It may seem like the Rochester scene just came out of nowhere in the last couple years, but the truth is that names like Eto, Pounds, and 38 Spesh have been out here delivering quality product for damn near a decade. And being a native of the city, DJ Green Lantern has been attempting to shed light on the area’s talent for a grip of years as well. For example, he has consistently worked with Spesh since as far back as 2005.
This Flour City MC/producer was lured back to the streets while Trap was dominating Hip-Hop sales, but when he saw his homies like Benny The Butcher and Eto starting to make waves around 2016-17, he knew the time was right for a comeback. He made his return in grand fashion in 2018 by dropping collab projects with Mafioso rap godfather Kool G. Rap, Buffalo’s most buzzing, Benny, and The Jacka’s protege, Joe Blow. Then, he sparked 2019 with two solos before February 2. Whoa!
Below we get some answers about how the artist formerly known by the full name 38 Special has been maneuvering in the game since he stepped back in. He speaks on everything from his upcoming project with DITC to his respect for the author of 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene, to his favorite piece of production equipment.
Interview by Jordan Commandeur
While a lot of heads may think you’re a newer artist, you have been grinding on the scene for more than a decade. Tell us a little bit about your history and your catalogue.
I started out working with DJ Green Lantern when I was around 16 years-old. He would put me on his mixtapes. I put out my first mixtape in 2008 with Green it was titled Out On Bail. After that I put out several more projects, but I really started to take rap more serious in 2018 when I dropped Stabbed & Shot.
You have also known and been recording with Benny The Butcher for years. Speak on yall’s history.
Me and Benny has been making music for over 10 years together. We put out our first CD together in 2008 titled Cocaine Cowboys. He had signed to my label in 2015, but in 2017 I had decided to not do music anymore, and then he signed with Griselda.
Is there any deeper significance behind the name 38 Spesh?
Nah, 38 Spesh is just short for 38 Special, which is my favorite firearm.
Tell us about the Rochester Hip-Hop scene. There seems to be a lot of names buzzing in that area right now.
There is a lot of talent in Rochester. Lookout for names like Eto, Klass Murda, Pounds, and Black Geez. There is too many to name but soon the world will recognize the talent coming from this city.
You have played off Robert Greene’s instructive manual 48 Laws of Power with both your 38 Laws of Powder and 38 Strategies of Raw albums. Was that book a big inspiration?
Yes, I’m a big Robert Greene fan. I like his style of writing. I have read all of his books.
You have a very laidback flow and it seems like listeners miss a lot of your best punchlines because of your nonchalance. Do you think you’re underrated lyrically?
Yes, I feel I am a very underrated lyricist at the moment but all that is about to change.
We have noticed that you are doing quite a bit of the production on your more recent releases. When did you start getting into production?
I started producing at the age of 15 years-old. I started taking production more serious in 2018 as well.
Do you have a preferred piece of equipment or program?
I work on the MPC Touch right now, but I work on several different MPC models. My favorite MPC is the MPC Xl 2000.
We definitely have got to ask how the Kool G. Rap collab album came together. That is a huge honor to take the title ‘Son of G Rap’ and have the godfather of Mafioso Rap actually co-sign!
It was a honor to do that album with G. DJ Premier introduced me to G after I told him about the Son Of G Rap concept. After meeting with G and playing him a few of my songs, he said he felt honored that I was doing the project.
So we’ve heard you have some big projects on the horizon. What can you tell us about the joint album with DITC?
I have a project with DITC fully produced by me, Buckwild, and Showbiz. It’s called 38 In The Crates. It’s coming soon!