5:00PM (PST)



Maybe it's just me, but the issue of a white rapper or a black rapper is irrelevant now. You could say that ol' MARSHALL MATHERS did his job, but it goes little deeper than that. Hip-Hop is everywhere now! Hell, just the other day at a business meeting, I actually witnessed a sixty-year-old man in a business suit saying things like "Whassup?" and ending every other word with an "...izzle". Scary! It's even scarier that the guy actually meant it. Other than this image that I've just put in your head, a white guy rapping honestly and earnestly doesn't necessarily make the laugh-o-meter go haywire as it did a few years ago. LOOSE LOGIC came to ROCKWIRED earlier in the year, and since I had never interviewed a Hip-Hop artist, let alone a white one, I had to ask this young man that question regarding validity.  " [easier to be respected as a white rapper], but it's It is not at the same time." responded LOGIC (IAN WESTBROOK) "There is always going to be that comparison with someone like VANILLA ICE. EMINEM made it a little easier, but you end up getting compared to him. It's easier for white rappers to be respected but to not have their own identity in my opinion. People always want to identify you with someone, especially in the Hip-Hop community. Even if I don't sound like EMINEM as far as vocal tone or rhyme pattern, they'll still say  I sound like EMINEM. They mean it in a good way but at the same time it's frustrating."

LOOSE LOGIC is back with his latest CD BEFORE THE STORM; a sixteen track collection of songs that demand to be taken seriously. These songs are also representative of where LOGIC is as a person and an artist. "On this album, I think the delivery and the production and the confidence was just better and more refined and improved." says WESTBROOK.  "There's nothing wrong with the last one, but I feel like this one is better. I wouldn't say that I'm more proud of it than I am the first album, but I'm just really happy with it."

ROCKWIRED spoke with LOOSE LOGIC over the phone. Here is how it went.

I see your nominated for SOUTHBAY MUSIC AWARD

I'm gonna be a guest presenter for the show.
Really? Cool!

I know, I never thought I'd be presenting anything other than problems

Anyway, you've got this new CD [BEFORE THE STORM] out and it's been a couple of years since the last one. How do you feel about it?
I feel really good about it. It's everything that I wanted it to be and I feel like it's a whole step up from where I was.

How do you feel that it's a step up?
It's a step up because when I listen to the first album I keep thinking that I could've done this better or I could've done that better. On this album, I think the delivery and the production and the confidence was just better and more refined and improved.  There's nothing wrong with the last one, but I feel like this one is better. I wouldn't say that I'm more proud of it than I am the first album, but I'm just really happy with it.

How long did it take to put this one together?
About a year. You go through alot of tracks and you'll end up with thirty songs and you pick the best ones. It depends on how much money I have and when I can record. Sometimes I'll be sitting there with ten songs that I've written  but haven't had the chance to go in and record.

Where did these new tracks come from.  What inspired them? Are there any in particular that you would like to talk about?
Yeah, there's a few. A lot of the songs come from personal experiences and things that I've witnessed throughout my life or seen on the news. The first track REAL HIP-HOP came from me just listening to where the music is going right now and me talking about what real hip-hop is to me and talking about the state of the game. Then there's the track R.I.P. which is about my Grandfather who died and it's a dedication to him but at the same time, I tried to make it a little more broader than that so that other people could relate to it. It's a dedication to anyone whose ever lost anyone and had to deal with the pain.

How about LAND OF THE LOST? That's a good one!
That was one of the first songs I did for the CD. Basically, it's all about the way that the world is going and how I feel about it. In this song I'm trying to tie it in to the days back when they said in the Bible that the world had flooded because there was so much evil. I feel it's kind of getting back to that point. That's what that one came out of.

How about BEAUTIFUL?
That song is basically a love song retracking different points in a relationship that I had and that I'm still in but the reason I put it at the end of the CD was because it bascially summed up the whole album and tied it together because it's got a hint of sadness and hope in it and you can tell that by the beat and the Chord progression. There's good times and bad times in those songs but in the end it all comes through and it's beautiful. That's how the album is. There are high points and low points but in the end it all comes full circle.

You're an instrumentalist as well. There aren't too many rappers that are instrumentalists. Have you ever thought about recording something that's not a hip-hop album? You seem to have the chops for it.
I've got some stuff in the works right now. I'm not sure exactly when it's going to come out or how many songs. I'm looking at maybe doing a ten song album. I've got five songs completed and five that I'm still working on. It will be either piano or guitar driven. The main rhythm is the piano and the guitar is `basically backing up and harmonizing with the piano. There'll be a lot of singing in it aand a little bit of hip hop brought in and then there's the bass and drums. You're going to have to imagine REMEMBER ME and BEAUTIFUL  combined together somehow and it would be like that. I'm really excited by this one but I'm not sure when I'm going to be releasing it.

