‘LL: Speaking of Slaughterhouse, you seem to be very different from everyone else – you have a street element to you, they don’t. The brand of Slaughterhouse is very dark and whereas you can be funny and joke around a lot in your music. Do you ever think the Slaughterhouse brand and your personal brand conflict with each other?
No, I don’t think so. The beauty of Slaughterhouse is that it works because of everything we all bring to it. I think when Slaughterhouse fans expect to hear these things that you just mentioned when it’s Joell’s turn. Like maybe a funny reference, a street reference because I come directly from the street, a Puerto Rican line that might have them wondering – that’s what I bring to it when it’s my turn. I don’t think it conflicts I just add my element. You know I listen to these guys when we are all recording and they all amaze me on their approach. They are some of the best rappers hands down that Hip Hop has ever seen in my opinion. So, I learn a lot from them flow wise, cadence wise. I’m sure my humor has influenced a couple of their rhymes. Maybe my raw, street approach has also come off in one or two of their things so it’s like we feed off each other.

‘LL: So, you don’t think being a part of Slaughterhouse alienates any of your core fans?
No, no, no. Cause my core fans are like hard core. They are happy to hear me. They’ll skip the whole song and just listen to me, not to be like that but it is what it is. I love them, they’ve been here since day one and they are very honest. I don’t have any yes-man fans. They’ll be like, “Yo, that was weak.” You know I read comments and they’re like, “Please man just give us another solo album, I been rocking with you with Slaughter and all that but we really just want to hear you have a solo project” and I am happy to give them that. It’s been a long time.

‘LL: Wow you really listen and pay attention to what the fans say then…
Oh yeah, the fans own me. Fans if you’re listening, you did a good job. Thanks! [laughs]

‘LL: Being a Latino Hip Hop artist do you face more challenges getting a Latino fan base with Reggaeton out now? Do you feel like you have to compete with that genre?
No, not at all. You have to stay in your lane and do what you do and do it to the best of your ability. That’s the advice.

My career was an uphill battle because I was Puerto Rican. From early on I was getting calls from only Latin rap venues. Or I was reading comments like, “Oh he’s nice for a Puerto Rican. Like really? When did Hip Hop take on a color? I thought it was all about sound.”

So, it was a little discouraging in the beginning but it was that same invisible wall that they had up that made me sharpen myself. I’ve noticed that all you gotta do is make records that are honest and people that can relate to the truth will support it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have true supporters really get behind this record. For instance, B.o.B. hopped on it like nothing. As soon as I sent it over to him he was like, “Yo this is crazy, I’m on it.” It all happened naturally. It’s been a long time coming since I had one of those records that had the potential to go, but it felt good.

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About The Author

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Navani Otero is a New York City based multi-media journalist. Her work has been published in The New York Post, Latina, XXL Magazine, In Touch Weekly, msnNOW and MTV News. The self-professed music junkie splits her free time helping out on The Heavy Hitters Radio Show on SiriusXM and mentoring aspiring teen writers. You can read her observations on life at www.navaniknows.com.

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