L.A.D., known to many as La the Darkman, wears many hats in throughout the course of the day. Whether he’s running Aphilliates Music Group and letting the ink dry on their new deal with Sony or hitting the booth to record for any one of his upcoming EPs or album, L.A.D. stays working. That work ethic is what’s allowed L.A.D. to remain relevant in a game where a lot of his peers back in the ‘90s are gone and/or disgruntled at where the game is today. Not only has La helped make Gangsta Grillz a staple in hip-hop beyond the mixtape circuit, but he’s managed careers and written for artists like Trey Songz and Nelly. Having just released La Paraphernalia, an EP of newer music that goes deeper than his vast vault of mixtapes, the Gun Ru vet took some time to sit down with ProfileWild to talk about A.M.G.’s new Sony venture, his recording process, the new music, and of course his classic debut, Heist of the Century in this exclusive interview.
Some quotes from the feature:
On the new Aphilliates Music Group deal with Sony:
We’re going with Sony Distribution and Marketing. It’s similar to the situation I had with Atlantic in prior years with the Gangsta Grillz projects or the situation I had with Asylum with Aphilliates Management and Warner Brothers for the Willie the Kid Absolute Greatness project. I did a similar deal with Steve Rifkind in 2010 or 2011 for Embassy Entertainment. We never put anything out but it was through SRC/Universal. We put out a single with Bobby Valentino, “You,” but Steve Rifkind ended up leaving Universal and is independent now. But it’s a similar situation now with Sony. We’re trying to put the movie distribution part together too. We need a couple more signatures and we’ll be able to distribute the movies and videos also.
On his critically-acclaimed debut album Heist of the Century:
You know what’s so funny? Friends of mine have made me start listening to it. Before I start creating new projects, I always kind of listen to that one, like once a year. Like once a year, like, ‘Man, that shit is crazy!’ Like, when I even listen to it, I’ll be like, ‘Whoa!’ I talked about the war in the Middle East and Saddam and all of that and it’s kind of like Biggie when he said “And blow up like the World Trade.” It’s banging to another level. Like, just the song “Heist of the Century” or “Lucci” or the song with me and Mobb Deep” or “Figaro Chain” or “Polluted Wisdom.” The shit be crazy.
On working with DJ Muggs on the Soul Assassins album:
I was 16 years-old, going on 17 years-old, when I wrote that. I didn’t really know the magnitude of writing or what was fast. I was just a person with Allen Iverson-type energy. Being on that album with Dr. Dre and Wyclef and RZA and GZA and Mobb Deep and all the legends, B-Real, Muggs said it to me that nobody else on that album wrote their joint on the spot but me. He told me that. And Muggs is still my man today. He did the title track “Heist of the Centty” on the album. I sold 373,000 independently. A lot of people thought I was on Def Jam or Loud but I was on Supreme Team and it was independently distributed. I was getting $7 an album back then. A lot of people don’t understand the notoriety and the type of situation I created for myself as an artist, similar to a Jay-Z or a Rocafella back then. It’s interesting and it’s a concept back then that Master P developed and went on with it and other guys like Baby and them now do Republic Universal through independent distribution. A lot of people don’t understand that science but I kind of caught hold of it early. But I wrote “Devil in a Blue Dress” on the spot. I came in the studio in New York. We were in D&D and Muggs played beats, I picked the beat, pulled out my notepad. This is when we used to write on notepads. I pulled out the notepad and wrote the song, went in the booth and laid the song, and I did it and I never understood the art of what I was doing. I just was doing it. As I recorded over the years, that’s when I realized that it’s a heck of a craft. A lot of artists have to go home and memorize and do it over and I didn’t really have that problem. I was able to create music.
On being left off the “Detroit Vs. Everybody” freestyles:
I talked to the homie Trick Trick about that. We might get featured on the remix. I talked to the homie about that because I feel like we should always put it together. But we’re from the next town over. We’re from Gun Ru (Grand Rapids), Michigan. We played the D and I got cribs in the D and I’m a D representative too, but actually we’re from Gun Ru, Michigan. It’s the second-biggest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids. We had a conversation about it, though.