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The Precipice; FL talks Red Bull, Young Amsterdam, and more

The momentous energy that surrounds F. Lawless these days is palpable. He’s aligned himself with the upcoming summer season, snaking through block after city block with an onslaught of heat. He spoke with us about his recent membership in the Red Bull Sounds Select family (along with the equally unstoppable ReMINDers duo), his strategy behind his newly released project, and what else he has planned – spoiler, it’s more, and it’s sooner, than you’d expect.


Credit, Jeremy Pape
Credit, Jeremy Pape

So, congratulations are in order! You are officially a Red Bull Sound Select artist. What’s the story behind how that happened for you?

Thank you!  So basically DJ Low Key has had a great relationship with Red Bull for the last few years.  They recently approached him to be a Local Denver curator for their Red Bull Sound Select Program.  Low Key has been a strong supporter of both foodchain, and my recent solo efforts, LIMBO and Young Amsterdam.  Beyond that Low Key is a super knowledgeable, dedicated DJ and is really dedicated to displaying dope talent in our city.  Long story short, Low Key felt that myself and The ReMINDers would be great fits for the Sound Select program, and the rest is history.

Red Bull tends to be very beneficial to their affiliated artists – what have they explained to you about their game plan for you and your music? 

Indeed Red Bull is staking a claim for themselves in Music for sure!  Not only do they have Producer, MC, and DJ battles, they’re really interested in breaking new artists as well.  They basically explained that Red Bull is genuinely looking to help great artists further develop their career on the national/international level.  They have helped place artists on festivals, helped with exposure, even helped a group of artist purchase a tour vehicle.  The sky is the limit really.  If I bring them something that I’m trying to do, and it makes sense, Red Bull will use their brand power to help me achieve my goals.  Chance The Rapper, ScottyATL, Cherub, and GoldYard are all Red Bull Sound Select artists who have been helped along the way by this amazing brand.  The game plan for me specifically hasn’t unfolded quite yet, but i’m looking forward to working with them 2014 and beyond for sure.

I’m singing all the hooks, I’m shoutin’ my gang out, and showing love to the city that I named the project after;  Denver, Colorado.  I did this one for Denver.

The new album Young Amsterdam is fire, and is burnin’ the whole city up. While you retain your signature sound, it’s fair to say it’s a departure from LIMBO. What was your goal with this album?

Ultimately my goal for this album was to do just that;  depart from LIMBO.  I feel like LIMBO was a project I had to make.  Something that I needed to do. Something I needed to get off my chest,  to show people where I’m at, and display that I’m just as human as the next person, and that I have this goal to be considered a great.  With Young Amsterdam it’s different.  I explained to someone that Young Amsterdam is more of an Experience than anything.  I wanted to just make shit I thought was dope, regardless of what people have come to expect from me. I’m singing all the hooks, I’m shoutin’ my gang out, and showing love to the city that I named the project after;  Denver, Colorado.  I did this one for Denver.

Your albums employ various producers but your sound is this incredibly distinctive G’d out etherialism. How does your beat selection remain cohesive despite all the different hands on it?

youngamsterdamFirst off thank you!  I’ve never had my music described to me so that’s dope haha. I went on the hunt for beats for a good 2-3 weeks just listening to a lot of shit.  I smoke a lot of weed, and play Soundcloud all day, so that part came easy, haha. I began to look at a specific circle of producers and through doing that, I found Fortune, who is a dope young guy from LA.  I put some records together and he sent me a few more, which spawned “TIME,” “Half Baked,” and “Cameras.” From there I just picked a lot of production I felt like was in that vein.  Synth heavy, melodic, and easy to vibe wit.  I found out about Mahxie and KushedOutTreezy who are two young dudes from Denver, and really got them involved with this project. “Crazy Things” was one of the first Mahxie records I did, and “1000 Roses” came out so well with Treezy, I ended up doing “Dimes.” Mass Prod of course provided a heater, with “Just Fine” and I reached out to my extended foodchain fam Aly from Stockton CA for “The 1 Up.”  Neon Brown finished everything off with the Intro.  I showed him the entire project, and he just bodied that intro.  It all just fit together really well I think because everyone felt the scene I was creating and wanted to do their part.

You hailed Young Amsterdam as the official album of 420, and indeed performed at the huge Civic Center rally (some estimates clocked the crowd at 80,000). What was that experience like for you?

 I became a part of that moment in history.  I’m proud of that.

That’s one of those once in a lifetime things.  Definitely a surreal experience!  Being a part of the first legal rally was huge for me.  I made the project not knowing I was going to be a part of the rally, and once I learned that I was gonna be there, it just made sense to label it the official sound track to 4:20.  Im glad I did, because I think it drew people who had never heard of me before into wanting to learn more, and even buying copies and merchandise from the rally.  I became a part of that moment in history.  I’m proud of that.

The Bun B show is Sunday night, and it seems like everyone and their mama is excited for it (us included). How are you feelin’ about it and what can we expect on the 27th?

bunbAh man! To share the stage with a legend of this caliber will be incredible.  The originator of Trill, one half of one of the greatest duo’s in rap, UGK!  You can expect me to give my all, as well as a lot of tunes from the new project, but most importantly you can expect really dope music from The ReMINDers, myself, DJ Low Key, and of course, OG Bun B.

Any shout outs, events, and/or plans for the future you’d like to mention?

No Doubt!  S/O to everyone who contributed, and assisted me with the creation of YA.  The list is short, you know who you are!  S/O my foodchain brethren.  Oren L, formerly known as ChampionSoundKillaBlack (CSKB), will be releasing a project called BS | BS | BC super soon, so look for that!  I have a lot of performances coming up, so check out my facebook page for updates.

I have TWO more projects coming this year (maybe more), the first one being Mister Freedom  which is a duo, consisting of me and Neon Brown.  That should be very dope and extremely different from both LIMBO and YA.  I’ll be finishing the year with E.I.T.R. which I’m kind of keeping secret for a while! And last but not least S/O HipHopRollCall for always showing interest in what I’m doing.  It’s great to have support from you guys.

Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Denver with Bun B at The Marquis Theater” goes down Sunday 4/27 at 8pm (smart move is getting there early – this one will be packed). Make sure you go to the Red Bull Sounds Select site to RSVP for $5 tickets. Listen to and download Young Amsterdam here.

Feature Photo credit: Jeremy Pape

About Rachel Chesbrough

A Denver transplant originally from the east coast, Rachel fell hard for the Colorado music scene upon her arrival in 2006. She has written and edited locally for Unda$tream Magazine and was included in the Rap Round Table for hiphopisread.com. More recently she began her own blog, workingonit, as a side-project, featuring ridiculous personal/social/musical commentary.

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