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Mic’d Up: A Conversation With LE$

New Orleans is known for its musical history equipped with so many dynamic artists and stories to tell. Not every artist you look to support has a story you can relate to or a drive that you can admire. L.E.$. is someone who seems to embody the work ethic and independence that we admired from southern legends such as Master P & DJ Screw. Over the years this man has worked diligently to embark on a journey that displays honesty & perseverance. From working alongside greats such as Slim Thug & Curren$y to building an undeniable brand known as “$teak x $hrimp”, it is clear that the hustle continues daily and the dreams only get bigger.

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As a youth coming up in New Orleans then transitioning to Houston what was life like? How did your environment help shape you musically?
Coming up in different places was cool. I was able to soak up different environments hear different music and learn how to move around and deal with different people. New Orleans and Houston are two different worlds from the style to the lingo  the streets and the music. I came up in the era when Wayne was dropping the squad up tapes on New Orleans and the lyrical mixtape rap shit started popping off. and out in Houston Swisha House was running shit with the youth at the time and Thugga, Chamillionaire, Paul Wall was killin’ the tapes with the fly punch lines and flows.. that shit made me want to rap and rap good. So I started doing what they did trying to rap over other niggas beats and do it better than who did it before.

When did you decide that you were ready to devote yourself to your art?
Man I had already been rapping and got linked with DJ Mr Rogers got with Slim Thug and dropped a few projects but when I put out my project “E36” is when i really devoted myself to doing the rap thing and finding my place in the game. That’s the first underground I did that got a lot of attention online and the blogs and all that and when I first started the Steak x Shrimp movement. That’s when the shows got packed and the following started growing and shit seemed like it could be something real.

 

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What did you grow up listening to? Who inspired you the most to become a rapper?
Man I grew up listening to everything. It was written is probably the first rap album I knew word for word, but I was on Sublime, Nirvana, Rancid, old school shit my parents would play from Earth, Wind and Fire, Pink Floyd, Roy Ayers–all that flavor. The biggest inspiration tho is always Jay Z to me. He was always the nicest nigga getting the most paper and on the fly shit. You don’t really get all that in one anymore dude never really makes a bad move.

How did you acquire the name? What inspires you to create music?
My name is just short for my real name Lester haha. I was always trying to be fly or hustling or working for some paper so my potna Kaylon added the dollar sign instead of the “S” and dollar is what most my close friends call me outside of rap. Far as inspiration go man it’s just day to day life. Some days are good and some days are trash and everyone can relate to that and that’s what I want to give people. I rap for regular niggas, niggas wit a job or hustlin trying to make sense of the world and chase love happiness and some paper. This ain’t no killer shit no trap shit but they can relate to it the same because it’s all real and everyone can see eye to eye with me.

You’ve worked a lot with legendary producer Happy Perez, how did this relationship develop? What kind of knowledge have you obtained while working with the Texas legend?
Man Happy P is my big brother, mentor, one of my best friends and I know for sure he believes in what I’m doing even more than myself sometimes. We linked together through our mutual homeboy “Gu” that manages Paul Wall. I came to his studio and he put on a record that became ’96 on my Steak x Shrimp Vol 1 tape. We just clicked man and beyond just making music he saw things that I was dealing with as a up and coming underground artist and would step in and give me game and lead me in the right direction and now we’re business partners getting this movement going and making things happen. He taught me a lot about patience and showing me how to make real songs and records and how to monetize the music and the movement. Haps a legend and he’s done everything on almost every level of the game.

What do you believe artists should work better at when it comes to valuing producers?
Man I feel like working with the guys I work with I’ve learned the best way to get the best out of your producers and what they like the most is working with them in real life not over the internet or through emails. You really get the best out of each other when you’re in the same studio bouncing those ideas back and vibes back and forth and especially when the producer knows you and knows the message you’re trying to get across as an artist.

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What is the best investment you made in your career?
Man honestly and as cliche as it sounds the best investment has been in myself and the brand. If you believe in yourself you have to bet on yourself and once you see the return on the investment there isn’t anything better than knowing YOU and your team did it.

Lastly, leave our readers with some final words.
Man appreciate the love if you fuck with me and the movement. Check us out www.steakxshrimp.com and check all the albums and tapes out on iTunes/Apple Music/Spotify and all the platforms. Keep smoking and always do you. $x$™

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