It all started in the South Bronx of New York. Out of the 1970s, a new sound of funk was developed with a faster beat and speech. Hip Hop and rap !
Although it still remains the same that the legends of hip hop will never die, there are many new faces in the game that pose a lethal threat.
One particular face, Legindary LeeMan, a native from Southfield, Michigan explains just how the influence of old skool hip hop, funk, and soul has had on his career in the music industry. Legindary LeeMan describes himself not only as an entertainer, but also as a scholar, philosopher, writer, pioneer and genius.
As an artist he makes it very clear that he is not a clone to society’s perceptions on ‘new age’ music.
“Clones are people who try to act or be like other people. They are nobodies. We all get inspired by people, but a clone believes in trends. What the hell is a trend?”, Leeman says.
“Clones have no mind of their own. With clones you just gotta kill them with being just who you are– yourself. If you respect it, you respect. If not, then you don’t.”
Legindary LeeMan creates his own paths in life with grace and humility, acknowledging God as his Higher Power. Having a raw style in fashion and taste in music, with his hair worn in a classic style fro, Leeman takes you back to the 80s funk, spiced up with spitting knowledge through his rap lyrics.
Legindary LeeMan shares,
“I respect my reflection in the mirror. I live in the moment of learning as much as possible”
So how did Legindary Leeman get his name?
High school friends gave him the name LeeMan in reference to his last name and the Legindary piece stemmed from him always being a well known leader among his peers.
In his words “You become a Legind when you are not afraid to live. I don’t spell legindary the regular way. I spell it with an I because I am an innovator. I’m not afraid to evolve.”
Currently, the artist who is a graduate from Georgia State University and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is endlessly working on his music.
“Atlanta saved my life. I never planned on being here. I went to Florida A & M for one year, but that didn’t work out. I got accepted to Georgia State and graduated with a public speaking degree. Yes I have a degree ! College was a great connection and I’ve always been an honor roll student . Atlanta has opened up my eyes with a lot of diversity and you never know what is going to happen. If you can go to college, experience it. Just know when you graduate you can’t get caught up with everything you are fed, but understand the more knowledge the better.” LeeMan says. ” I learned a lot about me and how to survive in a different way.”
He wants the youth to understand that the choice of going to college is theirs and no one else.
“You may be asking a lot of people about your education. And may be you’re confused but the choice is yours. Make the choice for you. The financial point is a beast, but if you have the choice to go and want to go for it. It teaches you a lot about yourself.”
With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in making same sex marriages legal and gay rights being a trending topic over the past few weeks, certain views on homosexuality were discussed. Due to the high number of homosexuals that live in Atlanta, LeeMan acknowledges the fact that there are many men on the downlow in Atlanta and wants people to know:
“If you’re gay be gay. Don’t hide that. ”
He also states how being gay seems to be the “new trend” that LeeMan defines as clones.
“I’m scared for the new generation because I think they may think gay is just something to be. Like it’s a trend. I have no problem with gay people though because those that are, are out with it. ”
Leeman wants people to understand that he does not oppose anyone’s choice in being gay and that his music is for all people. A song called ‘Stay Black’ interprets just what the artist is trying to convey on being your own person, while informing his listeners that people of color seem to be the most mocked race in America and around the world.
Despite the name of the song, ‘Stay Black’ gives power to people wanting to be nothing but their authentic selves in a world that is so stuck on facades and image. The definition of living life to the fullest in Legindary LeeMan’s mind is ‘staying true to thy own self’.
“Black people are the most mimicked race out there. Other races shouldn’t fear blacks and should instead just respect blacks”, says LeeMan. “Stay black is not to discriminate any race. It’s just explaining how everything is derived from the black race. We all come from the same place. It’s not in offense to any other race. Stay black is just staying true to who you are as a goddess or god. God lives within you.”
Legindary LeeMan illustrates his art using samples of his musical influences from the 70s to the early 90s. There’s no question on whether or not music has evolved. And although rap and hip hop are used interchangeably at times, the two genres have appeal to various ethnic groups , populating around the world in many countries.
What we now know as hip hop and rap groomed out of a time during the fall of the auto industry, collapse of the steel mills and exhaustion and lack of resources of social services and public housing for blacks and hispanics in the 70s. It was a way for the people of impoverished communities to unite. Artists communicated on the issues of living in the inner-city, while turning their rage into joy and embarking on turning their art into capital.
LeeMan says, “Music told stories and painted pictures. Music now is so different these days. I came up listening to Snoop, Dj Quick, Twista, E-40 Sugar Free, UGK, J Dilla, Mos Def, Wu Tang, and Jay Z. I’m influenced by a lot of music and have been listening to Al Green and George Clinton and The Parliament to receive more inspiration for my music. One of the first rap artist that my mom introduced me to was Geto Boyz. She inspired me with countless forms of music from Rick James to many other forms of classical soul and funk music. My dad is also a big Blues man.”
