There was once a day when if you thought of which hip hop artist released new music just as frequently as they changed their boxers, the first person that came to mind would be CurrenSy. But in 2012 and 2013 down-south rapper, Le$ now holds that crown. Le$ who credits his sound to his experiences growing up throughout the South from New Orleans, to North Carolina, to his most recent home of Houston drops new music like it’s going out of style, and we couldn’t be happier with that choice.
Le$ who has worked with artists such as Big K.R.I.T., Mac Miller, Dom Kennedy and more is currently making moves with Slim Thug’s Boss Hog Outlawz, but if you expect to hear only the cliche’, packaged Houston sound from him, then think again. Besides dropping new music so frequently, the emcee is known for picking beats that flawlessly blend the sounds of the South, East and West Coasts together.
Hip Hop Enquirer had the chance to talk with Le$ about how he manages to record so much material, working with Slim Thug, getting props from A$AP Rocky and the rest of the A$AP crew, and what he sees for himself in the future. Check out the full interview below and follow Le$ on Twitter: @Settle4Les.
HHE: Sometimes when you listen to your music it’s not such a cliche’ chopped and screwed Houston sound, but more of an old school meets new school Southern sound. How did growing up in Houston affect the sound of your music?
Le$: Well actually, i grew up in New Orleans. Well not just New Oreleans. I was born in New Orleans, I lived in Texas most of my life. I lived in North Carolina, a lot of different places. So I defintely got to see a lot of different things, hear a lot of different music. Like living in North Carolina for the years I lived there, it was nothing but East Coast music. So I got real big into that. And you know being in Texas, of course I got into that scene. Just a lot of different influences. Of course you can hear Houston has a huge influence in my music because its a lifestyle. But like last year, I did a mixtape with nothing but West Coast beats. That had a huge influence on me. I’m just a student of rap music, period.
HHE: Lately you’ve been known as a rapper who constantly drops new music. What’s your creative process like when you’re putting together a mixtape? Like how do you choose which beats work best for you, content matter, etc.?
LE$: The thing I learned when becoming a rapper is you get on Twitter and you see cats saying ‘I’m in the studio everyday’. But being in the business I’ve learned that cats be lying, ya know :laughs:. Or they be in the studio just hanging out. I mean, this is my job, I love to do it. I was doing it even when I wasn’t getting paid for it. I feel like any rapper should be doing a song a day. Even if it’s not in the studio, a freestyle, you need to be knocking out something everyday. With me, even if I miss a few days in the studio, i’m writing so when I get in the studio I can make up for like three or four days that I wasn’t in the studio. Really sometimes I don’t do it in the studio, I usually listen to the beats for like three or four days. There’s beats I’ve had for three or four years, so it just depends on that moment and how I’m feeling at the time and whatever makes me start writing.
HHE: Out of all the mixtapes you’ve dropped since like 2011, which one would you say has been your personal favorite?
Le$: It’s real hard for me to pick one. I really think they all shine. I did ‘em all with different mindsets. Different themes. Like I said the Menace tape is a bunch of West coast beats. Then Les is More was a bunch of classic Houston beats. Then I did The Struggle Continues that was all original, an album type project. That was cool. Settle 4 Les 2 was like an album too. Really they all show my range. All I’m showing is what I can do.
HHE: How did you get hooked up with Slim Thug and Boss Hog Outlawz?
Le$: Really just out here working. That’s another thing I say about rappers being lazy. When I told myself I was gonna do this and that I was serious about it, I went and bought cd burners and pressed up my own mixtapes and was handing them out in the streets. And it got to my DJ, who is DJ Mr. Rogers who’s also Slim Thug and Boss Hog Outlawz’ DJ. So we started doing records together, and Slim Thug and the CEO of Boss Hog Outlawz heard it. They want me to do well, and they’re behind me in what I do.
HHE: Speaking of other artists, how do you feel about rappers like ASAP Rocky who are heavily influenced by Houston music and culture, but aren’t actually from there?
Le$: I think it’s dope, because I’m inspired by New York. I hate when people get really offended by it. Those are some other cats I’m real cool with. A lot of people in Houston felt certain ways about those cats, but they been showing me love since I first heard of them, you know. They heard of me before I heard of them. It’s cats out there who won’t even show love to my mixtapes when they come out but when mine drop, Rocky will tweet it. Yams will tweet it. The whole mob will tweet it. It’s just little things like that. We all support each other. I mean everybody gets mad about influences, but just like I came out with a whole tape over west coast beats, how can i get mad over a cat from new york rapping with a southern style? You know, it’s just like that sometimes. Everybody listens to different things.
HHE: What can we look forward to from Le$ in 2013?
Le$: Really just more of the same, but to the next level. Keep working hard. Keep rapping, keep getting better. Just keep making progress, that’s really all it’ about. I can’t really say when everything’s gonna pop off or that type of stuff. But just like any grind you just keep mashing it and everything will come full circle.