Green Lantern's had an intriguing year. Since DAD's inception, Green's done all kinds of dabbling in the EDM scene, from spinning at Ultra to recently putting out a track on Ultra Music. It makes sense to those of us with a hip-hop background, as he's been all over the map sonically, but the focus of his EDM push has been intriguing. We decided to speak to him about his time in the scene, what he's got planned (EDM-wise) in the near future, and how his hip-hop fans have reacted to his recent exploits.
Green Lantern, I appreciate your time. How has the transition into EDM been for you?
Exciting. I look at it more as "extension" than "transition" because I still make and play hip-hop, but I get the point. It's also very freeing in that you can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it connects with folks.
How did this extension come about? What made you decide to try a different lane?
Just listening to different music and getting inspired to make some of my own. Expanding, growing and not caring what people think.
A lot of your production has had twerk and trap inspiration. What other genres inspire you?
I'm working on some house tracks and some future funk/electro soul type records. Some chill, downtempo stuff, too. Then there's the early dubstep stuff I made years ago that I never released (laughs).
You and Kill The Noise are both from Rochester. Is there anyone else from your hometown that should have our attention?
On the rap side, there is .38 Special and Emilio Rojas. I'm not familiar with any other electronic artists besides Jake from there, but I would love to hear 'em. I'm probably just forgetting someone though, so forgive me.
You've worked with a ridiculous amount of rappers. Who do you want to collaborate with in 2014?
I'm collaborating with a bunch of rappers in 2014. I have songs dropping in the next few months with features from 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, RiFF RAFF, Kid Ink, etc.
Are these all EDM tunes?
Sick. Your record with Iggy Azalea and Valentino Khan came out on Ultra Records today. Can you tell us more about this release, and how it landed on that label?
It's Valentino, Iggy, and myself on some marching band trap type sounds. Ultra has some more bass-oriented music coming out (Flosstradamus, etc.), so they heard it and wanted to release it. They have a great platform for releasing music so I was like "yeah lets do it!"
We saw that you signed with AM Only for booking. Are you signing with a label anytime soon?
Nah, I have a couple more single releases that will probably come out thru Ultra. Other than that, I'm just enjoying being able to put out whatever I want whenever I want. Labels like to control releases. Maybe I'll start my own? Who knows.
What are your feelings on the way business affects art?
You just have to control it and not have it control you. And not let it control your art. Stick to your guns and stand for what you believe in, and you'll be fine.
You're a living legend in the rap world. How do you think your core fans are feeling about your new musical vision?
Some are like "what the fuck?" (laughs). "Why u playin' techno now?" (laughs). Other people are like "Man you inspired me to get back into music because I was so bored by it." A really big New York hip-hop DJ actually that told me that I inspired him to get back into music when I put out the "Show Me What U Got" bootleg. Either way I'm ALWAYS gonna do me. I said this before and I'll say it again, you're not an artist until you piss off your core fans for doing something other than what THEY think you should do (laughs).
You blew my mind when you let me know you moved to Los Angeles. Why the change in scenery?
I'm always moving around. Since leaving Rochester back in '02, I've lived in NYC, New Jersey, Phoenix, Atlanta. and now Los Angeles. There's different vibes out here and it's really peaceful. That's the energy I'm looking for in my life right now. Serenityyyyy (in my 2Pac "Hennessy" voice).
Are you planning on settling down anywhere?
Either here (Los Angeles) or Phoenix. Phoenix has a whole other level of peaceful to it. It's levels! (laughs)
Do you have anything cool on your tour rider?
I'm boring these days, Just 9.5 PH alkaline water and some red vines and I'm good to go.
How do you want to be remembered?
As someone that brought something to the table. I didn't just pick up a plate and eat.
That's real. Last question... you're nearly twice the age of your average partygoer. How do you stay connected with the youth?
I don't even think of it like that. I just go out there and do me. Good music transcends everything. Age, gender, and race. Everything.
Amazing. Thanks so much for your time, my dude.
If you slept on it, you can stream Green Lantern's collab with Iggy and Valentino Khan below, or snag it via iTunes.