The plight of the “starving artist” has always been a tough one. Consisting of a grind that would make would make you need a infinite supply of motor oil to keep your joints loose, the elusive goal of making it big can sometimes be too much for a person to bear.
But on the brighter side of things, modern day technology has allowed those with spotlights for eyes the chance to attain what so many others wish for.
Recently LOUD.com hosted an MC contest in which the winner would become $100,000.00 richer, while also securing a deal with SRC Records. When it was all said and done, it was a tie for first place, and music mogul Steve Rifkind would be adding two more artists to his roster instead of one.
In this two-part interview, you’ll be meeting both of winners, Philly’s L.F. Daze and North Carolina’s Kaze (pronounced Kah-ZEE) [Click the read to pt 2. with Kaze] and read about how being computer savvy gave them both the chance of a lifetime…
iHipHop.com: Where are you originally from?
L.F. Daze: I was born and raised in West Philly…
iHipHop.com: When did you first get into music?
L.F. Daze: I got into music around 16-years-old, when I was back in high school. I actually got into rhyming, but I was more into making beats… So that really became my primary focus, and what I wanted to do myself.
But I was always the best MC in any circle, but it’s like a different type of self-fulfillment when you make a dope beat. Rhyming is something more for the people, and beats are more for yourself.
iHipHop.com: How would you describe the Philly scene? Is it like crabs in a barrel, or does everyone look out?
L.F. Daze: It’s definitely crabs in a barrel… Some people try to look out for each other, but everyone has their own little cliques. But the biggest problem with the Philly scene is that if somebody does something successful, everybody is going to follow suit.
It’s not the most creative place in the world, and I hate to have to talk about my city like that, but that’s been the problem for years. If you want to keep it 100 percent real, [Beanie] Sigel came out at one point, and then EVERYBODY in Philly started sounding like [Beanie] Sigel.
It really hasn’t changed, and that’s the reason why a lot of the artists from Philly ain’t popping no more, because the street ethic that Philly was a part of in the last decade died out, and cats don’t know what else to do. There are a lot of underground cats doing well, because [they] were never caught up in that type of style, and I hope to be one of those cats too.
iHipHop.com: So how did the LOUD Contest come about?
L.F. Daze: Somebody put me onto the site… The person that told me about it is someone who always hops in different contests… I never took that stuff serious, but they told me to check it out because it was for $100,000.00. So I looked at it, and initially I was going to hop in the producer’s contest, but decided that this was a good way for people to hear my music…
So when I hopped in it, I really wanted to hear what people across the country who didn’t know me had to say about my music. Then when I won the first round, I was like, “Damn, I’m coming with that heat, and they know it.”
iHipHop.com: What did the contest consist of in order for you to win?
L.F. Daze: Basically for like three months they listened to thousands of songs from artists, and they narrowed it down to the actual finalist contest… So when the final contest came around, they gave us a beat by Jake One, who is a dope producer.
They gave everybody a different beat, and we had to make a song to it. Then we had to create a video for the song, try to get mainstream play for the song, do viral and Internet promotions, and collaborations with other artists…
It was about six different tasks before we got to the final point, which was actually meeting with the label. A lot of the other contestants have been pursuing successful rap careers for a long time, so it was no big deal to them. But for me, a lot of it was a first-time experience…
iHipHop.com: What exactly did you win?
L.F. Daze: I won a single deal with SRC Records, which is optional to become a bigger deal. Also me and my man Kaze [Click the read to pt 2. with Kaze] split $100,000.00 down the middle as a grand prize.
Money is money, but the big deal is getting the chance to get a record out which will be pushed strongly by a label that pushes strong artists…
iHipHop.com: So where do you go from here? Is the money going to go back into you, as opposed to people who win money and spend it on dumb stuff?
L.F. Daze: [Laughing] Definitely…. That’s the main focus of the money; being able to afford certain promotions you can’t afford when you’re grinding. Just things like getting the right equipment, getting with the right publicist, and things like that.
One thing I want to do is get some nice visual equipment, so I can do viral promotions and things of that nature. But all of it guaranteed will go right back into creating a buzz for myself…
iHipHop.com: Talk about your life before the contest, around what time would you say people really started to notice your talent?
L.F. Daze: I would say from the get-go if you’re talking about rhymes… Right off the bat… People were giving me crazy love, and it was something that I took pride in by being able to live up to that reputation…
When I started making beats, I was doing my thing and next thing you know, people were coming up to me asking me how much a beat cost. I didn’t even know that they knew I made beats…
iHipHop.com: Do you have a greater passion for one in particular?
L.F. Daze: Certain times you feel different ways… Sometimes you want to sit down alone and make the beat, and sometimes you want to rock in a cipher, or go work on a song… I won’t say that I love one more than the other, because it’s not even for me to say which one I’m better at.
If you ask me, I’ll probably say that I was meant to make beats, but if you ask another person, they might say, “Nah, this n*gga was meant to rhyme.” Sometimes it’s kind of hard to work on both at the same time, but I guess that what makes the people who are successful at both—successful at both.
iHipHop.com: Was it difficult for you at first to find your own sound as a producer?
L.F. Daze: I wouldn’t say that it was difficult, because emulation is like the best form of flattery… So for example: If I said I wanted to make a beat like Timbaland, I’m not Timbaland…
So when I go to approach it the same way, it’s going to come out different because I have my own techniques and my own way of going about stuff. No matter how creative you are; everybody has guidelines for something.
iHipHop.com: What’s the one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
L.F. Daze: Honestly, I’ve always been making beats off of computers, and I cannot live with FL Studio. I use a Triton now along with a MOTIF. But If I didn’t have that computer program, I wouldn’t feel the same way about it…
For more info on L.F. Daze, check out: www.myspace.com/lfdaze