The Gringo EP is Samuel Hoadley-Brill’s original, four track, hip-hop + rap + reflection project. Sam, aka Lez Majesty, talks about his recording process, his love for the Spanish language, and bridging the mainstream with the underground. Read on for the potential voice of a generation!!!
LEZ MAJESTY TALKS:
Can you describe how “The Gringo EP” came to be? Walk us through the process of writing, recording, publicizing, etc.
I decided on December 9, 2014 that I would drop an EP on my birthday, December 17th. So I did. The Gringo EP was essentially a full year of thought, life experience and perspective manifested into a ten-minute project and recorded over the span of six days. I’ve been rapping about a year now, and I’ve been creating so much material and not releasing it. I originally intended to drop a full length mixtape but I realized most of the tracks were not at the same caliber as my more recent work, so I decided on two tracks written in the Spring, and I wrote two tracks a week before I published the project. I recorded “Numb” the day I wrote it. It was extremely last-minute, but I am happy with it. I think it was important for me to set a goal and achieve it.
How did you meet and/or get in contact your producers? What was it like working with them?
I did not meet or get into contact with these producers, nor do I claim rights to any of the beats used. I purely used the instrumentals chosen because I believed they gave me the creative capacity and inspiration that I needed in order to create art to my best abilities.
Does that mean you made and recorded the EP completely on your own? I was listening to it with Minu and we both thought it had been professionally produced because it sounds very finished and matured.
Not on my own, in fact none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for my great friend and fellow artist Roy Mabie (Seito). We used his recording equipment and he mixed all the tracks.
So “gringo” is a Spanish term used to describe English-speakers (thx wikipedia). Why did you use the term as the name of your EP? It’s reflected particularly in the second track, so could you discuss that as well?
Yes, Spanish has been a huge part of my life as I finished AP Spanish my junior year of high school and got a 5 on the exam. I’m just about fluent, and I am in love with the Spanish Language and Spanish-Speaking Culture. “Gringo” is also a cultural term and used typically when the so-called “Gringo” is not the majority. For example, when I am surrounded by my Mexican friend’s family and I speak Spanish with them, I am sometimes referred to as “el gringo”. Similarly, white rappers are not the majority in the hip-hop genre, so I’ve sort of adapted the title in a positive light for the EP. It’s really about embracing yourself and who you are.
Can you outline some of the other themes/influences on the EP? I heard some recurring lyrics about school, stereotypes, “loco lingo”, etc.
There is a large variety when it comes to the influences I take for my music. I’m very selective when it comes to listening to rap, and I stick mostly to Kendrick Lamar, Vic Mensa, Mick Jenkins, Chance the Rapper, and some earlier Joey Badass. Hip-hop isn’t even the genre I listen to most; my favorite band is by far Gorillaz, and I would say I take a lot of influence from Damon Albarn as an artist and a human.
I mostly speak about the issues I notice in everyday life systems, for example, the way that the public school education system is inherently oppressive to the human mind. This is seen most in “Binoculars” as the name of the track and lyrics represent my ability to see through false appearances and observe what is really going on. “Gringo” and “Numb” are stories from personal experience as well as social commentary. “Give it Back” is really a thank-you track and it carries the message of the importance of the appreciation and reciprocation of love.
Short-term, do you have any ideas for the future of The Gringo EP and your next project?
A music video for sure, it will be dropping early 2015. Also I’m working with a live band right now on a more experimental project, that should be out around spring.
Long-term, what role do you think music will have in your future? What role are you hoping it will have?
My music will become the voice of my generation and give the people something to identify with. That’s the main goal. I’ll still only make music that I want to make, but the eventual dream is to be able to completely bridge the gap between the mainstream and the underground while still creating sonically and lyrically potent art.
Much thanks and love to you! Best of luck with everything. Check out his SoundCloud at: