The Bronx is not only the birthplace of Hip-Hop, but home to a slew of buzzing and mainstream talent. Insert Lazaris, who’s here to prove why he’s one of the best to come out the city.
Lazaris is much more than just an MC or rapper, he’s a mogul, philanthropist, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Describing himself as “the savior of Hip-Hop in the Bronx,” the East Coast spitter prides himself in his cinematic, rapid-fire flow. And when it comes to his lyrics, you can always bet he’s rapping about something with substance.
His sound has been compared to the likes of Jadakiss, Big Pun, and Kool G Rap all wrapped into one. Having started rapping at the young age of eight, Lazaris was a part of the supergroup called The Army. To date, he’s worked with all the legendary producers including COD, Lord Finesse, The Beat Phonatic, and Da Inphamus Amadeuz.
Following a string of singles including “Somo Latino” and “Last Night,” Lazaris is currently working on his forthcoming album, slated to be released this winter.
AllHipHop spoke with Lazaris to discuss his roots in the Bronx, his name, new music, businesses and more!
AllHipHop: You’re from the Bronx where Hip-Hop was born. What was the moment you fell in love with Hip-Hop?
Lazaris: Ever since I was 8 years old, listening to all forms of music being played in my household. I come from a musical dynasty and family of legendary singers. My uncles, Aresino Rodriguez and Alfredo ‘Chocolate’ Almentros both have streets renamed after them in the Bronx and Harlem. The music they created broke the barriers of Afro-Congo Hip-Hop sounds. My mother used to play my uncles music and I got to hear it, this was around 1994/1995. That’s when I fell in love with music.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences?
Lazaris: Big Pun, Jadakiss, KRS-One, Kool G Rap, and Eminem.
AllHipHop: When did you first hear yourself on the radio?
Lazaris: When I was 15 years old, I made a song called The Don that got played on Hot 97 and it sent a shocking vibration to the South Bronx community that there was a new artist on the rise.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
Lazaris: I come from a family of Dons, all I did was add the Top Don to my first name Lazaris to carry on the family tradition.
AllHipHop: What inspired “Last Night” featuring DeParris729?
Lazaris: That was a creative idea we had in the studio, we were reminiscing on the times we were outside performing at bars and clubs thinking, “how many people wonder how we made it home last night?” We decided to put out that real question as a song.
AllHipHop: What about “Somo Latino”?
Lazaris: This song is one of my most powerful songs ever created, we constructed this for the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop to represent our Latin culture and why we are part of Hip-Hop culture. I wanted to create a song showing Latin unity.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
- A great instrumental to get me in creative mode.
- Positive energy while I’m creating magic.
- Being in tune and having a bond with my recording engineer so they can match my work ethic, someone who knows my sound and voice tonality because I record and execute my songs fast.
AllHipHop: You’re an entrepreneur also. What businesses do you have?
Lazaris: I have a marketing company called Rich Family Marketing, LLC and I have a Record Label Called Top Don Empire. I also have my own publishing company as well.
AllHipHop: Best encounter you had with a fan?
Lazaris: At the Puerto Rican parade this year, I had a fan run over to me on the float and tell me that I give hope and inspiration to all the Latino contributors (in music and Hip-Hop), and as a Latino putting on for the Latin MCs.
AllHipHop: Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Lazaris: Right now, the goal is to release multiple multi-Platinum projects from myself and my other artist on my imprint Top Don Empire.