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Rack Lo - conducted by DJ Ghost  


Rack Lo

January 2002

Rack Lo is a talented independent emcee from Brooklyn. Rolling on Skillionaire Entertainment with Thirstin Howl III and Unique London, Rack took the time to talk to DJ Ghost about various things. Interview conducted on January 24th.


MVRemix: Basically I've got my assumptions of how your name came about, but tell me how the name Rack Lo got started.

Rack Lo: Rack Lo comes from the Golden Era of Hip Hop. My way of life...I'm a Lo Life, so the way I used to live, the way I used to survive, and the way I used to get my daily income, is what created it. You know, shoplifting, strong-arm shopping, and stuff like that. It also comes from the graffiti era as well. I used to dip and dab in graffiti but not too much. I wasn't real deep into it, but I used to do tags and throwups. So Rack Lo came from graffiti and strong-arm shopping kid.

MVRemix: When were you first introduced to Hip Hop?

Rack Lo: Like the music in general?

MVRemix: Nah, the culture.

Rack Lo: Since I was little. I basically grew up into it. I had an uncle, his name was Dr. Tango. In like '85/'86, he was one of the nicest DJ's in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He used to throw all the block parties, and all the social gatherings for the neighborhood. You know, he used to just rock the place. He had a crew, and it was four or five of them, and they used to just take their sets and go from each area wrecking it. Besides that, my father played a big part in me understanding and knowing what it was about. As a kid, I was hearing groups like Sugar Hill, Treacherous 3, The Fat Boys, and Run DMC, and it was something that I felt like I wanted to be a part of. For some reason, even during the days of Krush Groove, I always felt like I wanted to take my family's name and be in the spotlight. You know, rocking the mic kid.

MVRemix: When was it that you just said, "Damn, I'm gonna be an MC and this is gonna be my life"?

Rack Lo: I would have to say '93. Before I got with the Spit Squodd, you !know, Thirstin Howl, Master Fuol, and them, I was with another group called Murder Ink. Murder I-N-K. Murder with the brain and the pen. Not murder with a gun, but murder with intellect. So we got a production deal with DJ Twinz. You know, Redman's DJ. Unfortunately things didn't work out, so when I saw people weren't really serious about my career like I was, I decided to go straight independent kid, and it's been a blessing. Since I made that decision to go straight independent, it's been going well man.

MVRemix: So who were your influences growing up...and I guess it could be anyone, but I'm looking more for your musical influences.

Rack Lo: People that I looked at as people that were really holding it down were people like KRS One, and Public Enemy. People that stood for something. People that wanted to elevate the culture. It wasn't just about coming in for a minute and jumping out to get paid. People that are still around today, like Russell Simmons from a business standpoint definitely had an influence on me. Seeing how him and Rick Ruben took that whole Def Jam empire and just flipped it, and it's still operating today.

MVRemix: No doubt. So how did you and Thirstin hook up?

Rack Lo: Even before the music and before we started rhyming, you know, spitting lyrics and all that, Thirstin and I were a part of the Lo Lifes. We grew up in the same project area, which is Marcus Garvey Village in Brownsville, Brooklyn. So that's how me and Thirstin became acquainted before the music and all that. Just through the Lo Life movement, rocking Polo everyday, and having similar values. At that time though, Thirstin was much older than me. I was one of the youngest ones that was down with the Lo Life movement. He was like four or five years older than me, so in that period we didn't really hang too much, but when the music came around, that was when we clicked.

MVRemix: Alright, so a lot of us read the 3 Source special on the Lo Lifes, but for the ones who aren't hip to your crew and the whole story behind growing up as a Lo Life and what you guys did, break it down for the ignorant ones.

Rack Lo: Basically we just took the fashion element and elevated it. It's like we created our own style of dressing. We wanted to be unique and exclusive. We wanted to be in a class by ourselves. So we took the Polo thing and coordinated the clothing to make it Lo Life apparel. It was a lifestyle man. We took the fashion, and took a love to it, and it had a ripple effect all over the world. The Lo Life shit is global now. There's Lo Lifes in Cali, Japan, Sweden, Philly, New York, Connecticut, Delaware...you name it, they're out there. They really expanded. People really felt what we did and they still appreciate how we flipped it.

MVRemix: So would you say that you guys had a big deal to do with Polo being Mainstream in Hip Hop culture period? You know, outside of the Lo Lifes.

Rack Lo: Most definitely. I would even say we had an impact on the way a lot of these people started coming along using the word Lo behind their name. If you notice early on, you had D-Lo, and now they got J-Lo. All these 'Lo's man. All that stems from the Lo Life era. A lot of the rappers that were out, early 90's late 80's, a lot of them saw what we were doing. We were real vigilant in the community and around the whole city. They heard about it, they read about it, they knew people who knew us, and believe it or not a lot of those rappers were talking about the lifestyle we were living. That's how that works man. A lot of people tried to make a spin-off of using Lo behind their names to show association, but it was all fraud man.

