One half of U-N-I hopped on the phone with my old stomping grounds to talk about the inspiration behind his upcoming solo album, altercations with the police and more.
The project started with the first song I recorded for the album, “Los Angeles.” Ro Blvd made the beat and initially I was gonna go in on some Jay Electronica-type stuff, just some crazy raps and all that. But I sat back and listened to it, and I wanted to involve my fans into the record. So I had people call and e-mail me voice notes of a well-intentioned statement of what Los Angeles meant to them. And I just wanted to paint an honest picture of what Los Angeles is. So I was able to get all these little positive comments of what Los Angeles is, as well as a few negative comments, and kind of painted this picture of Los Angeles, and that’s what sparked the project. At the time some of my folks were doing research on the Los Angeles riots, and that title struck me. I was like, damn, I want to do a project called L.A. RIOT. It’s not solely based on historical events. A lot of the music is intense; it’s like scoring the lifestyle of a young male in Los Angeles.
Like I have a record called “Niggaz” on there, and the record is a self-critique. I’m looking at myself, I’m looking at some of my friends, and I’m looking at the word “nigga” and I’m giving a little history of the word and I’m studying why we call ourselves that on a daily basis. And at the end of the song, I’m like I don’t want to be this word, let’s be kings. A lot of the music on there is kind of intense and uplifting and knowledgeable. And that goes hand in hand with the “Rodney King” record. It’s a riot in music, a riot in art, and I’m just kind of going against the grain of what’s popular. It’s not the same hit record that you hear over and over and over. I’m not trying to do that.
Check the full interview here.