Monday, October 11, 2010

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
-Stevie Wonder

Much like SXSW, the Austin City Limits music festival (ACL) brings a variety of musicians and music lovers to Austin. While I prefer to stay away from the actual festival, which brings a wide variety of performers, (I prefer smaller, more intimate venues) I am certainly not without live music during ACL weekend.

ACL weekend brings in non-festival shows as well, and Friday night at District Bar, I had the opportunity to see Luckyiam of the Living Legends. For the past ten years, his music has both appealed to me and inspired me… it’s sexy and melodic. He has the kind of voice that I want to sing me lullabies at night. The content of his rhymes is brutally honest, raw, but even against the heaviest beats, his music possesses an innate sensuality.

Through the wonderful social networking tool that is Twitter, I secured a long awaited interview with Luckyiam. I met him at District Bar but due to the noise level we made our way to Bess Bistro, where, over raw oysters and Jameson’s, I got a little insight into what inspires this man.

Luckyiam eats his first raw oyster...

and washes it down with a sip of Jameson's

What are some of the challenges of working on solo projects, rather than with other artists, or a larger group, like Living Legends?

Luckyiam: Being solo, the only challenge is that I have to write more and I have to worry about having a good chorus on my own. Basically, I have to take on the full direction of the whole project where if you’re in a smaller group like the group the Prime, (the album that you are going to pick up tonight), Legends, or a group like Journeymen, you can feed off the creativity of another person, it’s not just you.

In one interview, when asked about artists that you are influenced by, you named Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Queen, Freestyle Fellowship, LL Cool J, and Outkast. In another interview, you mentioned Natasha Kahn, BBD, Bobby Brown and Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder is the constant here… what is it about him?

Luckyiam: I think that Stevie Wonder has the perfect singing voice. Mix that with the fact that he could play a lot of different instruments, and then mix that with the content of his songs like, the album that I recommend is Songs in the Key of Life. Oh yeah, he’s blind too and he can play all this stuff. To me he’s the ultimate artist. That’s why I keep mentioning him. I really like his music.

What about the wide variety of genres that you mention. Is there a particular genre that you are most influenced by?

Luckyiam: Not genre, I’m influenced by good music on a whole… good music from whatever genre, that could be country, that could be rock, that could be punk, hip hop, soul R & B, whatever. Just good music and good artists and people that stand for things like… on the way here we were listening to the new Neil Young album. Neil was saying some shit that needs to be said that people aren’t saying right now, like things that are going on with the war. I’m influenced by genuine people who make melodic points.

When did you start going by Luckyiam rather than PSC?

Luckyiam: PSC was just an acronym and I guess, once I got that other Luckyiam nickname, I liked the ring of that better. Then the clincher, I guess, was when T.I. came out with this crew that was called PSC for Pimp Squad Click and there was a bit of confusion because they were kind of getting a little bit popular for a while because T.I. was trying to promote them and I just dropped the acronym and kept Luckyiam.

What is PSC an acronym for?

Luckyiam: For Pushing Self Consciousness or Porn Star Creator or People Start Cheating… I don’t know… just, you can make up anything. But no… Pushing Self Consciousness.

As a social networking tool, why have you chosen Twitter over other options?

Luckyiam: A couple of years ago I went out with Atmosphere on the “Every Body Loves a Clown” tour and then URB Magazine approached me and they were like, “you know we want you to blog for URB for your tour" so at that time… it was a 50-60 city tour, I would blog about the happenings of the whole day, I got really used to writing out what we did or what was happening and everything… after we finished that tour, SXSW was happening and then Twitter was just coming out and they approached URB and they liked how I was blogging and they were like, do you think you can get him to try out this thing, Twitter, and they tried to get me on it and I didn’t understand it yet, but then when I got the hang of it, to me its kind of like blogging, to me its kind of like entertaining the people who follow me, giving them information, promoting and you know, it’s my 140 character or less blog… that’s all it is. URB Magazine got me hooked on blogging and it’s my blog… that’s what I do.

Photos courtesy of Suburbane Style

Back at District Bar, I sat with Luckyiam at his merch table while he chose two CDs for me to check out... One Uppers by The Prime, which is a collaborative project with Luckyiam and Sapient and All Over, by CMA, a collab with Luckyiam and the Grouch. I am certainly partial to the CMA album, largely because I have been listening to the Grouch longer than any of the Living Legends. His album Fuck the Dumb was the first hip hop album that I ever truly appreciated. In regards to the collaboration between Luckyiam and the Grouch, I think it is a genius combination of vocal styles; the Grouch's dry, staccato flows mixed with Luckyiam's smooth-as-silk rhymes results in a delicious blend of savory and sweet. All Over also features a variety of talent including Del, Slug and Reese One, which adds an element of diversity to each track.

One Uppers possesses a modern profoundness. The level of confidence exuded by Luckyiam and Sapient is suitable. They developed a creative, innovative product that makes you think. The honesty within the content is comendable, and while some points were difficult for me to listen to, Luckyiam and Sapient do appropriately refer to themselves as "truth sayers."