Easy Lantana’s moment is now. After spending four years in jail, time he used for soul searching, self-checking, and growth, the RCA Records signee and 24-year-old Cincinnati native is making his name a household brand.
Lantana, who dropped his latest mixtape, the “The All Hustle No Luck Tape,” grew up in the streets of Cincinnati, and actually lived on Lantana St., when he was growing up, so it was fitting that he chose to go by that name.
He describes his music as authentic and real and his work ethic matches his current single, “All Hustle, No Luck."
Get to Know Mr. Cincinatti!
Toying Around With The Name Lantana:
Man, it's a group down in Texas; a country group that got the name, Lantana. They ain't got no new music coming out or nothing like that. They don't want to come off the name, but I'm Lantana. I'm Easy too, so you can call me Easy Lantana. I prefer Lantana, but legal issues. But we hear though; don't nothing stop this show. Paperwork has to be together; it's not a game out here.
First Mixtape in 2006 and Career Aspirations in Rapping.
I put out my first mixtape when I was 18. To me really, it's just my nature man. I was always a rap fan; not just a rap fan, but music in general. When I grew up, I used to rap with my pops a lot and he was one of them OGs. He would play some old school music, but I couldn't touch his radio. I had to sit and listen to old school music when I was a kid. I grew up on that, and my mom used to wake me up for school blasting Shania Twain. So, yeah I got a lot of diverse music that came into my life young. Like in 8th grade, I started writing raps and in high school I was always rapping, freestylin'. The battles used to be crazy. I used to do all of that, but I got more serious with it when I got out of high school. I was still in the streets, and a lot of stuff happened.
Money and hoes wasn't the motivation; it's a plus that comes with it but that's definitely not the reason. The money is there, but it's the lifestyle that I can afford for my people that counts. My mom, my sister, my pops, I can change their lives with my music. I can take my friends that I have out in the streets by employing them on my label. Rap music now a days man; that's just the foot in the door to success. Like for me, I can change a lot of stuff, so that's my motivation for music.
While in Jail For Four Years
I used it to better myself and figure out who I was. I used it to grow. Like I say to people, music comes natural to me. I’m able to make music because I love it. But, to make it in the rap industry, you have to have yourself together as a person if you want to be successful. So, I took that time in jail to sit back and appreciate the fact that I am alive and figured out what I was doing wrong and what can I do to make myself better. Be a man out here and pursue my dream in a correct way.
Man, I do a lot of self-checking, like that came from being in jail for four years. I do A LOT OF SELF CHECKING! I don't like to have a lot of idle moods on my business because those four years, from 2007-2011; it did a lot for me. I don't have time to Bullsh*t, so I utilize all the time I have for real, all hustle, no luck.
Man, it was always my mom and sister; they just gave me a lot of support, telling me to just do it. Like them two are important people in my life. Gotti shot my first video for my single, "All Hustle, No Luck," and he believed in me. I didn't have any money to pay for videos, and he started shooting my videos for me. So for me man, it had me really thinking that I don't have to be in these streets if I’m going to rap. I just rap and turn it into something, and I showed him that I can do that. It was a pivotal point running into to him because he is a white Jew kid from the real suburb, from money, and I just came from out of the joint. But we both working and it’s just coming together. He had that belief in me.
Signing With Polo Grounds
Back in March, the song "All Hustle, No Luck" was on the radio, received airplay, buzzin around especially in certain regions. Radio in Detroit, Cincinnati, played here and there. But Maybach Music was rockin' it, and they flew me down there to come mess with them. But, I got a call from Polo Grounds and they were interested in me. I didn't make a move immediately, but I ended up making a decision. I met Bryan Leach, and he let me know about Polo Grounds and everything. I just made the best decision for me and my family. We been rockin' now…Polo Grounds.
Positioning Yourself to Make The Art Unique:
I’m Lantana from Cincinnati. Like I'm from Ohio, so I know Bone Thugs- N- Harmony and they from Cleveland. Cleveland is at the top by Detroit and we right in the middle. So for me, what I've been doing since I started rapping back in the 8th grade is just doing what I do. Making music that was true to me man and authentic to me.
