2018 marks the return of our interview series The Whole 9. To mark the return, we take it to Planet Brooklyn, and chop it up with aspiring emcee LR Blitzkrieg. He’s known as a member of indie Hip Hop crew The Plague, alongside Pack FM, ToneDeff, Poison Pen, and Substantial. His most recent release, a single titled Proxy serves as a tribute and prayer for Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castille, all slain by police. Check out our interview with him below. For more on him, check out his website.
the9elements: How did you get your stage name?
LR Blitzkrieg: That’s a pretty long story, but I’ll try and shorten it. First off, my real name is Rodney. When I first started rapping at around 9 or 10 I was rapping kinda fast and decided to give myself the corniest name ever; Lightning Rod. Well that didn’t last too long so I decided to just go by L.R. From there it became Chaos L.R. and afterwards it became what it is today. You already know where the L.R. comes from, and Blitzkrieg’s literal translation is “lightning war”. I felt like with that I could get the lightning back in my name without actually saying it.
T9E: What made you decide to become a rapper?
LR: My family has always been in music. My great uncle is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as member of Little Anthony and The Imperials. My uncle Pepe was integral to the start of Prince’s career as his first manager and his first recordings having him play in his group 94 East. However, what really made me become an emcee, was my older brother Keith “WildChild”, Middleton and GMS, our childhood friend.
They’re both a little older and had started rapping before me. I was just trying to be like them and be good enough to roll with them. Somehow we wound up being approached by some important people in the industry that wanted to manage us all but also suggested we form a group and we’ve been together as HYDRA ever since. The three of us own and operate the brand MCMI Inc. that consists of a website, independent label, apparel, studios, and more.
T9E: What’s the first rap song you ever heard? Describe the moment.
LR: I have no idea (laughs). I mean, I heard so many from older cousins and my older brother so I don’t really know what the first was. I do remember the first Hip Hop video I saw though. When I was a kid we didn’t have cable and one day I came home from school bored and started messing with the TV. I went past the last channel I knew which was 13 and i think on channel 25 was this classic NY show Video Music Box. The reception was fuzzy but it was playing EPMD’S You Gots To Chill That visual along with the amazing song definitely solidified my wanting to be an emcee. The very next video to come on was Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s Parents Just Don’t Understand. It drew a mental line in my head between that real shit and that commercial watered down stuff in my head even at such a young age.
T9E: How did Proxy come together? What was the inspiration and creation process?
LR: One of my best friends from childhood, PH aka Pumpkinhead (R.I.P.) was helping me get beats for my solo album I was working on. He put me in contact with Atlanta MC/producer NessLee. While working with Ness he sent me the track for Proxy and I liked it but wasn’t sure what direction to go with the song.
I sent it to PH and asked him to help me with a hook. A few hours later he hit me back with what would become part of the full hook, “now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the lord my soul to keep / and if I don’t die before i wake / when I wake up we gon spend all this cake/.” It was dope, but needed more. I sat on the beat for a long time working on other songs, but when PH passed away unexpectedly it drew me back to the song.
His hook spoke to me in a way it hadn’t before and made me realize that life is uncertain and I need to live it to the fullest while I’m still here. I also wanted to live it for those that couldn’t… not only friends and family of mine whose lives had been cut short, but also all the people I was seeing in the news like Eric Garner, Philando Castille, Sandra Bland, and others who were being killed for no good reason.
T9E: What are your predictions for 2018?
LR: The Bitcoin bubble burst. Marvel’s Black Panther having the highest grossing opening weekend of any comic book movie ever. More men of power and influence being brought down by the women they used their power and influence on. Um…Trump out of office somehow.
OH! you meant for me? I have no predictions for myself, only certainties. I’ll continue to create and put out great music and gear up for the release of my album Outta Nowhere.