We are honored and proud to announce our interview with D.I.T.C. (“Diggin In The Crates”) founder, Lord Finesse. He has dropped gems, such as Funky Technician, Return of The Funky Man, and my personal favorite, The Awakening. The Awakening featured KRS-One, Sadat X, MC Lyte, Large Pro, and other legendary artists. It’s an audible blessing for boom bap lovers.
Lord Finesse is one of the most innovative hip hop emcees and producers in the game. He is known for many contributions to some of your favorite projects. He produced “Suicidal Thoughts” on Notorious B.I.G‘s (RIP) hip hop classic Ready to Die. And he also produced a majority of the late great Big L’s (RIP) album Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous.
Lord Finesse continues to tour and astound the hip hop masses across the globe. He took time out of his busy schedule to grant us this exclusive interview. Find out his recipe for success and maintaining longevity in this ever-changing music business. So please join us, as we pay homage to a hip hop icon and his enterprising legacy.
How old were you when you started rapping? Who were your musical inspirations?
I looked at rap as a hobby when I started around age 13. Some of my influences were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, The Cold Crush, Run DMC, Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh to name a few. I picked up some of the way I rhyme from KRS-One. His style was surreal, so raw, direct, and uncut.
In 1989, the legendary rap battle between you and Percee P went down on the streets of NYC. How did it all start?
Hip hop was competitive back then. You had to prove yourself lyrically. People were saying Percee P was the man lyrically and that brought on the battle. If you have a reputation, you’re gonna be competitive. You want to defeat that person who is an obstacle in the way of you being undisputed. Nowadays, rappers take it too far. They want to be the toughest dude, and it goes far beyond. It’s just unnecessary shyt.
Watch Lord Finesse vs Percee P (1989)
Which do you love most — producing or rapping?
I love producing the most because I can be 100 years old and still produce great music. There’s no limitations to production. I can sit and make music all day. Your family can live off of that music you produced on various platforms, even after you’re dead and gone.
What’s your favorite project to date?
I gotta say The Awakening is my favorite. I put so much work and passion into that album. From start to finish, the concept of the bars. Everything was thought out strategically. The execution of it was great from the music to the video treatments. I saw the results from the work I put into it. The production, the interludes, working with KRS-One, Grand Puba, Sadat X and Large Pro. This was the standout project for me.
What was it like touring with Large Pro in Australia?
I’ve always admired Large Pro. It was an honor to be a part of that. Large Pro is like a mentor to me. In the humblest fashion, I appreciate my fan base. You have to think globally and understand the demographic that make up your supporters.
What was the experience like traveling abroad?
This year has been non-stop travel. In April, I did 15 shows in 17 days throughout 8 countries. After that I traveled to Russia to UK and recently Indonesia.
How much has the business dynamic changed in hip hop since you were coming up?
The industry is saturated with so many artists. Artists flock to these music streaming services and act like they are getting a deal. They are really taking a loss. Streaming is bullshit. It’s not real numbers. The streaming devalues your music. Most artists aren’t educated on being business savvy. Most are following trends. The industry is over saturated to the point where real talent doesn’t count.
D.I.T.C. creates a platform for new artists and producers. Have any new artists come through that caught your ear as a potential new D.I.T.C. member?
We’re still working on finding new artist. We do have David Bars so far.
Watch Showbiz – “Do What I Want 2” featuring David Bars
Are there any current popular hip hop artists that you like right now and why?
Not to be cliché, but I listen to Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. I also listen to Jay Electronica and Roc Marciano.
What do you think of the evolution of hip hop?
I think of when people traveled to get a physical copy of an album. There was a feeling you got when new music came out and you went to the record store to get it. The technology and easy access has made the artist too content. We need to educate the youth. They need to know hip hop is about uniqueness. They have to be competitive and creative. Know the origins of your craft in order to really evolve the culture.
What advice would you give aspiring artists?
If I was to come up to you and ask, “What can I purchase from you that I couldn’t get from any other artist”, what would that be??? If you can’t answer that then you’re only as good as what you can trace or copy. You have to be able to create your own blueprint or formula to have originality or staying power. Putting music out is like the roll of the dice sometimes. You have to ask yourself, what’s going to be your formula when creating music.
For example, a car crash draws an audience for the moment. And then the cops clear the scene and all is forgotten. They move on. The same happens when you make the same music that’s being over saturated. It never holds the audience’s attention for the long run. Make music with substance to reach people going through real life situations.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I’m working on a few things. I’m not going to discuss right now. Stay on the lookout for upcoming shows. I’m going to be at “Friends and Lovers” in Brooklyn, August 31st. I’m doing a James Brown tribute with Easy Moe Bee.
How does D.I.T.C. maintain its longevity?
We’re grown men learning different things. We all have battles. These are deep friendships; deeper than music. Even without music we’re friends. Everybody is their own individual, but when we come together it’s great.
Any closing remarks or message for the fans?
Know your truth. Stay true to yourself and true to the music.
We would like to thank Lord Finesse for sharing his wisdom and viewpoints on hip hop. He is a true pioneer and visionary whose contributions to the culture are greatly appreciated. The longevity of his career is a testimony on how to preserve our culture by staying creative and innovative. It’s been a remarkable experience documenting the thriving D.I.T.C. legacy, and an honor interviewing the Funky Technician.