Music Scene in Cincinnati
It's just now coming up. I'm the first rapper to get this type of mainstream; some type of success to be out here on 106 and Park and stuff like that. They said you have to move to Atlanta to make it, gotta move to New York, gotta move to LA to do this. That's the only way you could do it, but we don't have to. Like me being successful is making our rap scene come up a lot because people are really getting on their job. Telling them it ain't no excuses now.
The Cincinnati Environment!
I love my city because I love the environment. I love how ratchet it is. I love my people. People are just who they are. It's a lot of stuff that go on, but we are on the come up right now. And I wanna be that representative that helped my people see that there are better things in life. There are better ways to do things, not just better but there are other ways to do things. Where we from, we've just been running in circles for a long time. But I want to be that example to show that we can be something different. I love my city because I wouldn't be right here talking to you in New York, in Union Square, if it wasn't for my city supporting me. For them playing my songs in the club, for them requesting my song. Like when they weren't playing my record a lot on the radio, they called every day for my song to play. The radio station where I from called me and asked me to tell the people to chill out on calling them. I'm so repped out everywhere I go because I wouldn't be me without Cincinnati.
Guiding People in the Right Direction in Cincinnati Outside of Music
We got up and comers like Adrian Bonner; he's a boxer. He's around my age, and he is doing his thing right now. We got a lot of new development but at the same time it's just like anywhere else in the world; It's hard. A lot of stuff still goes on like the violence and people needing jobs and stuff. But, the positive thing about it is we all still alive and we keep pushing. As long as you're alive, you can make something happen.
“All Hustle, No Luck” Remix
We got Bun B on there, Yo Gotti, Pusha T from Virginia, like all of the artists from my camp. We had a relationship with all of the artists and it just came together. It wasn't a handpicked type of thing; it just came together like how it was supposed to. They showed love, they all did their verses, did their thing, and repped “All Hustle, No Luck”. I couldn't ask for a better lineup. Pusha T is definitely doing his thing. I've been a fan since the first Clipse album. Bun B; I grew up on UGK and even him as a solo artist. And Yo Gotti has always been consistent. To have all of these artists that I respect and who respect my work as well, and to get on and do their thing was a big deal for me.
The mixtape and then the EP. We got songs, songs, and songs. My music is authentic and meaningful and it ain't songs just to have songs. Like it's something that I'm really trying to bring to people and give something that people can take away from my music. We got this “All Hustle, No Luck Remix” and that's opening up my name to a lot of people. They want to know who is this kid with Bun B, Yo Gotti, and Pusha T. People are just getting to know who I am now. So Imma drop this Live From Lantana mixtape and let them get to know the body of music. And after that Imma just keep pushing, keep grinding, keep working, and make the people see me. Every opportunity I get.
It's live man. You gonna get some sweat on you. Imma crowd surf, you never know. That's my favorite part about the whole music thing is the performance. Going out there and really reaching somebody. You can really reach somebody when you perform your music in front of them. Like last summer, I did free shows in my city almost every weekend. I don't care if it was 5 people showing up at the show or 100. I was going all the way out. Imma take off my shirt, show you my tattoos, Imma growl, do everything. Imma put on a show. I really believe in those rap shows. Instead of going out there with just people rapping behind me, Imma do my thing.
Always feeling Jay-Z. Yo Gotti is doing his thing right now. Rich Homie Quan from Atlanta. I'm ready to do some work with him. I like what he’s doing; I like the feel he brings. He means what he says, and he is not just trying to do what everybody else is doing. If he's singing or rapping, he's just bringing it in. I like artists like him.
Message For The Youth
It's real out here. Be authentic, be consistent with it. This is who I am, all hustle, no luck. Don’t wish, wait, or hope for nothing but to make reality out of every dream and goal that you have. They are not going to give us nothing out here man, so anything you want, you got to get off your a** and get on your business. All Hustle, No Luck. I don't care if you’re playing football, rapping, or going to cut grass or whatever, you got to go all the way out to get to where you want to be in life. All Hustle, No Luck, Cincinnati. Take that with you!
Transcribed by Dominique Carson