For many months now, the rap-game’s resident health-conscious street-runner Larry June has been evolving the definition of a Bay Area rapper. His raps contain nearly as much street-stories as Mozzy, his charisma is in competition with E-40 and Mac Dre’s, but the formula to his day-to-day grind combines the health-conscious lifestyle of every Silicon Valley one-percenter traversing the aisles of Farmer’s Markets and Whole Foods with the goon on the East Oakland block. Think healthy mixed with hyphy and a dash of Gucci Mane for good measure.
With months of solid, impressive support behind him and hundreds of thousands of views and listens under his belt, Larry June sets his sights on his next round of releases. Following some major co-signs from superstar Post Malone, and a single featuring G-Eazy, Larry June is ready to unleash his new project Orange Season. The record features six new songs, and despite its summer and spring-friendly sound, it’s a smooth-as-DJ-Quik-perm soundscape that should have you itching to bust out your cleanest ride for any cruising occasion. Think Curren$y, if Curren$y came up under the old-school Bay Area bosses and grew up on a diet of the finest organic juices and weed and rides to steakhouses in old-school DeVilles. Modern soul-purveyors Cookin Soul handle production, while G-Eazy and Chuck Inglish come through for features.
With this new project, you label it some “perfect day player shit.” What do you mean by that? Are you referring to other west coast artists like Too Short and those types?
Especially with the stuff I have going on in my life, I make it as player as possible. The other stuff I’ve made is more turnt-up, this is more laidback — you know, go to Whole Foods and get some organic chicken and shit. This is some real smooth shit, it’s simple; you might want to take chick hiking to this shit. I can’t really explain it, but let’s call it “smooth Larry.”
Your music definitely has a street sound, but it sounds like you’re having fun with the music. Is that your intention?
It’s more about having fun. I’m talking the same street shit, but with the adlibs and everything, I’m having fun and giving emotion. With music, it’s about giving something to the people and making them feel good. With the adlibs and stuff, it makes people think, “what the f*ck, this n*gga is crazy” — it’s just about having fun with. Especially with the ad-libs, It’s all about excitement and making people have fun.
Yeah, where did those ad-libs come from? They’re definitely a real different sound than what you’re used to hearing nowadays.
I listen to a lot of old-school music, and when you listen to the old-school music from back in the days, you’ll hear the “sock it to me! Yeah baby!” That was the turn-up back in the days. When that “sock it to me!” came on, that was when it was time to turn up so I just wanted to bring that to my turn up. When you heard Michael Jackson go “yeee-hee!” it was a little something that made people prepare for what was going to happen on that track.
For this project, what made you want to connect with Cookin Soul?
I started rapping on these type of beats, I used to look up Cookin Soul beats on YouTube and shit. I started off on a smooth type of sound, then I started taking on trap beats and having fun and talking my shit. Since ‘07, ‘08, it was always the plan to work on Cookin Soul beats.
I see that you don’t really do too many interviews. Any specific reason for that?
I just don’t really like interviews like that. I like genuine interviews, but a lot of people are just trying to talk about my previous situations and what I did before I was rapping. I don’t really want to do that, I just want to present my lifestyle right now to the people. Sometimes they’re just trying to get me on camera to talk about previous situations, what I did before rap. I just try to stay away from interviews unless they’re like genuine interviews. lot of people want to ask me questions that I feel shouldn’t be answered during interviews.
Do you get tired of people asking about past street stuff you may or may not have done in the past?
Oh yeah. They’ll say, “oh yeah, I heard you were doing this.” I’m still out here, I’m not famous enough to do interviews like that. I kind of just don’t want to talk about stuff like that in interviews. Even with Noisey, they were trying to ask me all types of sh*t. I’m just trying to let the music speak for itself right now.
With Bay Area rappers like Mozzy and stuff becoming big, do you find that a lot of interviews nowadays want to ask about street stuff and things like that?
