“It’s time to bring back individuality to this music—while I’m proud of the South’s success, I don’t think it always reflects many of the true elements of Southern living.” Lyrikill is a man who holds his roots deep. ‘The emcee formed close bonds with fellow emcees and established the underground hip-hop and mixtape crew Eupham. Through original elements of hip-hop culture – social awareness, fellowship, cunning lyrical style, and flow friendly production – Eupham represents the principle that hip-hop is more than music, it’s art’.
Lyrikill is on the rise with all of his projects and is not only one hell of an emcee, he is a very talented, introspective, intelligent, and well spoken guy. Read on for an exclusive interview with Lyrikill who explains his passion for hip-hop, shoes, art, and the NOLA community…
Explain your shoe collection, and the story behind what started it.
How many pairs do you own to date?
My shoe collection is undoubtedly a nostalgic trip to my youth. It started in kindergarten, 1985-86…that same year I got the Converse Weapons Magic Johnson/Lakers colorway. I saw the Converse Weapons commercial and begged my mom for them.
Back then, our high school was right across the street from our Elementary school and I rode the bus with high schoolers because my older cousin Big Burt (R.I.P.) was in high school. I remember the respect the older guys gave me, as lil’ man with the nice shoes and I never wanted that moment to end, so I never let it.
Presently I have maybe 200 pairs, Jordans, Dunks, Pumas, Reebok Pumps, Adidas, all kinds of stuff. I have maybe 50-60 in my present wearing rotation. Retro is really more than album title.
What musicians/artists have served as inspiration to you?
I was a visual artist before I started making music so I gain inspiration from everything from Claude Monet to Stevie Wonder to the Television Show “The Wire”. If you listen to my albums Heart & Sole or More Heart More Sole, you’ll hear that I am influenced by soul and jazz as much as hip-hop.
Being from the South, I always thought it was important that we have a true voice to tell people about the hospitality and culture of the South using blues and soul with the narrative elements of classic New York lyricism. So I’m inspired by Nas’ Illmatic as well as Curtis Mayfield’s Claudia soundtrack.
Its been that appreciation for such a heterogeneous mixture of art that makes me who I am artistically. In the end my music represents southern hospitality and 90’s era hip-hop culture.
New Orleans is a city that has undergone a lot of tragedy in the
past few years. What have you been doing to help rebuild the community?
Honestly, that’s not something I like to brag about because I AM that
community. It would be like bragging about rebuilding your own home. I just got straight into the mix when I got back.
I used my resources to help clean up parks and schools. I helped raise money for different organizations. I worked with Operation HOPE to help people recover housing. I tutored kids and mentored a group of young emcees, through a program called Voices.
Shout out to Truth Universal and EF Cuttin for mentoring me throughout my career. That atmosphere has made help others. Peace to cats like 2 Cent, E Buckles & Harn Solo for helping upcoming young artists in New Orleans.
What message are you trying to get across through your music?
My message consists of preservation of the hip-hop culture, southern
hospitality and nostalgia. The sneakers are an extension of hip-hop
culture and nostalgia. Everything I do maintains a familial aura. While I have free-spirited songs, I represent responsibility, humanity and family.
I want to bring hip-hop back into a space where being knowledgeable is the norm. All of these things are representative of how the music used to be, so my goal is to take the listener back to the golden era of social consciousness and creative content.
Tell us about Eupham and how it was started.
Eupham is our record label but I’m now focused more on “Heart & Sole” it’s a lifestyle. Eupham was formed through a partnership with myself and Elevated Minds Music Group, a New Orleans based company and their Distribution Division based in Austin, Texas. Eupham is typically responsible for coordinating and scheduling my releases with Elevated Minds and also instrumental in developing urban events such as Kicks-N-Snares and The Soundclash which Onpoint El has continued to push. Eupham began with the original group Euphonetiks (Phonetically Euphoric) and was formed as our extended family combined under one family based umbrella. We structured that same family-based atmosphere with Heart & Sole as it represents (Family/Culture as “Heart” and Sneakers/Enjoyment as “Sole”).
Team Heart & Sole has done a series of sneaker-based events and we have recently released Retro, an eight song EP headed by the newest single “Do What It Do.”
What are your plans for the future music/tour wise?
We are planning the release of consistent content such as a stream of
music and video content introducing the world to the Lifestyle of Heart & Sole. You’ll be seeing more about our process in securing sneakers, restoring sneakers to mint condition with my man Ammoskunk and creating music.
We’re going to be involved with a lot of sneaker and nostalgic events that represent the true elements of Hip Hop. I’m working heavily with Prospek (GPNYC Artist) in the studio with his project “The Polyphonic Congress” and my next project “Nostalgia” will drop in the Spring around April with tracks from Statik Selektah and Quickie Mart as well Prospek.
We feel our lifestyle relates to millions that share our passion and love for sneakers and authentic hip hop music and we will push that movement that represents our lifestyle. We have a few upcoming shows and are discussing tour options. You can catch me in Lafayette, LA in February and at SXSW.
Thanks for the Interview, Shout Out to Pittsburgh Music Magazine and the staff. You can follow me on Twitter @Lyrikill | Facebook.com/lyrikillmusic
|YouTube.com/Lyrikillmusic and other outlets. Hopefully we’ll see