Thursday, April 30, 2015

[New Interview] Lowkey of the LOEGz

What part of Austin is your family from, and when did Southbound officially form?

We grew up on the Southside, a couple different spots but mostly in the Ben White/Manchaca area. I can still tell you how to get from Porter Middle School to the South Austin rec center in 10 minutes without using any roads, South Austin shit. We had a group before SouthBound when we were like 14 at Crockett High called Southern Exposure, with 2 homies named Treble & Black. We did our first shows and recorded our first songs with that group, even had our first song on the radio on 88.7 KAZI Texas top 40, haha. Then Treble and Black just kind of backed away from music for awhile so me and my bro decided to just be a duo and came up with SouthBound. My name Lowkey came from me being real quiet when I was a kid, one of my homeboy's older brother called me that and I just took it and ran. Sandman got his name from having an extremely sand-filled vagina, true story. Ask him.

You and your brother's styles are similar, yet there are definitely differences in delivery between you two. When yall were younger, what were the contrasts in how you approached music and writing and have those differences continued?

When we were kids I was always more focused on trying to rap fast, he had a more slow delivery, but we both diversified the styles over the years. He was the freestyle king though, when we were 15-16 there was nobody who could hang with Sandman off the top of the dome in my eyes. I still remember him stepping in the cypher with a young Lil Flip and some SUC cats at non-stop music and killin everybody.

What was it like working with OG from Luxury Mindz? What do you think made him different (or what did he do differently) from other videographers in the Austin area that ultimately allowed him to find the success he's had?

We met OG way back when he was still cutting his teeth doing photo shoots for rappers at the backroom, haha. Always been a cool MF and I always knew he had the eye for it, even in his early work you could see he was better than most. But there's a lot of naturally talented photographers out there, that's not really what set him apart, it was his work ethic and professional attitude that got him where he's at. He had that laser focus from the start and wasn't the type to get caught up in the local party & politics that keep most people in the Austin entertainment industry stagnant.

A lot of people know you as a member of the LOEGz. What was your relationship with COD and Dred Skott before yall teamed up on the first mixtape?

Me and my brother were cool with some of the C.O.D. boys way back, my brother used to have a homeboy who lived in Goodrich projects on south lamar when we were kids and some of them used to chill there too, so we met like that on the southside, and I used to always see Greezo (who was LJ back then) around downtown doing shows. We met Dred Skott at a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert at Ruta Maya in like 05 that we both performed at (a young Gary Clark Jr. was on the show too). Me and Esbe chilled and smoked that night and hit it off, said we liked each others shit and should work together, but then I didn't see them for another couple years, we just moved in different circles. In about '07 our manager and CEO of the label we were on (2 Da Bone Records) said he wanted us to meet this new group he was signing called Dred Skott, then from that day forward all 4 of us were together at that studio almost every day for the next couple years, hanging out and making music. When me and my brother started working on the seasons change album in '09 we got Greezo in the studio to get on a song, that was the first time he met Dred Skott I believe, then a few months later we had a party for Reggie's birthday at him & Esbe's crib in the Hogg Penn,  C.O.D. came thru and while we were all chillin, Esbe had the idea that we should all do a mixtape together, that turned into an album, which turned into a group, and the rest is history. Esbe was definitely the heart and soul of everything the League did. He just had that bigger than life personality that brought everybody together as a cohesive unit.

The League is pretty well-known for roasting each other on social media. It's obvious that there's a great deal of cameraderie between yall. What are some of the funniest times you've had with each other?

To me the 1st two national tours we did in 2011, when Esbe was still alive, were probably the most I've ever laughed in my life. We were young and crazy and on drugs out on the road in different cities for the first time, just constant roasting and jokes and pranks, it was insane.

Do you think the image of a white rapper in Texas, with the people who have made it nationally basically being Paul Wall and Riff Raff, is different then the image of a white rapper in the rest of the country (or world)? You're a father of a newborn boy as well, would you encourage him to become a white rapper?

Haha, that's a funny question. Honestly, I don't really think most hip-hop fans would consider Paul & Riff Raff to be representative of white rappers in Texas or in general, but I think at this point it's not as big of a stigma to be a white rapper anymore. The cat is out of the bag, Pandora's box is open, everybody is a rapper now.....white girls, Asians, even terrorists like you can rap now, Haris. When me and Sandman started it was more of a novelty to be a white (and twin) rapper. But as far as my son goes, I will instruct him to stay as far away from the rap game as humanly possible, the only music I play around him is Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, and if I ever catch him saying the word "mixtape" he's going up for adoption....

The League definitely gained a lot of respect from going on national tours with artists such as Rittz, Killer Mike & Dead Prez. Not only that, but yall have worked with nationally known producers like DJ Burn One, Cyfyre, Statik Selektah, Shane Eli, DJ Nick Nack, Eric Dingus, Kydd and so on. Were there ever a hip-hop moment for you where you were like "Okay, I made it now. If I never drop another verse again, I can die happy?"

I've had a lot of those moments, where you can't believe this is your life and you're really here right now, it's a beautiful humbling feeling, then a few days later that fades and you're hungry again. I've met most of my idols in the game and they're all just normal ass people.....some cool as fuck, some are assholes, but they're all regular humans.

What's next for Austin's Lowkey?

Still taking my time on the Low Life EP, it's coming together real dope so far, can't wait to finally release it. And right now me and my brother are in the beginning stages of a new Southbound project, just emailing back & forth sharing beats and throwing out ideas, it's hard since he's in the Navy on a boat and I'm here but it'll happen. Other than that, my main focus is my son right now, he's 2 weeks old and I just want to make sure that I leave him something to be proud of and to also try to surpass in his own way. All the League kids, this is something they can look back at when we're gone and say "look at what our Dads did, that's dope, but let's go past that and make our own legacies."

You can follow Lowkey at and

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