Hip-hop artist Onaje “Lucifah” Brown who prefers to be called “Luc’” (loose), was born at St. Mary’s Hospital of Brooklyn, and raised in the Bushwick section of town by parents of Jamaican descent. His first mind-opening exposure to music’s cultural and ethnic allure came from his family: a parental stereo offering reggae, disco, and rhythm and blues selections, among others. Watching older cousins performing their own penned material during several local street events kept the spark burning. Hip-hop had arrived. He never looked back. Hip-hop artistes such as Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Heavy D, Nas, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z caught and held the nascent musician’s attention. Utilizing his own experiences, knowledge, and history, Luc’ began penning his own lyrics at age twelve. Luc, whose professional goals include forays into mentoring, philanthropy, and branching out into career fields beyond the musical realm, recently gave us some insight into his world.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
LUC’: I’ve been in the music business for a little while now. I would say since 2003. I started doing songs with my cousins. We came out with Insomnia Music Group (IMG) which started to make some noise but we never carried it out like we were supposed to. We had our sleepy face logo on everything you could think of and the motto was “We don’t sleep, we stay up on things”. As a child I use to watch my cousins perform and I’ve heard my parents sing while playing instruments so I started getting into music myself. I started doing rap and reggae only my older sister knows that lol. I stopped then I started again but took it serious the day after The Notorious B.I.G died, I was 14 years old.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
LUC’: My whole family from my grandfather down. They did Reggae, rap, R&B and played instruments. Outside of that would be the greats such as Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Jay-z, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Heavy D, LL Cool J, CNN, The Lox, Guru, Dip-Set, Wu- Tang, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Buju Banton, Bob Marley, The Isley Brothers. Man the list goes on.
- How did you get the moniker LUC’?
LUC’: Well that started in high school at George Westinghouse located downtown Brooklyn. I used to type rhymes in shop class for 3 periods everyday and everybody knew including the teacher. I recited it and they loved it. They all said it was hot and that I was very talented and advanced for my age. One day in class my boy Jimmy named me Lucifer because I was the hottest he ever heard. I rolled with it to inspire me to remain hot at all times but I wasn’t too comfortable with the name because of what it represented. So I removed the E-R and replaced it with A-H. Then years later I decided to just keep it Luc’ (Loose).
- Which artists are you currently listening to?
LUC’: To be honest, I don’t listen to many artistes these days. They don’t have good content or direction to help guide the minds of these young children who are listening. Good music is good music point blank and there’s not much anymore. So I constantly play 90s tunes, early 2000s and old school hits. But I do listen to T.I., Kendrick Lamar, j. Cole, Ab-Soul, Chris Brown, and Trey Songs. When I want to get hyper I might throw on some Future, ScHoolBoy Q, and Rae Sremmurd. I would listen to anything if it catches my attention and sounds good.
- What are your thoughts on visual media and YouTube? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music, and do you have any new videos published for fans to see?
LUC’: Visual media and YouTube is an appropriate marketing tool mos life. It’s worldwide so it’s reaching people that can’t be reached physically. Off of experience, it’s better to reach an overseas audience because they show more love and appreciation than others do in the states honestly. It gives visual; it gives sound, and performance all at once. What could be better than that? I have a few videos on YouTube everyone can check out but I do have some more current ones I’m working on at the moment. Stay tuned and up to date with me by subscribing to my channel LucApostrophe.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
LUC’: I love the studio trust me on that. That’s where you get creative and zone out to the beat while it speaks to you. You have conversations with the musical notes but there is nothing like performing in front of a crowd. Audience interactions are the best. You can see the reactions and feel the energy; which makes you perform at your best. At least that’s what it should do.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle, and which do you outsource generally?
