MEYHEM LAUREN | EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

How did your name come about?

People know me as Mey or Mey-Lo and that just kinda evolved into Meyhem Lauren. I’ve always been heavy into Lo (Polo) and feel that my music is timeless and classic like Ralph’s clothing. Ralph Lauren makes timeless non-dated or fad like apparel and I’m trying to do the same thing with my music.

What was it like growing up as a kid in Queens?

Queens is dope, I couldn’t have asked to be raised in a better place. Queens is the most integrated place in the entire world so growing up in Queens is like getting exposed to seven continents in one boro. A lot of talent comes out of Queens, make a list of your top 20 favorite M.C’s then count how many of them are from Q.U.

What are some childhood memories that stand out?

Regular shit playing ball, racking, graff etc. Luckily NY was still NY when I was coming up.

Who did you listen to growing up?

Wu tang, Kool G Rap, Tragedy, Cormega, Mobb Deep, Nas, Pun, M.O.P., D.I.T.C., Boot Camp, etc

Whose music are you feeling nowadays?

Same people… If it’s not broken don’t fix it. As far as up and coming artists I feel my whole Outdoorsmen team – Meyhem Lauren, Action Bronson, Ag Da Coroner, J-Love, Science, Steele, Take-It, Animal, Killa Sha *R.I.P and Prince brings a lot to the table. I also think Willie the kid, Timeless Truth, Shazone, Danny Brown and Maffew Raggazino got some quality shit too.

How did you get your start in music and how long have you been at it?

It was basically just a hobby that turned into an occupation. Me and J-Love (WWW.J-LOVEONLINE.COM) are from the same part of town and were cool before music so when I decided to take things serious he helped me out immensely and schooled me on a lot of shit about the game. I’d say I’ve been taking music seriously for about 5 years now.

How would you describe your sound?

My sound is basically hip hop – how it’s supposed to sound. I sound like Hip Hop sounded before the game got all watered down and funny style.

In what way do you differ from other emcees?

I do whatever I want. Too many artist are worried about what they think other people will like or what they think will sell so they put their personal preferences behind that. When I make music I make it first for myself then for my immediate fam. If other people like it no doubt that’s a great thing but if not keep it moving because I’m not switching up my formula.


Which crews are you a part of?

I’m down with a lot of crews I lost touch with a lot of people over the years but its still all love. peace to Outdoorsmen, Lo Lifes, 118, Smart, Tcn, Avr, Illq, Foh, 2000 crew..etc

Who have you worked with and who would you like to in the future?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have done joints with a lot of the greats, Ghostface, Kool G. Rap, Sean Price, Tragedy, Just Blaze, PF Cuttin, J-Love, Domingo, Cappadonna, Large Professor, M.O.P., Roc Marciano, Ayatollah, etc. As far as the future is concerned I’m tryna continue building those I have already formed alliances with and anyone else reppin’ the same genre of this rap shit that I am.

What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve put out?

The Acknowledge Greatness joint I did with J-Love was dope I got to work with a lot of legends on that, my Clarified Butter mixtape just dropped and I feel real good about that too and the feedback is real positive on it so I’m glad the streets appreciate it. I’m also about to drop my debut LP Self Induced Illness early in 2011 and the video for the first single “Got the Fever” got a crazy response so the anticipation for that release is also building at a rapid pace.

Congratulations on all the love you’ve been receiving on your latest video “Got The Fever”. What kind of response have you been receiving personally?

I’m only hearing positive things about the video. It’s ill because the writer community is a fickle crowd and I expected a lot of behind the scenes hate but 99 percent of the feedback is positive, another thing that suprised me is that mad people who don’t fuck with graff still show love and big up the video.  When I did the joint I thought only the graff heads would embrace it but it seems like it’s becoming an anthem in general.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg5cJu1Zcws

How did the concept come about and who was involved in making it all happen?

Basically I kinda felt like it was something that I was obligated to do. Whenever graff gets bigged up in the media or music videos only writers who piece get shine, I felt like bigging up those who bomb and hit walls with tags and throwups for the sport of it. The whole video was put together by a gentleman named Tom Gould. Peace to him and to all the writers that submitted footage.

In the song “Got The Fever” you drop quite a bit of references that only real writers would recognize and really captured the feeling! Did you or do you still hit up? If so what are your tools of choice?

Once upon a time I was into graff, a lot of my mans went all out with it but I had a short run. The main reason I did the joint was because even though I didn’t go super hard with the graff if it wasn’t for graffiti I wouldn’t be who I am today. My mentality, sense of fashion, and my overall mind state comes from me being a writer at one point in my life.   If I was still on some graff shit I would fuck with Rusto flat blacks and chromes for tags and throwups. My all time favorite graff instrument was Griffin kept in the original container it came in… but those days are long gone for me.

Back in the day, who did you see up, graffiti wise?

Earliest graff memories I have growing up in Queens were Raep, Such, Kerb, SP, Dash, Cost, Naed, Bost, Shade, Trap, Enuf, Shone etc. I also have mad family uptown and remember seeing Doms, Sle, Cope2, Louie 167, Rd, Astro, Deal, etc smashing gates. There were mad other writers and crews killing shit but these were some of the first names I remember seeing up in my youth.

What writers are catching your eye nowadays?

A lot of older writers have come out of retirement lately and that’s always good to see but as far as new writers not too much is catching my eye lately.

Do you have any chase stories or run-ins with the law?

Yeah but I’m gonna keep those under wraps for now. One love to close calls and staying free.


From your perspective, how has hip-hop changed from its golden era to recent years?

Musically, there is too much emphasis on club shit and partying and not enough on other topics. I’m all for going to the club, poppin’ bottles and shit..but that’s not all that life consists of. Another problem is that the elements other than rap are almost not represented or incorporated at all in so called hip hop events.

What advice would you give to those that are starting out?

Basically, to perfect their craft before going public and to go hard or not at all.

What clothing brands are you rocking on a regular basis?

Polo everything, Gucci kicks and glasses, Nike, Northface, Levis and Carhartt jeans, tan Timbs, white tees, New Era fitteds etc.

What are your top five movies?

Carlito’s Way, Juice, Clockwork Orange, Casino, Se7en

Top five spots to go in Queens?

Can’t even single it down to 5 spots but 5 of my favorite eateries are: Dani’s House of Pizza, Greenfields, Cherry Valley, El Rey & Sybils. Just know that I could be seen on any block at any time QU forever!

What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Classic songs and albums being dropped, more shows, videos, interviews and a whole lot of winning in general.

Any last words or shout outs?

R.I.P. Alex21, Raep hold your head, Free Dren Starr. Peace to all the fans, websites and supporters. One love to everyone that I build with on the regular ya’ll know who you are, my circumference is golden.

Meyhem Lauren’s latest video:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2HRoxNUW3s

Purchase Meyhem Lauren’s “Clarified Butter” from iTunes here.

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Photos Courtesy of Meyhem Lauren

Interview by CULT OF BEAUTY

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