By Jessica Iman J. Recently I sat down with Itta Bena, MS artist SQ LAC who managed to go viral, holding down the #1 trending song, “No ...
By Jessica Iman J.
Recently I sat down with Itta Bena, MS artist SQ LAC who managed to go viral, holding down the #1 trending song, “No Pressure” exclusively on Sprinrilla. No Pressure” is the single leading his upcoming project, #FreeGameReloaded. Within just a few days of the release of the single, “No Pressure” began to trend on Twitter and became the #2 most trending song on Spinrilla. SQ Lac scored ½ Million streams and 15k downloads for the single in just one week. His latest mixtape, #FreeGame, scored its second feature on the front-page of Spinrilla’s website. Hood Hippie has the extreme pleasure of introducing SQ Lac to its followers and to readers and his take on the keys to his success, and let us know a little more about his music and motivation.
J. Iman: Delta based, DJ Donny P recently gave you a shout out on Facebook, basically commending “No Pressure” for trending and for you being an artist who stands out from all the rest. What’s your take on that?
S.Q. Lac: First off, shout out to DJ Donny P, for real for real. Donny is a DJ doing it big right now from the Delta. I would say I have my own style right now and I have my own ways. I did it my way. I actually saw what everybody else was doing and did the opposite that made me stand out from the ordinary
J. Iman: “Hamp’d Up” was the first single I ever heard from you, and that is on the #FreeGame mixtape. Would you say “Options” or “Hamp’d Up” set the tone for your success of #FreeGame?
S.Q. Lac: Definitely, I feel like “Hamp’d up” set the tone for my whole rap career. “Hamp’d Up” dropped like a year and a half before #FreeGame was dropped. That’s why I can say it set the tone for #FreeGame. I can’t take credit for that. It set the whole tone for my rap career because that’s when everybody started calling, when everybody started buzzing. That’s when everybody knew our name. SQ is actually a clique. Like most artist there were some issues that caused a delay with the music. I don’t know if you know my past, but the dude that had the first verse on “Hamp’d Up”, like my brother out the clique SQ, he ended up passing away. That put a delay on a lot of the movement. “Hamp’d up” was definitely that song that popped the move. It created that buzz that we were looking for. It set us up for the moves that we’re making now.
J. Iman: So SQ is your crew. What does the “SQ” abbreviation stand for?
SQ Lac: SQ is just “Squad” abbreviated. We shortened it up because everybody had their own squad. That’s the crew I started with, same hood, and same high school. We still rocking. We’re closer than and better than ever right now.”
J.Iman: What was the motivation for #FreeGame?
SQ Lac: My rap name is SQ Lac, aka Lac the Hooper. Basketball was one of the many things that was motivation. When I say “Ball is Life” it’s different from how anyone else would say it. I really compare a lot of basketball things to life. Basketball has taught me a lot to prepare me for life, more than what people actually think it does. So it’s like, that discipline. You have to be disciplined to really play basketball. Basketball was one of my first loves. I really wanted a witty way that I could break what I had to say down. To do that I had to tie it in with basketball. I felt, was the best way to do it, just to put people up on game. Put people on how something is going on, and give them “Free Game”. I wanted to let them know what’s really going on out here. I wanted to do it a little different. Even though, people know where I come from I didn’t want to just elaborate on this and that. They need to hear something so they can know how to go out there and get that bag. They need to know who to watch out for. They need to know how to just move a little bit. To be aware of a lot of stuff. That’s all #FreeGame really was saying. Stay on your P’s and Q’s by watch out for different type of people. If you’re going to do certain things, there are things you need to be aware of when it comes to whatever you want to do. If you want to do this, flex, or whatever it is. SQ just putting you up on “Free Game”.