MVRemix: Break down if you can the Spit Factory and Skillionaire Enterprises. How did they get started and who was responsible?

Rack Lo: As in terms of Skillionaire, that's Thirstin's baby. That's his company that he developed, and that's basically our foundation. That's where everything started from. In terms of Spit Squodd now, everything come from Skillionaire Enterprises and...you know about Skillagin's Island?

MVRemix: I know about Skillionaire but I'm not familiar with Skillagin's Island.

Rack Lo: Alright, Skillagin's Island is our studio. That's where all of our recording takes place, all the spittin', and all the live freestyle sessions. The non stop freestyle madness kid. (laughs) It all took place on Skillagin's Island. Now on Skillionaire Enterprises, that's Thirstin's company. That's the record label for Lo Lifes and Spit Squodd members. Myself, Thirstin, Master Fuol, and others. Now Spit Factory, that's a company I started. I basically wanted to make us have a worldwide presence on the web. So I basically developed a website and just took it to the internet worldwide. We sell a lot CD's up there and all our merchandising. We promote our gigs and any of our releases coming up. Just so the people can stay abroad as far as what the Lo Lifes are doing. I must say that it's been doing pretty good man. We get a lot of good responses from people who check for us. People know where to come now, because prior to the site they didn't know where to find exclusive Rack Lo, Lo Life, or Thirstin material. Spit Factory is the spot they can come exclusively now, to get all of our releases.

MVRemix: Word. So your last album, which was called "Rack Lauren", featuring "Rich Man/Poor Man" and "Bad Habits/Bad Luck" among other tracks, has been out for awhile, and I know you have a new one coming out called Aracknofoebia. So tell me a little about that and what to expect from it.

Rack Lo: Aracknaphobia is gonna be the ultimate Rack Lo album. To me, it's my best material to date. I feel like me and my Lo Wife, a.k.a. 1st Ladee, elevated the game in terms of lyrics, style, beats, and wordplay. So it's definitely a package that people that follow Rack Lo and what he's doing, really gonna appreciate. It's definitely gonna break barriers. It's a ground breaking album man. A lot of the production is being done by Thirstin Howl III. He did like 90% of the production on the album. So right now it's like straight Spit Squodd. We got the production in-house now. We do the lyrics and everything, so right now we just have that whole package. We've got the whole package tightened and we're gonna give it to the world in June. They can check for new tracks from Thirstin, and it's gonna be a well rounded album.

MVRemix: So you and the label have a lot of things on deck from what I can see, so what should we look for?

Rack Lo: Alright, in March you can check for Master Fool's album. It's called "Brownsville Kid E.R.A.M.". I also have a single coming out that's gonna be a three song maxi single. The songs on that are "Living In The City", which is a Lo Wife solo joint. I've got "Mirackulus" and "Disorderly Konduct" also produced by Thirstin again. We've also got a Big Boo single coming out. You know from the Lo Lifes. He's got a single coming out. That's gonna be available in March or April. You know the Aracknaphobia album's coming. Then we got Thirstin Howl working on his fourth masterpiece. That's gonna drop later on in 2002. We've got a lot of shows coming up. We're going to Sweden tomorrow. We've got Rhode Island, Boston, Cali...we've just got a lot of shows you know, to get the word out there, because a lot of people want to see us live.

MVRemix: Now Thirstin is doing a lot of the production now but Will Tell was the one who I used to see on all the old 12"s. Is he still doing his thing now?

Rack Lo: Yeah, Will Tell is definitely active. Well the producers that I work with are Mr. Noise...he's down with the Spit Factory. We have Will Tell and Thirstin Howl III. Those are the three main producers that I'm working with. Now on my next album, my fourth album, they can definitely check for Rack Lo production. That's like an area I'm stepping in. It's just about elevating and understanding each component, and really trying to master each area.

MVRemix: Well as far as producers, do you see yourself working with anyone outside of the Spit Factory/Skillionaire crew?

Rack Lo: To be honest with you, I don't really see anything. Or I guess I don't want to see it, because right now I'm just trying to do me. We've put out a lot of albums so far and we've been doing it on our own, and we've been doing ok. So I'm not saying that I would never work with any other producers or artists, but right now I don't see a need to. I feel like we're doing our thing kid.

MVRemix: Well let me ask you this. If there was one beat maker you could get blessed from, doesn't matter who, Underground or mainstream, who would you want it to be?

Rack Lo: Just one?

MVRemix: Yeah

Rack Lo: I'd have to say Premier. The reason why is because when I was growing up I always wanted to do "Just To Get A Rep" Part 2. So Premier definitely.

MVRemix: So what's it like working with PF Cuttin' and how did that relationship get started?

