My favorite thing about SoundCloud is discovering new artists, and I recently I found a rapper by the name of Leek. After seeing Leek’s track reposted by A$AP Ty Beats (producer of Pe$so and Purple Swag), I decided to give his mixtape a listen, and I throughly enjoyed what I heard. Peep the interview below to get a better idea of this young Harlem artist, and download In the Backyard here.
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself? How did your rap career come about?
I was originally born in the Bronx but I moved to Harlem in 1998 when I was 7 yrs old. It’s the only place I’ve considered home because every other place my family lived we didn’t stay for longer than a year or so. I’ve been a fan of music in general since the youngest I could remember. My grandfather was a radio personality back in the 50′s and 60′s and my grandmother had a group called “Cleo & The Crystaliers” back in the 50′s as well. My mother and father would always play different types of music in the house when I was younger and I was always drawn to it. As I got older I grew to love Hip-Hop music and I would find myself playing around writing little rhymes pretending to be a rapper. I use to battle my little brother as if we were really battle rapping for money or something lol. When I was 16 I was in a after school program which had a music production class where I recorded my first song. It was kinda amateur but I loved the whole idea of writing to a beat, recording it, and listening to the final product. Ever since then, I’ve been taking it serious and creating music.
2. Where do you draw the most influence from? Your favorite rappers, your surroundings, or something else entirely?
I draw my influences from lifetime experiences whether it being my experiences or from the people around me. I also watch a lot of movies too, it helps with my imagination. I’m a huge fan of the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. My favorite rappers would have to be Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Method Man, Nas, Big L, and Tupac.
3. I noticed your tape does not stick to just one style. You went in over beats ranging from soulful to trap to electronic trap. Did you do this intentionally to demonstrate your versatility?
Yeah. I wanna show people that I could do things outside the box. Tell stories, Tell you how I’m feeling right now, and tell you things from my point of views. Plus standing out is always a good thing to do.
4. What was the process like for this tape? How long did it take, and what did you take away from this experience?
This mixtape is like a year in the making. I kinda pushed it back a couple times because each time I felt like I could be better. One thing I never do is rush a project because I feel like when you do rush a project it doesn’t give you enough time to reach your highest potential during the creating process. When I was starting ‘In My Backyard’ I didn’t have management but now I do so having a team behind me made things a little better. I feel like it was all worth it at the end of the day because the feedback was phenomenal. I’m very proud of myself.
5. What do you have planned for 2014-2015 project wise? Are you going to focus on another mixtape or work on singles and collaborations?
Right now my management (Johnny Park Records) are putting together a compilation album featuring myself along with my label mates Racks Hogan and Dom O Briggs. That should be dropping some time this summer. I also may be dropping a EP before the end of the year.
Download In the Backyard here.
Johnny Park Records: http://soundcloud.com/JohnnyParkRecs