It takes a few years of work for an artist to become an overnight sensation. Although Easy Lantana, named after the street he was raised on, isn’t an overnight sensation just yet, he’s grinding as if everything is going to fall into place tomorrow. The Cincinnati, Ohio rapper has been making moves in the music industry since he dropped his first mixtape in 2006 after getting out of prison for aggravated robbery. Since then, the 26-year-old born Marcus Weldon has found local and regional success, but the national spotlight has eluded him.
Easy Lantana is poised to receive massive amounts of national attention thanks to his breakout single “All Hustle, No Luck” which has been a staple on BET’s “106 & Park” since being introduced as a “New Joint of the Day” in the first quarter of 2013. Once the “106 & Park” audience heard the song, things have been looking up for Easy Lantana.
The Urban Daily caught up with Easy Lantana as he was at a photo shoot for AKOO’s holiday look book. While there, we talked about the local Hip-Hop scene in Cincinnati, his upcoming mixtape “Live From Lantana” which drops January 7th, the evolution of rap music, and what he wants the game to remember him for. Acquaint yourself with RCA Records’ latest signee Easy Lantana and make sure you take note of the young man’s passion and ambition.
TUD: Explain to me the hip-hop scene in Cincinnati. Y’all aren’t really known for hip-hop.
EL: I’m one of the first artists to be in this type of position. To put it into perspective, I’m the first Cincinnati artist to be put in regular rotation on the radio. We aka ways had a music scene, but it was just local. I’m bringing a lot of inspiration to a lot of other artists in my city. They see the way my music is spreading and they see that it actually can happen.
How did growing up in Cincinnati influence your music?
You know, your environment shapes you that’s why in always repped out. I’m always screaming Cincinnati because it’s what made me. The all hustle, no luck thing came from there. In Cincinnati, they ain’t gon give you nothing. It’s either you came up with it or you made it happen. You can’t wait around for something to happen. You have to make it happen for yourself and my city taught me that.
Considering you’re from the Midwest, you guys pull a lot of influences from all over the country. Explain your sound.
Man we do pull from everywhere. Right before this interview, we were in the back listening to Jay Z. Then I turned on some Trick Daddy. I can listen to some Boosie and then switch it to Outkast. Since we were in the middle and didn’t have a flagship artist, we rock with everybody. My sound is a mixture of everything, but it’s really just authentic Cincinnati. I work with mostly producers from Cincinnati because in just trying to bring a sound that hasn’t been heard.
How do you plan on getting the local sound of Cincinnati to appeal to the rest of the nation?
I’m going to forever rep where I’m from, but I’m trying to take my sound global. It’s bigger than just being a Cincinnati artist. I got dope music and I’m going to leave it to the people’s’ opinion, but I’m just gonna keep pushing my music.
My people sent them the original song and they each were feeling it. All of them showed love and did their thing on the track. Bun B!?! Port Arthur?! That’s that nigga! That was just an honor right there. It was really an honor that all three of them got on my song because that’s my first song with any features.
We know about the “All Hustle, No Luck” single and it’s remix, but what other music do you have out?
Man, I got three mixtapes. I’m about to drop a new mixtape called “Live From Lantana.” That’s my newest and best body of work. “All Hustle, No Luck” is getting me through the door, but it’s bigger than that. I came out with that song last April and I just kept pushing it and now it’s number five on 106 & Park.
Speaking of 106 & Park, how did you feel when you found out your video was on the show?
I can’t even explain the feeling when I first saw it. That’s big! It was big when they made it the new joint of the day, but when it made the countdown, it was like, “Damn! That’s from the people!” I was just proud.
How do you plan on separating yourself from the rappers who get a lot of Internet buzz but that never translates into record sales?
That’s the big thing right now. You got people with millions of views and when they drop a mixtape, nobody gets it. It’s weird, but all I can say is that they can’t stop what won’t stop. I’m just going to be passionate and consistent when I drop my music. Every time they see or hear me, I’m just gonna be Lantana. I’m not one of those guys who gets into the trends. I’m just me.
So rap has gotten a little more emotional..
Man, it’s crazy. I’m at a point in my life where I accept people for who they are. There was a time when I would see people wearing certain things I wouldn’t wear and be like, “what the fuck is wrong with them?! What they on?!” But I realize now that people are who they are.
But it’s definitely a different time in rap. Back in the day, a lot of stuff that goes on now just ain’t happen. You wasn’t fitting to come out singing a whole song to a female. It was harder than, but I think this era of rap is people just being comfortable in their own skin.
So what do you think of the evolution of rap? We went from rappers being hard to it being acceptable for them to say that someone hurt their feelings.
I think it’s better because it leaves a lot less room for perpetrating. If you still had to be hard, you’d have all of these fake ass rappers trying to be hard because they think they gotta be hard. Now, they can do their thing. They can be into fashion and still be themselves. Back then, it wasn’t going. Now there’s more room for people to be themselves.
What do you want people to remember you for?
I want them to remember my passion. I want them to remember how seriously I took my craft and how I take what I do seriously. When you see somebody taking their craft seriously, they can inspire you. When you see Jordan go hard at what he does, you might play basketball, but you can be inspired to go hard at what you do. So I wanna leave that inspired feeling. I want people to walk away knowing that I was always myself.
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