In a genre where honesty is so often the first thing to be left behind when artists start hitting the big stage, Locksmith remains an emcee who hasn’t strayed from his message. His first project of the year, Labyrinth, is no different. As Lock continues to churn out stellar singles like “My Character” and my personal favorite, “Slight Disgust,” his musical integrity hasn’t shown the first signs of wavering. So it’s only right that we went directly to the man himself to get a few words about his latest video, “The Pit” – a tale about his upbringing in Richmond, California.
1. Your rhymes usually consist of politically charged topics like the constriction of freedom of speech rights and other controversial subjects like post-9/11 racism (especially against Muslims) on “Slight Disgust.” Are you ever afraid of the repercussions from your lyrics?
I’m aware of the backlash that may come with my lyrics but I’m confident in my intentions. I believe any listener who appreciates genuine music – whether they agree or not – can identify with the sincerity in the message. As an artist, you can’t grow without taking some risks.
2. Higher education isn’t something most people have in rap, but you do. However, when listening to your music, it sounds like you didn’t particularly like college. Why is that and how would you say going to an elite school like UC-Berkeley has impacted you and your career?
(Laughs) That’s so funny you would think I didn’t like college. No, it’s actually the opposite. College was one of the best experiences in my life. What I speak out against in my lyrics is the notion that just because you have a college education it means you’re “smart.” Often times people don’t really take advantage of school. They only learn how to regurgitate information they were spoon fed, as opposed to actually exploring and researching things themselves.
3. On “The Pit,” you say, “my father caught my auntie smoking crack in the bathroom/I was just a young boy, too lazy to vacuum/momma screaming at me from the back room.” Briefly tell me how your childhood was and what it was like coming up in Richmond.
My childhood was incredible, painful, and educational at the same time. I grew up in what was considered a “hood” environment but was fortunate enough to be raised by both my parents as well as neighbors who helped parent. That’s one of the beautiful things about my neighborhood. Everyone watched each other’s back regardless of the harsh living conditions.