Some of Leeman’s other musical influences include:
Sade, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, Outkast, Prince, Aaliyah Nona G, Lolita Deville, Erykah Badu, Tony, Toni, Tone, Queen Latifah, Kanye West, The Roots, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Devin The Dude, Gucci Mane, Eminem, Streetlordz, EightBall & MJG, and NWA.
Legindary Leeman also expresses what new skool is missing compared to the old skool.
“It’s missing the funk! There’s no funk! It’s the groove behind the music and having your own flavor. Music is now oversaturated.”
Don’t get it twisted though, Leeman still has an ear for some new cats in the game ” The artists I listen to now are Dom Kennedy, Nipsey, Dej Loaf,Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, ASAP Rocky, Future Young Dolph, Cla$$ique, MasterPeace, and new upcoming artists on the Internet.”
LeeMan writes his music from the heart, allowing the audience to share in his journey of life experiences. From life in the suburbs surrounding Detroit to moving to Atlanta, took flight on a spiritual journey. He talks on developing a conscious awareness and also getting his heart broke in his music.
“Being hurt in different situations and happy in other situations has given me a balance of knowing pain, but also experiencing a happy and good life. Life is a journey. It’s about knowing that things just come naturally. To get the happiness you want, you gotta travel back to that kid inside of you and tap back into that happiness you once had. It’s all in staying true. When I write it’s more than me talking. It’s the universe. It’s a power within me.”
A song called ‘Burn Out’ featuring vocalist Tayla D, touches on the sensitive side of being in love with a woman but not being equally yoked.
“The song was a real story that happened in my life. It is indeed a beautiful masterpiece. If you’re life is just all smooth then you have no story. It’s a lot of females with weak souls. Women have to realize that just being beautiful isn’t everything. You gotta be cold with a strong soul. If you’re not evolving then you’re dying. And that’s smoother than a left titty.”
So ladies if you aren’t coming with a beautiful mind and soul, LeeMan ain’t lookin for you.
“That used to be my thing, thinking with my d*** all the time. If you think with your d*** all the time you will get f**** . It happens sometimes though players f*** up. It’s business before buns. Some n****** get controlled by the beast. I really had to learn that you have to take care of the business first. If a woman really wants to build with you she will. If you get the buns then you get the buns but put the bands before the buns. It’s like the movie ‘Boomerang’.”
LeeMan’s mission is to inspire others to be innovative, confident, and to reach their full potential in life. When a person decides to build on their own character and brand themselves as who they are, not focusing on society’s ideologies, a person becomes more authentic. He urges people to follow their passions and do things that ‘small minded’ people say is impossible.
“People try to block or knock your passions. Now I understand how to maneuver when someone is trying to knock me down. Once you learn how to deal with negative energy, you realize that everything is in life is still good,” LeeMan says.
“With some passion and creativity you can do whatever you want to do. These days most individuals want to be something that they see in society and not themselves. However once we find our inner personal Legind that’s when life begins—S/o to Southfield, the Zoo [Kalamazoo], and the Zeta Theta Ques and Upsilon Gamma Ques.”
A song that had a classic ‘drop top ridin’ summer zeal was Cash and Carry.
“Cash and Carry was in reference to me paying homage growing up as a kid. Cash and carry is about not owing anybody anything. In life you shouldn’t be in debt to everybody. That’s death,” says the rapper. “I’ve dodged death so many times. Sometimes you just be so dumb. Then you say to yourself, did you just flirt with death. Major shout out to the Original Cash Out Boyz of my city.”
As we discussed some of the senseless killings and kidnappings that have been happening in Detroit, Legindary LeeMan dropped some knowledge and said “My message to Detroit is to expand your mindset. Don’t kill a nigga over some petty s***. I saw on the news recently that 27 people got killed over the course of just one weekend. For everyone that got killed that’s 27 momma’s crying.”
Dropping music and knowledge isn’t the only thing Legindary is doing these days! The artist has his hands on acting as well and still pursuing his first love basketball. LeeMan played for the Georgia Gwizzlies in the ABA and is currently a free agent if any teams or coaches are looking for a good shooting or point guard.
As for his acting career he has been in a few extras and gaining many connections in the field.
LeeMan says,”I want to see more of me evolving and building my brand. Not only me, but people that I’m around and my community. It’s all a collective art and business. One stop shop, sharing my love., It’s all passion and I’m focused on my art and the people around me. If you aren’t building anything, what’s the point.”
Legindary LeeMan also has a surprise for all the listeners waiting for an EP to drop! Just wait on it baby!
Check out Legindary LeeMan’s music on
FB: Legindary LeeMan
Creators Vs Clones