Yeah, and I feel like I don’t even really need to talk about that. I don’t even really got to talk about that, if you’re from here you know who I am, I don’t have to prove anything to the world.
I have noticed a real flashy, player, pimp, Suga Free-type vibe from up-north rappers, including legendary rappers like Too Short and Mac Dre. Why do you think that is?
It’s real, it’s going on every day. You got the flashy people who like to spend their money on flashy things, and you got the real ones who keep it lowkey and out of mind. But, you got the flashy people, so that’s what they’re doing and they make it a big competition. Everyone’s trying to get the car that’s fastest, the biggest chain. The Bay Area is real small, and if you can make it out here, you can make it anywhere.
With the new project, how did you get linked up with Chuck Inglish and G-Eazy?
I linked up with Chuck Inglish through Twitter. With G-Eazy, I knew him back from MySpace days. So, we kind of just linked up to make some music, pretty much.
I think your sound is sort of like a modern day Cool Kids sound. It’s fun music, and the beats are hard-hitting but different.
Exactly. I feel like you have to have fun with it. Nowadays, you want to be as special as possible because there’s so many artists that sound exactly the same, I feel like when I do make trap music, it’s got to be refreshing and about how I feel. I’m just going to do me and have fun with it — I don’t care about radio and all of that. I actually love doing ad-libs — “yeee-hee!” A big part of you is personality, and if you hear my music, you’ll hear it. I’m just out here doing me, that’s how I live man.
Do you think your region has had a fun, party vibe ever since the hyphy days?
We had the hyphy music, which was crazy and fun. But, we also had mob music: Jacka, B-Legit, E-40, Messy Marv. We had two different things. The Mob Music was before and after the hyphy music, and I feel like Mob Music never really got to that [hyphy] level like that. E-40 did, so E-40 has had his moment.
With artists like Jacka, Spice-1, Mob Figaz, they definitely influenced a lot. They just don’t get the recognition.
Exactly. There’s just a lot of other shit that others don’t really know about either. Jacka was overlooked, but I really don’t know why. I don’t know if people had personal issues, with music it could be all types of sh*t. You have to have a good personality as well, but I don’t know why he wasn’t as big as he should have been but that’s what I’m here for.
Even with someone unique like you, everyone wants to throw that “trap music” label on everything nowadays.
My life is real, man, I’ve been out here, man. This rap shit is kind of new to me honestly. I just feel like I’m blessed, I’m trying to do different shit. I’m on a whole different level. I want to do something different, something positive. I got a lot of family members dead or in prison, and I know the truth before anything, I know where this shit will really get you. My uncle was in prison since I was a little one. I’m from ‘Frisco, I was back and forth from Frisco to Atlanta my whole time, all my family from ‘Frisco. There’s some real gangster shit going on there, and it’ll probably never stop. I’ve been everywhere, and ‘Frisco is real project shit. From n*ggas dying to hustling, there’s real shit going on. I’m not trying to glamorize, it’s just where I come from so I speak about it. This sh*t ain’t fun.
Back in the day, spots like Hunter’s Point had a lot of great rap coming from that area.
You know RBL Posse? We from the same neighborhood. My name was Young June, I had videos with E-40, RBL Posse. It was Harbor Road back in the days. Those were my OG’s. This shit get deep. I’m going to get my recognition though.
With the new project Orange Season, any specific vibes or feelings you want to deliver to the listener?
I want everybody to head out to the beach, travel the county, cop some new shoes, do some player sh*t man. That’s what I’m giving to the people: relax, stay fresh and feel like a player. If they’re not feeling like a player before listening to this, they will after. This some real player sh*t — it’s lifestyle sh*t, player sh*t. I’m just trying to make it happen.
After this project, what’s next?
I’m going to drop one more EP, I did two EPs. One with Warner Bros, and another one. After that, I’m going to kick back, do a solo tour and look forward to an album.
Larry June is part of the Trillectro 2016 lineup, which takes place August 27 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.