Rack Lo: It's cool man. You know, heads been known PF Cuttin', when he was with the Blahzay Blah and all that. We always knew him but he was doing his thing and we were doing our thing. We were all just able to come together. Actually Thirstin and PF hooked up first before I hooked up with PF. They developed a relationship first and then we all came together. So right now he's the DJ we use for all of our live performances. The chemistry is excellent man. We always rock the shows, you know.

MVRemix: Alright, when you think about Hip Hop, what do you think about the state it's in right now?

Rack Lo: There's like a beginning, a middle, and an end to everything, and right now we're in a good state. The culture is definitely moving on. People are growing and developing businesses. What can I say man. All I can say is that hopefully it can keep going this way. You know, the one thing I can say that's sort of negative is that, I think people should really try to stick to the art form. We've got a lot of people that tend to stray away from the importance of the art form, like where it came from and the pioneers. If it wasn't for the people in the beginning there wouldn't a Rack Lo grabbing mics. I try to understand the whole history of the culture, and who influenced me, and what I'm trying to contribute to the culture. I think it's doing good though. There's negative and positive in everything, but for the most part, I think it's good man. I think we're on the right track.

MVRemix: Word. Now all the battling that's going on in the mainstream right now, is it good for Hip Hop or is it bad?

Rack Lo: Yo, it's good for Hip Hop. It's the essence of Hip Hop man, in terms of the MCing part of it. You always had crews battling. One of the eras I was really into was the KRS One, MC Shan, and Juice Crew thing. Even the LL and Kool Moe Dee. Even Roxanne Shante and UTFO. It was always there so I think it's a good thing. I think the competition is good. I think it inspires others to write better, to come out with better concepts, and how to use their minds and be creative. You know, be innovative. You can't keep coming out with the same stuff. If you're an artist and you put out six albums and they all sound the same, then there's no growth. The battling thing is good as long as it stays on wax.

MVRemix: True. Now assuming you're checking these battles in the mainstream, are you impressed? I'm personally not impressed at all with the Nas and Jay-Z joints.

Rack Lo: Let me say this. I'm impressed with "Ether". I'm impressed with that. You know, they both have skills. They both have been in the industry for a long time, and I think they will continue to be so. They both know how to make good music, and they both know how to make battle records. To me they're both kings. That's the way I see it kid.

MVRemix: Alright, what's your top 5 LP releases of 2001?

Rack Lo: Damn. I would say Ghostface for one. Ghostface is lyrical and he always elevates his game. Dilated Peoples. You know, a lot didn't come out man. Damn kid. (laughs) I would say Lyricist Lounge Underground Airplay. There was a lot of bangers on there. I would just say those three.

MVRemix: Word. Who are you checking for this year?

Rack Lo: I'm just looking forward to seeing the Underground keep doing what we're doing man. There's no real artists that I'm really looking for. Hopefully we just keep this thing going. I'm looking forward to my album, (laughs) Master Fuol's album, and just that Spit Squodd material. I'm looking forward to performing and interacting with the fans more. That's about it.

MVRemix: No doubt. We're gonna have a little fun now. I'm gonna shoot you a word or a phrase and you just give me the first thing that comes to your head, alright. Brooklyn.

Rack Lo: Chaotic

MVRemix: The Golden Age

Rack Lo: Classical

MVRemix: Keeping it real.

Rack Lo: Self.

MVRemix: Jennifer Lopez

Rack Lo: Commercial.

MVRemix: Tommy Hilfiger

Rack Lo: Wack. (laughs)

MVRemix: Hot 97

Rack Lo: Far from Underground kid.

MVRemix: Gold

Rack Lo: Played out.

MVRemix: Clockwork Orange

Rack Lo: Say that again.

MVRemix: Clockwork Orange

Rack Lo: Rack: What's it called?

MVRemix: Clockwork Orange

Rack Lo: Nah, never seen it.

MVRemix: Kid 'n' Play

Rack Lo: Hip Hop

MVRemix: Skillionaire

Rack Lo: That's like the ultimate kid. (laughs)

MVRemix: Coke or Pepsi

Rack Lo: Alright

MVRemix: Unique London

Rack Lo: The British Bitch

MVRemix: MP3's

Rack Lo: I think it was a good thing man.

MVRemix: Lee patches

Rack Lo: Damn, we used to steal them man, snatch them.

MVRemix: Last but not least, Rack Lo for president.

Rack Lo: A definite kid.

MVRemix: That's pretty much it yo, but I'm gonna give you a chance to say anything you wants cats to read when they're checking this.

Rack Lo: All I can say is keep checking for Spit Squodd. We're gonna keep bringing that classic Hip Hop. The stuff you really enjoy. We always have albums and singles coming out, and you can check the website, www.spitfactoryonline.com, for updates on Master Fuol, Rack Lo, Thirstin, Lo Lifes, Spit Squodd, Unique London, and the list goes on. Just keep living Hip Hop and know and understand quality Hip Hop and quality music. Always be a leader kid. You set your own destiny. Word up!





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