Longshot and Lazerbeak Find Peace and Spread Love In Collaboration
Written by Vocalo Radio on December 7, 2021
“Every day I get to wake up and write and record and heal — and help heal. That’s the special thing in my life.”– Longshot
Minneapolis rapper Longshot and veteran producer Lazerbeak join forces a second time with Nov. 5 album Spread Love.
Their second collaboration following 2018’s Parades, the Minnesota duo’s 2021 album features Taylor Ray, Kat Luna and Chicago’s own Ang13. Included on Vocalo’s “In Rotation” playlist for Nov. 2021, standout track “Where’s The Peace” layers Longshot’s hopeful lyrics for an equitable future over Lazerbeak’s instrumental. With boisterous horns and a dance-friendly beat, Kat Luna’s angelic voice and Longshot’s smooth rhymes tie into a song to inspire.
We heard from Longshot and Lazerbeak about their new album, music video, a reflection on the year and more.
Your music video for the single “Keep Fighting” came out Nov. 22. It features contemporary dance with simple yet colorful backgrounds. What was it like working on the video? Is there a reason why you wanted to feature dancers?
Both: The message in the song is so strong, we wanted to keep the visual simple — but still engaging and interesting. The recording process was really fun. The extras and dancers helped bring the directors’ vision to life, so that was really dope to witness and be a part of.
The two of you had an album release party for Spread Love on Nov. 26 in Minneapolis. How did it turn out?
Both: The album release party was super dope and fun! It took place at the iconic music venue First Avenue, in the 7th St. Entry room. Chicago hip-hop legend Ang13 and DJ Moz Def made the trek up from Chicago and performed an amazing set. Just being able to exchange energy, dance and hear the music bang out was really special and therapeutic. Can’t wait to get back out on the road and tour.
Tell us a little about Spread Love. What do you want listeners to take away from it?
Both: Spread Love is an album about finding the light in a dark world. These past 18 or so months have been extremely challenging for a lot of us — feeling completely alone or worthless, but still holding on to whatever sliver of hope one may have. We hope people can find some of that hope in this project.
You’ve collaborated with many other musicians, including Ang13, Taylor Ray and Kat Luna. What do you like about collaborating with other artists? Why is it important?
Both: Collaborating is so key. Ang13 is a hip-hop legend, so it was an honor to work with her. Kat and Taylor are both an amazing breath of fresh air and added so much to the record. Just to be able to connect with like-minded artists means everything to us.
Longshot, you started your music career in Chicago in 2002, and eventually moved to Minneapolis after securing a deal with the local hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2009. What are some of the things you miss about Chicago? Do you have plans to visit or to perform here sometime soon?
Longshot: I miss Chicago food all day. I love Harold’s Chicken Shack. And simply living in the city I miss, because Chicago is so beautiful — and it’s home. I’ll forever miss home. With everything going on with COVID I haven’t traveled as much, but really hope I can perform there. That is definitely something I miss for sure, performing in Chicago. Hopefully soon.
What do you love most about the hip-hop scene in Minneapolis?
Longshot: The Minneapolis hip-hop scene is dope and welcomed me from the jump. The diversity and authenticity from artists here is something I appreciate a lot.
“I name each album after each one of my kids and then tried to tailor the sound of each one to their current personalities.”-Lazerbeak
Lazerbeak, what is the most important thing in your life outside of music?
Lazerbeak: Ok, probably the most important thing is officially my family. My wife, Brittany, and my three children, Penelope, Luther and Cameron — they’d be upset if I answered differently, haha. Getting through these past few years together hasn’t always been the easiest, but I think we’ve come out stronger and closer than ever. Besides that obvious answer, though, I’m so thankful for the things in life that keep me curious, inspired and driven. Things like meditation, films and good books.
Your latest solo album Cameron was released Oct. 1. Can you tell us more about it? What life experiences inspired you while creating this album?
Lazerbeak: That release capped off a four-year series of instrumental albums for my children. My hope with the trilogy was to work on some different musical zones and really try to capture the calmness and tranquility that I’ve been appreciating more and more through my mindfulness journey. I name each album after each one of my kids and then tried to tailor the sound of each one to their current personalities. Lou is more moody, Penny is full of positivity and sunshine and Cameron is basically a fireball that shoots around the house constantly. It was a really fun challenge to make music that was just for me and my family. And now that the trilogy is complete I’m very excited to focus on bangers again for a while.
Longshot, you’ve had a busy year with a new album and many collaborations. If you could pick one music-making memory in 2021, which one sticks out to you the most?
Longshot: I would say being named a McKnight Fellow was a pretty big highlight for me this year. And just being able to do what I love the most, which is make music. Every day I get to wake up and write and record and heal — and help heal. That’s the special thing in my life.
Lazerbeak, you have also had a busy year with a new solo album, the album with Longshot and many collaborations! Tell us about one music-making memory in 2021 that sticks out to you the most.
Lazerbeak: I got hit up by Doja Cat’s management one morning in March and was basically given a 12-hour window to try to create a remix for her single “Streets.” I had meetings booked all day and it was my night with the kids, so by the time I got them all in bed there was about two hours until the deadline. Things ended up working out — I got it in right at the last second — and Doja and her team liked it enough to put it out on the official Streets (Remixes) EP. It was a good reminder to keep saying, “Yes,” even when the odds don’t look great.
Interview edited for length and clarity by Milo Keranen.
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