How are live shows going?
They're going very well. I get a lot of love and good reaction from the crowd. I've been able to have the pleasure of performing and opening for some Hip-Hop legends like KRS-ONE, DJ QUICK and then some newer guys who are in the underground like EVIDENCE, DILATED PEOPLES and STRONG ARM STEADY. It's been really good and it's been fun. Nothing is better than being able to get up onstage and do what you love.

In the song REAL HIP-HOP you adress what you feel is the state that Hip-Hop music is in. Would you like to expand on that?
When you click on the radio and listen to a rap station, almost every song that you hear has the same beat, the same loop and the same instruments, and they're saying the same thing and it's boring. Everyone is trying to be like the next person and there is no individuality in the music. There are still people out there doing what I call real Hip-Hop which is something that is conscious and has meaning in the songs and there is always a point to be gotten across no matter if it's a club song or a song about love or storytelling or anything like that. I don't really see that much of it going on anymore. If you listen to KRS-ONE or RAKIM, it's all about knowledge and what's going on in the world. Hip-Hop was all about everyone's own individual voice and that's not what it's about anymore. I think there's going to be a turnaround though.

It's all across the board no matter what music it is. Listen to KROQ! All of those bands sound the same!
Yeah! Someone needs to invent something!

What drew you to Hip-Hop initially?
Before I listened to Hip-Hop I was listening to THE OFFSPRING and GREEN DAY and stuff like that. What happend was my cousin MIKE, who was like three or four years older than me, introduced me to it. Everytime he would come by to my house he would be like "Did you hear this new song?". I wasn't really into at the time so I'd be  like "yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard it!" just so he'd be quiet, but then I started actually listening to it when I was around eleven or something like that. From there it just grew on me. I didn't start making music until I was a senior in High School. One day I heard a song of one my friends on NAPSTER. He did this song over a PUFF DADDY beat and I was like "I can do this better." I started doing this for fun and it just grew from there.

Wow! Your were in High School when NAPSTER came out!
When it first came out, the first song that I ever did was on NAPSTER. People from other high schools in the area would download it and play it. They had no idea it was me because I went by LOOSE LOGIC. I never told anyone that I knew that I was doing this.

Is there a first single for this new CD yet?
No yet. We're thinking of R.I.P. or BEAUTIFUL or FIRST THINGS FIRST. It all depends on the way that I want to drop the first single. It's got to be the right sound that you think people would be wanting to hear at that moment?

How about a video?
I want ot do a video but there is nothing slated in stone right now but at the moment, I'm not really sure what the video would be.

Of all of the people that you've opened up for, who would you say was your favorite?
I've got a few favorites. The thing that was cool about the KRS-ONE show was that when he got on the stage he let all of the people thatopened up for him on the stage and do a little free style with him midway through his show so that was really cool. When I opened for STRONG ARM STEADY and EVIDENCE and DILATED PEOPLES, I actually got to sit down and have a few drinks with the group and talk with them befiore they went on. I opened for DJ QUICK and AMG as well but there was a fight that had broken out during the show so they left as soon as the show was over, but I got to talk to AMG for a little bit so that was cool. I'd have to say that the KRS-ONE show was the best.

How easy or difficult is it to get booked if you're a Hip-Hop artist?
It can be as easy as it can be or it can be as difficult as it can be. It depends on where you are playing and how often they do Hip-Hop ior how open they are to it. For the DJ QUICK show, we played at the QUEEN MARY in Long Beach and two acts into the night and fights started breaking out. The cops came and everyone was tryng to fight the cops. It was just ridiculous. I was shocked I was sitting next tothe sound man on the second floor and all of a sudden I see someone throwing fists and then another person and then the security guards came in and people startedfighting the guards and then the cops came and so on. When you get people that are stupid that come to shows like this, it makes the venue not want to do hip-hop. It gives the whole thing a bad name.

What do you want someone to come away with after hearing this CD?
Basically, I want  someone to come away with a great feeling, feeling they can relate to alot of different issues that are addressed on this album at any given time and make their mood better. Hopefully it will open people eyes to things that are going on that I see that maybe they weren't aware of .