From the District - (11/11/09)
Hip-hop MC and Long Beach native LMNO is a slave to the studio, with a bounty of recordings scattered across laptops and iPods just waiting to be unleashed. In the 20 years since he appeared in the video for D.O.C’s “Formula” as a pivotal member of the new hoods on the block, LMNO (aka James Kelly) has stalked the stage, making a name for himself among the West Coast underground, most notably as a member of the Visionaries. His new release, Devilish Dandruff with Holy Shampoo, was recorded entirely online, with French producer Yann Kesz laying the sonic foundation 5,500 miles from where LMNO would drop his lyrics.
The District Weekly: Do you find there is a particular style associated with Long Beach hip-hop?
LMNO: No I don’t. [. . .] As diverse as Long Beach is, it can’t strictly produce “a particular style,” which helps make the city what it is—the International City.
What did you take away from your affiliation with NWA?
Running with DJ Speed was a crazy experience for me as a kid in junior high. At that point in time I wasn’t thinking about anything but getting to high school to graduate and then begin this journey that I’m on now. Business-wise I saw success, and with that success comes a sacrifice that most aren’t willing to pay. Music-wise I saw the power of words, which help manifest my destiny.
Where is hip-hop heading in the ’10s?
I can’t predict where hip-hop is heading, but I know if the world hasn’t crumbled and the order/chaos as we know it is still in effect, then it’s safe to say that hip-hop will continue to grow and be that voice for the less heard.
Are there upsides to producing via e-mail?
One of the upsides of Internet producing is traveling costs are reduced.
And the downsides?
One of the downsides is the lack of human interaction. I, as of early November, still haven’t met or talked with Yann Kesz, and we have been working on Devilish Dandruff for a few years now.
What’s the origin of the album title?
I was getting some ink done by my friend Edgar, and he was telling me about his most recent trip to Mexico and how he heard the border patrol calling cocaine “the devil’s dandruff.” The day before, I recorded a song titled “Cocaine,” so the play on words began. And here we are.
What can we expect from the upcoming release show?
The show has Declaime, who has a new LP out titled Holy Smokes produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow; Kev Brown will be in from Landover, Maryland (he also has a new LP out titled Random Joints); and J.Rocc and Babu bring that Beat Junkie Sound every time! DJ Orator will bless the turntables, as well. The party is hosted by the legendary Mike Nardone. I think it’s safe to say: expect a good time!
What’s next for LMNO?
Touring to promote the record, branding myself and building awareness! Adding more order to my chaotic unreleased catalogue. Also check for Economic Food Chain Music Group (efcmg.com), which is a production company I started with Bixby Knolls native Jon T.
Describe your perfect day in Long Beach.
The Funk Fest was a near-perfect day, but that doesn’t count. Okay, let’s see. Waking up early at the Queen Mary Hotel with my family, then getting a plate of breakfast at the Potholder, then going off to record at the Greenshack studio with EFCMG, then getting some good food at Zephyr. After, I return to the shack and keep tracking ’til it’s time to go to the Rhythm Lounge and rock a live set.
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