LMNZs album Worldwide Rap a phenomenal achievement. With 76 artists and 29 languages this album is not a simple mixtape, but the physical manifestation of real Hip Hop culture as rap music. What I mean by this is: LMNZ has tapped into the true zeitgeist of what this culture is about, international cooperation. IBMCs is proud to get the interview with this intelligent and cool individual.
Introduce yourself for those who dont know LMNZ
LMNZ: Okay I am LMNZ, like the elements, from Berlin. I produce, I am a sound engineer and I also rap and scratch. Also Im doing all the presswork, promo and street sales by myself.
You are mainly a rapper or producer?
LMNZ: Id say Im mainly a producer. The rapping I do because I like it and to express myself but its not that I am rapping every day, various open mics or whatever.
So you been in the Berlin scene for a while?
LMNZ: Yeah. Yesterday there was a cool party for Yara Bravos birthday with a lot of international people. Berlin is like a boiling point, a city that everybody gets into from all over the world
Tell me more about the scene, what spots to check for, and who and what you recommend. I know HHV do a lot
LMNZ: Yes they have my record on their store good people. Act wise, I can recommend Chefcet, thats my homie, a very good conscious emcee, down with End of the Weak. Spots I usually go to the Cassiopeia, a very cool club for Hip Hop, they throw nice parties. Then my homie DJ Werd he got this place café Wendal they do Hip Hop parties twice a month, very cool with jam sessions every time. There are lots of jam sessions, every day you can go to an open mic, always good people, good vibes, a lot of jazz jam sessions where emcees can also come up. A lot of parties at Bohannon Mostly its electro right now.
Electro is the main scene right now?
LMNZ: There are too many people, they may look like Hip Hop or they have listened to it but there is a lot of Electro
What was your experience of German Hip Hop back in the day?
LMNZ: I gotta say I never listened to so much German rap. I grew up listening to, I think my first record was Nas Iam. I grew up listening to gangster rap. I was 13 and liked Mobb Deep and a lot of Queensbridge stuff, Cormega and even listened to Ruff Ryders and all that shit. At some point you grow older and say its not the best kinda music, you start listening to Mos Def or whatever. So the US scene had more effect on me. But I liked emcees like Torch, Curse, conscious emcees from Germany, but not too much German Hip Hop. Its hard to rap well in this language, it sounds very hard and theres not too many melodies you can come up with. English is more melodic you have more opportunities to do something with your style.
So your album, you made all the beats?
LMNZ: Yes I made the beats, produced and mixed all the tracks. If I could I recorded the tracks with the emcees. At least 60-70% I met here, they were on a European tour for example and I went to their concerts and spoke to them after the concert or arranged it before. If they had off days we recorded in Berlin, if not I gave them instrumentals and choose topics etc.
You have some live instruments on the album too.
LMNZ: Yeah. Charles Cooper who is down with Liquid Crystal Project and J Rawls, he does a great job on the saxophone. Then we got Winter Kelly Stevenson, the son of Rudi Stevenson who produced Nina Simone and all these legends. Jim Dunloop, also a very good piano player on the album… plus many more talented musicians.
How did you manage the language aspect when making your album?
LMNZ: I acted as an A&R, so ok I still aint got Albanian on the record. So I listened to all kinds of Albanian music, saw what I liked and which people I could connect or live around here or are touring. I got in contact with them and we talked in English about what the song is about, then it was all translated, for me the lyrics are very important.
Its very clever how you have done all the translations like that, very impressive. So you are moving the CDs?
LMNZ: Yeah I got CDs and downloads (iTunes, bandcamp etc). Vinyl, I plan on doing but I need more people that want it.
You gonna tour at all?
LMNZ: Its hard with this record I need like an Oligarch who supports us with his millions of dollars hahaha. I have heard stories like that a friend of mine who is in the film business. They filmed a really wack video for a group. A son of an oligarch liked them so he shipped everyone over, gave them the nicest cars, gave them dancers and they had a super dope video. Well, not dope but expensive, two weeks accommodation in the finest hotels there in Dubai. But the music is crap so you just need the right people I guess
IBMCs is all about embracing the different languages
LMNZ: I also think that. Most people I know say, I only listen to the English and all the other stuff is crap Im not interested in it, I cant understand it. But its great to have this diversity and Hip Hop is a global movement. For example in Uganda they got this Luga Flow going on, and they really teach people there, schooling them on a higher level and doing great social work with the music and it wouldnt be possible in English you know. Every language sounds different and has specialties, you can come up with new flows and new ideas.
So you are a fan of some of the European Hip Hop groups?
LMNZ: Yeah! Like Looptroop, I love what they are doing. Dope shit. Id love to work with Promoe. I also love their beats.
Tell me about your personal experiences with the worldwide rap project.
LMNZ: What comes to mind are the problems. It wasnt that easy to put all this together because artists, they got their mind in so many places theyre not really that reliable. At least thats my experience. So it was hard. I waited for some people for a year and they didnt come up with 8 or 16 bars so They have various reasons, but mostly because they are scatterbrained or something.
Stoners. Did you have some extra tracks didnt make it onto the album?
LMNZ: I really tried to focus. All the tracks made it on the album. It was a lot of work anyway.
Theres so many artists out there now its impossible to keep track.
LMNZ: Yeah, since the production costs have come to a minimum, everybody can have their little microphone at home and make their records for cheap. Its good, but it also floods the market everybody should be able to express themselves though.
You have quite a political message in your music.
LMNZ: Yeah most of the lyrics on the record deal with the world were living in in a critical way. For me the main message of the album is clear and simple: no matter where you are from, if you are black or white, from the ghetto or the suburbs, we can all come together and do something positive and creative. It doesnt matter if the government is telling you hate these kinda people, they are bad for us, just because they want some resources. Its all bullshit, theres assholes in every kind of society, theres assholes in Hip Hop
Who are the assholes in Hip Hop?
LMNZ: Hahaha, just you man!
Hahaha good one man.
By: Esh | For international hip-hop: http://www.myspace.com/ibmcs