Locksmith: In Rare Form

Revolutionary Bay blood surges through the arteries of Locksmith. If he’s rhyming alongside Left, the other half of his group, Frontline; or, if he’s surgically euthanizing MCs in battle, Lock is Dr. Kevorkian. This Grind Time grime reaper snatches souls, sending them to the dead poet’s society in the sky. Locksmith is devoting himself to […]


Bay blood surges through the arteries of Locksmith. If he’s rhyming

alongside Left, the other half of his group, Frontline; or, if he’s

surgically euthanizing MCs in battle, Lock is Dr. Kevorkian. This Grind

Time grime reaper snatches souls, sending them to the dead poet’s

society in the sky. Locksmith is devoting himself to Hip-Hop. Although

he didn’t create the Hip-Hop helix, his impending solo, Frank The

Rabbit, will help unlock its secrets. In his AllHipHop.com debut,

Locksmith clarifies his thoughts on everything from regional Hip-Hop

to religion. 

AllHipHop.com: For the

folks outside of the Bay, what differentiates The Frontline and Locksmith

from other regional talent? 

Locksmith: As far as

the Bay area, I think that everybody is unique. If you’re not unique

then you’re following a pattern; or, you’re following a specific

type of gimmick or something to that degree to that extent. We just

wanted to find our own niche. Even before the notoriety, we always wanted

to be our own artists. We didn’t want to follow E-40 and Too Short.

We’ve always respected those dudes as artists; but, we wanted to set

our own trend. The Bay is a very diverse area; so, our music and as

artists we reflect that. We never followed just one specific trend or

localized ourselves to one area. We always wanted to internalize everything

that was going on in the whole country and put that into our music.

We’re very aware of what’s going on in the nation and internationally,

too. So, we put that in our music and it fits our personalities. It’s

reflected in our music. 


Sometimes emerging MCs striving to break into the mainstream may sacrifice

their lyrical integrity in order become more commercially appealing.

What motivates you to remain steadfast to your lyrical ideals? 

Locksmith: It’s not

even a question; I just do what I feel. Whenever you start consciously

saying, I want to appeal to this [it] can be deadly to your career.

I don’t consider myself an underground artist or a commercial artist.

I just do what I do. Sometimes, I’m in a mood to where I have thoughts

that may appeal to a wide range of people. I may have s*** that’s

going on internally; I don’t know if people will identify with it.

But, I know that I’m going to do it. My producer, E-A-Ski recorded

this track, “Rare Form.” I just had some s*** on my chest. Lyrically,

I just wanted to go in and do what I do. He was like, ‘Yo, this s***

is hot. We gotta shoot a video.’ I’m like, “Yo, are you serious?”

He’s like, ‘Man, I think this is dope. This needs to get out there.’

So, we did it—not thinking that this was something that was going

to get a lot of notoriety. This is some intense type of s***; right

now everything is real soft in a sense. Hip-Hop has become more like,

you know, easier to swallow—as far as the mainstream goes.  

So, putting out something like

“Rare Form” I didn’t expect this to do anything except provide

a visual for people online.  The s*** ended up getting added to

MTV and spun in regular rotation.  It’s big on the radio stations

out here in Northern California. I’m like, ‘Wow!’ You have a song

with no hook with a long verse for like two something minutes, and it’s

getting played on the radio. I’m going to shows and people are knowing

the words. So, that’s not something that you can plan for, you just

do what you do… 


In respect to the four main principles of Hip-Hop: the emceeing; the

deejaying; the B-Boying and the art of graffiti, how would you describe

Hip-Hop’s current state? Are we experiencing a Hip-Hop depression

or a Hip-Hop reformation? 

Locksmith: Some days

I feel like Hip-Hop is being revitalized and some days I’ll see something

and it kinda gets me like, ‘Ugh!’ If I can still make an impact

and I can still do what I do, [and] if I still have that passion inside

of me to keep going, then I feel like it’s very much alive. I’ve

noticed that when I see people appreciate what I’m doing—and I appreciate

what the other dope artists are doing—I feel like Hip-Hop is very

much alive and that the principles and the essence of it is very much

still alive.  

The problem is that it’s

become—with capitalism—and what’s going on in Western society,

we’re able to market that and [it’s become] watered down to a certain

degree. It’s going through all this commercial rigmarole, and then

it gets kinda watered down.  And you’re like, okay, you’re

sick of being fed these same images over and over again. That’s just

the companies and their marketing that’s making it that way. But,

Hip-Hop and its essence is very much alive. Every time that I walk somewhere

in The Bay area, I meet tons of young kids and people of all ages telling

me, ‘I love what you’re doing!’ It’s incredible; they show me

love. That lets me know that Hip-Hop and the passion for Hip-Hop is

still very much alive and those principles are still present.  

Locksmith: “Rare Form”

Locksmith – Rare Form / NEWUploaded by PeteRock. – Explore more music videos.

AllHipHop.com: How do

you approach a lyrical battle, is it always pure spontaneous flow? Is

it okay to come with prepared verses?  

Locksmith: I fell into

battling when I first started emceeing… Battling is such a critical

part of Hip-Hop itself; I’ve seen its progression. It started off

as being this total freestyle, off-the-dome kind of thing, to progressing

to people having lines, to people having something prepared for somebody

that you know [you’re going to battle] ahead of time. I go into a

battle preparing for anything to happen… You don’t know what you’re

going to get…You can’t come into a battle so prepared that where

you have it all written down and you don’t know what this guy is going

to say. At the same time if he’s preparing for you then you have to

be somewhat prepared for him. He may come with something that’s totally

written and then you’re stuck trying to freestyle off the dome. So,

you just have to be ready for whatever.  

Within this last year, I’ve

been back on the battle circuit doing some damage. I’ve learned that

I have to watch every opponent… I’ve had some MCs that have Googled

me and have come back with some totally false information. They’ve

seen it on the internet so they felt they could attack me. I have to

be mentally prepared for that and know what’s going on… 


On November 5th, Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, is alleged to have

murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood military base. It’s been reported

that before he began shooting he bellowed, ‘Allah Akbar [God is great]!’

What do you think of those who are so willing to try to establish a

correlation between his actions and his faith? 

Locksmith: I don’t

know what was going through that person’s head… It’s like what

Malcolm X said, ‘The chickens coming home to roost.’ I don’t know

what was in that brother’s heart and what he was doing. I know that

don’t believe the media most of the time. The media is controlled

by sponsors and corporations that are promoting a certain thing. So,

I can’t really go by that. All I know is supposedly what happened.  

I’m a Muslim. Islam does

not preach violence on innocent people. The only time that you can use

physical action is when somebody is threatening you directly and you

fight back against that; or, when you have to stop oppression. If you

see somebody else killing or unjustly doing something to someone else,

then it’s your obligation to step up and stop that. But, I don’t

really know all the details on that. I don’t know what went on with

that particular person. I can only speak on that part; that’s how

we deal with it.  


Lock, I want to thank you for your time. Is there anything else that

you’d like to express? 

Locksmith: Just go to www.iamlock.com or www.IMGMITV.com. Shout out to E-A-Ski and shout out

to my brother, Left!