever I will! It can't fail, for real.
Have you heard "All Hustle, No Luck"?