Welcome to the New Age of enLIGHTenment
Meet The Next...
Rapper Lonnie Ozell Graham IV calls the west side of Rochester, New York home. Using his initials for a stage name (LG) he began rapping at the age of 14. I love it, sounds do something to me man. Like a high school relationship, his love affair with music was off and on in the beginning, it took LG three years to fully commit to H.E.R. at the age of 17.
Influenced by his family and non-believers alike, LG grew up listening to fellow New York rappers such as The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and DMX. All three acts have a knack for giving gruesome details of their surroundings. Surroundings that in 2010 Rochester had begun to mirror. The violent crime rate in Rochester was higher than the violent crime rate in the state of New York by 178.95%. Growing up in the murder capital of the state of New York, you can’t help but paint that picture. But some MCs do not grasp the lyrical prowess or the intellect or the know-how to Van Gogh their surroundings, LG possesses the brushes and the colors to paint Rochester in all its simple complexities on his debut project enLIGHTenment.
Now 20, LG’s artists in rotation has transitioned to MF DOOM, Lord Quas, Smooke Da Villain, and $peakEZ. His style reflects his playlist. Elements of storytelling, real life situations, and wordplay are all a staple of LG.
The Age of Enlightenment was a cultural movement that began in 17th century Europe. Emphasizing reason and individuality, tradition though was all but shunned. LG’s enLIGHTenment has reason and showcases plenty of individuality, but luckily tradition is still present.
The album cover features an animated version of LG with his head propped open revealing what’s in head, MF Doom, Raekwon, Jay-Z, and Bob Marley. All in front of a psychedelic background. Unlike Nintendo box art in the late 80’s early 90’s, enLIGHTenment EP lived up to the cover art.
On the intro of enLIGHTenment, Iceyy Endeavors produced BuddhaSPK, LG’s flow is in the pocket like loose change. Over diamond keys and a boom bap that's as hard as doing a bid in a state pen, LG rhymes tell a story of his coming of age.
It sets the tone for the album’s production, which is a mixture of jazz and soul, in the same vein of Nas’ Illmatic and Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt. Whereas most artists no matter where they reside sound as if they all hail from below the mason dixon, LG is undoubtedly New York.
More than just New York though, LG is spiritual and grounded. Never going outside of his vast skill set, being grounded mentally and physically and spiritually is a gift and talent LG chose wisely not to waste.
Rap has a long history of cliques, from The Furious Five, N.W.A. and Public Enemy to Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, ASAPMob and Kendrick Lamar's Black Hippy crew and thus LG is maintains this tradition. His clique PellyKooPosse (PKP) consists of himself who at times goes by Lon Givenchy bka LO (ello), or LO (low), Bob Cook aka $peakEZ bka badmanbob, and Smooke Da Villian aka Da Villainist. All three MCs evoke the meaning behind the name, as we ascend.
Appearing on a total of three songs on the EP, PellyKooVision$, InPSALMniacz, and BlackendBlue$. The trippy production from The Alchemist on BlackendBlue$ had all three MCs taking turns at beating the beat up. Whereas sometimes groups no matter the genre can have a weak link, PKP is solid through in through. With each member complementing the last, no matter where they're placed on the track.
The brunt of the production is a handled by Black Thunder Beats (who also is from Rochester), BuddahSPK, Hay Zeus, and Nickflyfl. While the rest of the album finds LG rapping over production from legendary D.I.T.C leader Lord Finesse and DJ/producer Alchemist. Though there are 5 cooks in the kitchen it does not hurt Iceyy Endeavors in the least. Each track of enLIGHTment seems to be picked with the same amount of detail as Italian wine makers picking grapes. The EP sounds more like a debut album cut from a major, even when coming to a track such as A.L.S. that finds producer BlackThunder using a sped up sample of Musiq Soulchild’s Love somehow still fits like an old catcher’s mitt.
LG seems most comfortable on Lord Finesse’s production, as the hard snares and the kicks echos early 90’s Hip-Hop allowing LG to seemingly ride the track effortlessly and will have listeners envisioning BET Rap City videos filled with backdrops of dead end alleys and empty basketball courts, one MC standing in front of 50 members of his crew with the same charisma of a reverend on any given Sunday.
The keys on Autumn Addict which features KT, Izzy, and TonyClef are as heavy as the bars spit by each rapper on this track that finds everyone explaining how raw of an MC each one is.
Music’s intent can not be pinned down to just one thing, but with that being said it is the soundtrack to life. One song has the power to cause a riot or bring peace. enLIGHTenment is music as it is intended to be, pure without the influence of outside factors. This is not a rap album checklist consisting of one song for the radio, one song for the club, one song for the ladies,every hook a nursery rhyme. No this is one MC in love with the culture of Hip-Hop.
You’re left after listening to LG’s enLIGHTenment with a slice of truth for you to come back to. LG is grounded in reality. There isn’t bragging about a body count that would leave most serial killers ashamed. No money talk to the point that you’re left wondering why isn’t he on the FORBE’S list or at the very least getting a call from the IRS. An artist's job on his or her’s debut is to let the listener know who they are, where they come from, and indirectly their motivation for pursuing a career in an industry as fickle as the music industry.
LG's enLIGHTenment caters to your hip hop heart. Giving you a glimpse into the life of an up and coming rapper from upstate New York.
Here are his latest singles:
Meet the next is where artists in the field of music, design, fashion, media, art, and entertainment are featured. If you would like to be featured email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your submissions, with the subject line "Meet The Next"
About the Author: Jon Robinson is the EIC of 1515ave. When he's not writing, he's producing and editing podcasts and when he's not doing all the above he's maintaining this very site. Follow him @1nenonly