J. Iman: How important is your team and supporters to you when it comes to your vision of success?
SQ Lac: Very important there is no ‘I’ in team. One thing I always say is that I didn’t get this far by myself. I needed my team. Everybody has to know their role, and we have to go by it, that’s just the bottom line. I don’t care how solid or strong you are, if you don’t have a solid team you can’t get over certain humps that you’re trying to get over, to be great. That goes for anybody. Jordan needed Pippen, Kobe needed Shaq, and Shaq needed Kobe. LeBron had to leave Cleveland, go team up with Wade and Bosch, then come back to Cleveland with more fire power. I’ve never seen a team win one individual. I don’t care how they put it you need your road dog. You need your right hand man. With everyone on one accord you can start your rise to the top. Build a team with a good foundation. Starting off, it should never be about the money. You want to be with people that want to see you win and you want to see them win. They want to help you do the same thang you want to help them do. Once you find that collective of people, the sky the limit. I’m nothing without my supporters. Without them, I’m just a dude rapping.
J. Iman: At what point did rapping become real for you? How did you know, you were built for this?
SQ Lac: Not trying to be cocky but I knew I was built for this at twelve years old. I didn’t start taking it serious until I came home, after going away and playing ball. When I came home, I got up with my boy K Stacks and Twan. They are from SQ, and the other rappers that were on “Hamp’d Up” with me. We were talking, and I told them we should take rapping more seriously. I was always rapping, but playing ball. Rapping was more of a hobby. The end of 2013, beginning of 2014 I felt like we could make it, so we dropped “Hamp’d Up”. We didn’t receive any negative feedback. It was like, everything went up from there. As soon as it dropped in the club, people went to vibing with it, and it just went crazy from there. It started off from our city, our hood, then other cities from outside of MS. I just knew I was built for it.
J. Iman: You recently opened in Cleveland, MS for Yo Gotti and Black Youngsta, how did that go?
SQ Lac: CMG really didn’t know there was a hot artist down here in the Delta. I think some people reached out to them buzzing, trying to see what they had going on. When they saw it, they saluted. They kind of knew what was going on after that. It would have been different if we were flexing, or lying, but I had worked for it. One thing for sure nothing has been handed to me. It has taken a minute to get like this.
J. Iman: I know everything is not sweet when you’re coming up. Do you want to give any advice for those starting on their music, or those who are in the transition of getting themselves out there?
SQ Lac: I want to say keep going no matter what. It’s going to get rough but it’s not going to be easy. You have to have tunnel vision and keep going. Don’t get caught up in things that are on the outside of what you are trying to do. That goes with anything in life. Don’t worry about what the next man doing. Perfect your craft. Block your doubters out and focus on getting yourself better. It’s a different type of mentality and different type of brain you’ve got to have when you want to do music. It’s a difference between listening to advice and abiding to opinions. You can take advice from a lot of people, but let their opinion be their opinion. Learn how to take criticism and run with it. At the end of the day, just keep going.
J. Iman: What would you say are your major influences in music? Who are you listening to right now?
SQ Lac: I still bump Carter 1 and 2 by Lil Wayne. I listen to Hov as well. And Starlito is low-key my favorite rapper. I also bump Lucci and Kodak. I want to keep my own sound, and I don’t want to get caught up in what’s going on now so I don’t listen to a lot of new music. No disrespect to anyone, shout out to everyone doing their thang. For now, I listen to the rap gods, like Weezy, and Hov. They’re the people I look up to in the game. They set the status on what I want to be as an artist.”
J. Iman: I really want to end our interview by asking three things that keep you grounded while working on projects.
SQ Lac: Prayer would be one. Two is the fact I just need one of those zones where I can be alone for a lot of this stuff. I don’t have to be off of three or four mollies and a hundred people in the room. I like to focus on what I’ve got going on and just totally zone in on how I want to do it. Last but not least the third thing that keeps me grounded is the fact I’m doing it for the people I love. My mama, my brothers, my family and my team. That’s just really keeps me going. If you don’t stay true to yourself, you might as well do nothing.
#FreeGameReloaded will be dropping soon and he wants to encourage listeners to keep downloading the hit single “No Pressure”, trending on Spinrilla, and keep bumping the single “Options”. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook: @sq_lac.