Meet Luke Bar$, Dreamville Sessions Alumni and Talented Lyricist.
I had the opportunity to ask the talented rapper some questions about his involvement in J. Cole’s Revenge of the Dreamers III project as well as the young rappers new EP, 2 Sides.
Hailing from a small city located outside the larger metropolitan area of Boston, Luke Bar$ calls Brockton Massachusetts home. Recently, however, he had the amazing opportunity to travel down to Atlanta for what seems to be a dream come true. He had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing talent for the huge project named Revenge of the Dreamers III from J. Cole’s record label Dreamville.
If you aren’t aware of what this is, the Revenge of the Dreamers albums are basically collaboration albums mostly consisting of artists from the Dreamville record label. However, the latest installment in this series was dealt with in a different way and for reasons that many don’t know, the label decided to make this a much larger project. Bringing in over 100 different artists this project was sure to be one to go down in history.
Shortly after the sessions had ended Luke Bar$ had hit the studio with fellow Brockton artist Jiles to create this wonderful EP called 2 Sides. The EP itself displays the energy that is being felt by these artists as they are pushing forward into their respective careers. The project is filled with amazing verses from both artists as they bounce back and forth between their heavier tracks and their more introspective and slower moods. As Luke states in the interview below - “I really wanted to touch on the duality of life, especially mine. There’s good and there’s bad, and that’s just how life is. There’s 2 sides to everything.” - it is apparent that there are two main energies coming to the forefront. Citing Joey Badass as a major inspiration for his art it is clear that Luke Bar$ exhibits some of the same intricacsies as the major artist while still exceeding at shining in his own right. This EP is a quality project that serves as a solid footprint for hip-hop in the Boston area and for these two artists.
As expected, not a lot can be shared about the Dreamville sessions in its details but as a whole, it definitely seems to be a major opportunity for all artists to experience the methods and talents of others in an extremely healthy environment where the focus is to create. Luke spoke a bit on the sessions in the interview below as well as touching on subjects about the EP, his career, and life in general. Looking forward to seeing what comes down the pipe from him in the future.
I’m going to start off with saying that I’m really impressed by your lyrical ability throughout all of your music. You have a way with words and the ability to bring your energy level to match that of the beat. I feel like it takes an artist that has experience to be able to do this properly. That being said, I’m curious to how long you have been invested in your music career?
I’m fairly new to this. I’ve also enjoyed writing and stuff as a kid but I never really dived too deep into it. I started to write songs and raps at 16, and started recording and releasing it at 17. I’m only 20 now.
In a world where hip-hop is the most popular genre at the moment, what do you focus on to help you separate yourself from other MCs?
I don’t focus too much on being different,I just focus on being myself. Everyone has a different story, and some can relate to that. I just try to tell my truths through the art, but sometimes it’s not as blissful as it seems.
What would you like to see from the hip-hop community in the Boston and surrounding area in terms of supporting artists, improving show opportunities, and creating a stronger community in general?
I don’t know. I would love to see a community built here. I would love to see a culture built out here. Just like how there’s culture in ATL, Houston, LA, NY, etc. Culture infrastructure makes room for the next generation.
Our generation is very blessed to have had a solid footprint left by the legends of hip-hop over the last 30 years that leads to a large variety of styles and personalities. Growing up, who would you say were your biggest inspirations into pursuing a career in hip-hop?
There’s so many out there. Of course all the legends Biggie, Jay, Outkast etc… But the artists that really made me want to pick up a pen and tell my story are Meek Mills and Joey Badass.
What were you doing the moment you received the invitation? What was your initial reaction?
I was with my homies Ricky and Drew we was just making beats and sending out emails. Once we got the ok we bought our plane tickets right away.
You have to tell us the vibe. There had to be a lot of motivation running through those sessions with that many creatives in one location. What was everyone’s mood?
There was a lot of energy in that building. A lot of greats. A lot of creatives. Everyone was so inspired and feeding off of one another's energy. Everyone was impressed by each other. It was a lot. Thankful to be apart of it.
Coming back to Boston did you find that you had a sudden urge to just dive headfirst into creating? What is your energy at right now?
I went straight to the studio after landing and put the final touches to “2 Sides”. It was only right. Right now i’m just so inspired and thank God I have homies that’ll keep this battery in my back. Literally haven’t stopped working since I’ve been back. I feel good.
Given what you experienced at the Dreamville sessions, did you happen to learn anything that you now apply to your own work?
It was cool to see other artist creative process. Some need a lot of energy in the room and others want to keep it real small and tight. Some of the routines that I seen others do I already do it on my own, so it was cool to see that.
Regarding the media coverage of the project have you found that you have received quite a bit more attention than you expected?
Yeah a lot more. I didn’t have any expectations going to the sessions. So when everything unfolded I was like “wow”.
With a selection of artists so large there had to be some diamonds among the people that you met that are less known but deserve all the praise. Out of all of the people that you built a relationship out there with, name a few artists that people are sleeping on.
Ari Lennox is so talented. I can’t wait for whatever coming next for her. Like I really wish the best for her.
What’s coming down the pipe from you in 2019?
A lot more music!!! Just gotta keep putting the work in, I know the universe is going to return the favor.
Who would you most like to work with this year?
Ari Lennox haha. But I don’t know, wanna work with anyone that’s dope. I really just care about making dope shit.
What would you say is the main theme that you were trying to accomplish with the EP you released with Jiles?
I really wanted to touch on the duality of life, especially mine. There’s good and there’s bad, and that’s just how life is. There’s 2 sides to everything. Nothing is just one way. I really wanted the listener to experience what I was going through at the time. From the intro ‘No Fear’ to the outro ‘Sometimes’ it was a journey. Went from high to low. Wanted to make the listener be like “how did I get here?”. I feel like I was able to do that haha.
How did the project come together? Was the intent from the start to release a project together or was there more of a chill approach surrounding the collaboration?
It was such a natural process. We never had intentions of making an EP together, and I never had intentions of releasing these songs. I write songs, verses, etc just to keep my pen sharp. Sometimes I don’t have intentions of making a song. At the time I wasn’t able write 2nd verses, I felt that I was able to get my point across off that one verse. I don’t like the idea of stretching stuff out. Jiles would always be in the stu with me and I would just be like “hop on this”. I love making music with him because our subject matters are so different, it always balances out. We just kept making songs together and after the 5th track we was like let’s make a project.
One final question. When things get tough or life gets crazy what keeps you from throwing in the towel? What happens in your day-to-day that gives you that little bit of motivation to get back in and keep on working?
I don’t ever think about giving up. Like that thought doesn’t ever come across my head. Music is my therapy. I can legit be going through something serious, but that pen really gets me through it. I’m thankful to be in this field because there’s people out there that aren’t able to express themselves, that aren’t able to let go of those demons, that aren’t able to talk about it. If I didn’t have music I would be one of them. I hope my music touches those people. Progression is my biggest motivation. Being a better artist than I was yesterday keeps me going. I want to see how far I can take this music. But it’s bigger than being a better artist. It helps me become a better man. I learned so much about myself from music, about my friends, about life. This music shit is really a trip haha. I can talk bout this all day.