Prolegend Movement artist Lank Dizzim talks with Coyote Music about his new mixtape Hustlemania.
NOTE: Lank Dizzim is currently participating in Music for Good on Reverbnation. Through that initiative, proceeds of select singles are given to Oxfam America, an organization that fights poverty worldwide.
Charity aside, Lank Dizzim's here to talk about Hustlemania, his new mixtape released on April 1, 2013. The anticipation's been high on this one because it was originally scheduled to drop in 2012. So, let's get right to it: you can listen to Hustlemania and download it at www.datpiff.com/profile/lankdizzim.
Coyote Music:Where did the name Lank Dizzum come from?
Lank Dizzim: Lank Dizzim is the name I've been using since around 2001. My government name is Langston so I have always been called Lank for short. The Dizzim came from West Coast influences, namely Snopp Dogg. So for a while my friends added Dogg to the end of my name, so they'd say "What's up Lank Dogg?"...Dogg eventually became Dizzim.
CM: Your influences include West Coast & East Coast rappers, which typically means L.A. and NYC. Coming from Jacksonville, did you feel much pull either to either coast, or were you able to appreciate the music and rhymes apart from any regional tension?
LD: I remember being drawn to more of the West Coast music as far as production and the type of sound that I could eventually hear myself rapping, too. As far as rhyming style and pattern—similes and metaphors—I picked that up from East Coast rappers. The regional tension never swayed my listening choices. I was always able to listen to the songs without bias and initially if the beat was dope followed by dope rhymes, I was a fan.
CM: In your earliest days, your bio talks about an episode of "stage fright" when you were on stage doing a 'say no to drugs' rap. Can you remember any of those rhymes today?
LD: [laughs] It went something like this:
To the man in the big house with 3-piece suits
to the poor guys who want a lot of loot,
drugs are destroying our generation,
if this continues there will be no education,
for kids like us who want to grow up,
and have strongs minds that wont erupt...ughhh!"
CM: Awesome! Thanks for sharing that. Maybe one day I'll show you the video from my band playing my 11th grade talent show. On the 'say no to drugs' tip, since that movement gave you your first gig, what do you think about the presence and promotion of drug use in a lot of today's music? It it just for show? Damaging? Helpful? "Midget Reggie" seems like a dictionary-quality reference tool for weed terminology.
LD: I think the presence of drugs will always be in the music because, unfortunately, drugs have become apart of American culture. But I do think the promotion of it is over-saturated. I mean, I'm sure several artists use them but they don't promote it. I feel like drug use is a personal choice and no one should be pressured into it. But I do understand the music, pop culture, swag, peer-pressure and several other factors do have an influence on our youth—same as it did when I was an adolescent. Drug use has to be a decision people make on their own though. Its presence in music is mostly for show. I think if you make a song about drugs, you must discuss the pros and cons. What we usually hear is all the pros and none of the cons, and this is the damaging effect. In the end it can help an artist sell a record because it's the nature of the society we live in, and the record business is about selling records. And, yes, "Midget Reggie" is a reference for good ol' grass. [laughs].
Hustlemania back cover
CM: Tell everyone about The Prolegend Movement. You have two producers and four lyricists. How do six people come together to create something like your latest mixtape, Hustlemania?
LD: The Prolegend Movement is a power house, really and the full potential of this group has not been realized yet. It consists of four individuals, Lank Dizzim, Laf Legend, J.CO, and Mass Pro. We all are lyricists. Mass Pro and Laf Legend double as producers. The Prolegend Movement has several releases online and on iTunes—make sure you go check out all Prolegend's music! Prolegend is also a publishing company for all of the members of the group. Here's how it gets tricky: we all are solo artists as well, like Wu-Tang Clan. I came up with the Hustlemania concept and my 3 comrades came together with me to help put it out. Mass Pro laid some fire ass tracks down for me, specifically "Good Green," which will is the lead single of Hustlemania. Laf Legend and J.CO came in and laid down some verses, helped develop song concepts, and helped with promotions.
CM: Something stylistically about "Grade A" reminds me of the sounds I'd hear in my old neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn, where there was a big West Indies influence. Am I way off, or is there some island influence somewhere in your production and writing?
LD: [laughs] People ask me if I'm Jamaican sometimes, but no, not specifically. I do however feel like i have a connection to the universal African and Caribbean soul that is found in all of our people worldwide and therefore it may come out in the music subconsciously.
CM: Hustlemania contains the hook from Michael Sembello's "Maniac," popularized in the movie Flashdance. How did that hook move from a 1983 movie into this mixtape?
LD: That song was all Laf Legend. He is the master when it comes to concepts for songs, especially for The Prolegend Movement. Once Laf knew my "hustlemania" concept for the whole album, he came to me like " Lank I got an idea," and I rarely decline his musical advice. So I rolled with it, and it became one of the best tracks on the mixtape. All I had to do was lay a 16 down.
CM: What is *your* role in Prolegend? As someone listens to your mixtape, talk about your presence in its production (do you write much, come up with track ideas, etc.).
LD: My role is Prolegend is two part. Musically, I come up with some concepts, but I'm usually known for having a great verse. There was a time when I was producing but It has taken a backseat for the last couple of years. The other role with Prolegend is the business end, where I function as a lead when it comes to paperwork such as publishing, EPK's, promotion, planning, travel, and the branding of our name.
CM: The Prolegend Movement is based in Florida, so I'm gonna put you on the spot. Which way does Prolegend roll: Seminoles, Gators, Hurricanes, or new blood like the UCF, USF, or FIU?
Good Green: single
available soon on iTunes
LD: We have a divided house: I'm a 'Nole, J.CO is a Gator, Laf Legend actually attended both schools and I'm not sure what Mass Pro is...
CM: What's next? Riding Hustlemania for a while? Promoting it? Already working on the next release?
LD: 2013 is all about promoting Hustlemania. My next release will be the following year. The Prolegend Movement, Laf Legend and J.CO all have efforts coming in summer and fall of 2013 as well, so stay tuned for all our releases
CM: Is Lank Dizzim about live shows, or is it mostly about producing tracks for clubs and parties? How do you balance performing live with recording and producing?
LD: I'm all about the live show, I love it. I'm also about creating the music that can be played in the clubs and parties as well. I strive to be versatile in these two arenas. It's hard to balance both, but I try to create the product first then promote and perform it, that's usually the cycle.
CM: Finally, from a modern-day approach to the music biz, how does Prolegend approach getting your music to new audiences? Do you try to get in with a major label, or stick with a grassroots approach?
LD: We are using a hybrid of both. Locally, I try to create a buzz in Florida, and I also try to get outside of my territory by using the internet. As far as record deals go, until someone cuts a big enough check, I'm an independent artist signed to PLMG Inc. (Prolegend Music Group).
CM: Thanks for your time, Lank. The mixtape is great. I hope a ton of people check out Hustlemania and download it. Best of luck to you and the entire Prolegend crew.