LUC’: My two single releases “MayDay” and “Tell Me Something” were both created by me. I wrote the lyrics and made the production all myself. I wanted to touch on some things that caught my attention, some things I wanted to get off my chest, and I wanted to open the minds and ears of the people by spreading some of my experiences and struggles through song. I handle all the music that’s for promo use only such as mixtape material, freestyles things in that nature. I’ll do the recording, mixing, and promo myself. As far as, singles, EPs, and albums I outsource them to professionals because it represents me as a professional. I can’t put out anything I put my heart and soul into without quality.
8. What is the title of your latest music release and where can fans find it?
LUC’: My mixtape “Brooklyn’s Finest” is my latest release. I’m snapping on beats from your favorite artistes and making it my own while paying homage to the greats. I gave the fans what they wanted but, with my flavor and style. It can be found on YouTube, Datpiff, and Mymixtapez. It’s fun, energetic, lyrical, smooth, serious and funny. Be sure to check it out and enjoy!!!
- Which ingredient do you think makes you unique and/or relevant as a performing artist in a genre thriving with newcomers?
LUC’: Staying genuine and being true to myself. Keeping god above it all along with hard work and dedication. Knowing that I have what it takes to become a great artiste myself and being consistent with the delivery and lyrics that can help educate my fans about real life.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
LUC’: I would have to go with passion. Its work but it doesn’t feel like it. I enjoy doing it. Music makes me escape the BS I go through day to day and that encourages me to grab the wheel and keep driving to reach my destination. Because it’s a passion the music comes to me with no problem.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
LUC’: Having that freedom to write what I feel and not answer to anyone about my material and releases excites me the most. Lets not forget about the pay. The majority of it goes to me and my company Man-Of-Flames LLC. The only thing discouraging about being independent is that all of the work is on you. Promotion, studio time, marketing, packaging the product, and getting it into the hands of the people that can take it where it needs to go. It takes a lot of funding but in the end you’ll benefit if you stick with it and stay hungry. I’m up for the challenge.
- How do you market and manage your music career currently? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
LUC’: I do everything myself with help from a few of my Man-Of-Flames members and family. After the groundwork is done I’ll hire a management team to take some of the responsibilities off of our hands.
- How do you achieve your sound? Do you work from a private recording environment or do you use a commercial sound studio?
LUC’: I do both but more recently I achieve my sound from a private recording environment. To be honest, it’s all about the soundproof, microphone, and the mix. If you have a real good engineer it can come out just as good as a commercial studio.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
LUC’: Be yourself and work for yourself because you have total control. That is something that has stuck with me since a teenager. The one that I didn’t follow was don’t be too friendly when doing business they will use you and take advantage. I learned that later on, now it’s a big part of how I operate. Be sure to do your research before you act on anything.
- If you had the choice which successful producer would you like to work with?
LUC’: Dr. Dre or the old Kanye West. I’m an artiste not a rapper. I make up whatever I feel the beat is missing, my vocals is apart of that instrumental so we must work together. It’s a universal language just as my style so I would choose a producer that can hit any genre and we’ll make hits forever.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to independent artists and indie music in general?
LUC’: I sure do. It helps spread your work to a wider audience at a faster time. You just need the right people to listen and that will actually take the time to do so. But my advice would be not to throw your music on every site, just the major ones. You will spread yourself thin.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
LUC’: Hip-Hop, lyrical, poetic, hot, theatrical, hard-hitting, descriptive, soulful, and talented.
- Straight off the top of your head, how would you describe the current state of Hip-hop, R&B and Rap?
LUC’: Dumbed down and copied. The hooks are catchy though. People don’t have anything plausible to speak on. So now it’s all about the beat instead of the words. My advice for their fans is to buy the damn instrumental lol. These stars emulate whatever they see is winning even if it degrades them, takes them out of character, and not be themselves. That’s just my factual opinion but some artistes are doing their thing. Shout out to those who are not caught up in that lifestyle or trend and can actually make great music.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or any other tangible milestone?
LUC’: Just being successful in all areas of life such as, music, fatherhood, marriage, financially and mentally. Breaking barriers in things that others couldn’t and get that respect of being authentic through it all.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
LUC’: Change who I am and ignore what I stand for.