“If the walls could talk, they would tell you every mistake that the people before you made, so that you can go a different path.” – Lightshow
Experience is one of the most viable resources to pull from in life that contributes to our natural growth and development.
In the same respect, our environment plays an integral role in influencing what course of action follows the impending pursuit of fulfillment we experience while seeking out purpose.
The story of ‘Chocolate City‘ rapper Lightshow is one riddled with purpose that pervades the inner city streets of Congress Heights in Southeast D.C.
Spearheading the role as CEO of his independent record label 86 America, Lightshow’s innate ability to voice his expressive loathe for many sociopolitical topics near and dear to home, has enabled the artist to transcend the perceptive power that lies within his lyrical prowess.
With thought-provoking lyrics and an unyielding work ethic that redefines consistency, Lightshow uses his voice as a resource, a tool to supplement knowledge for the unknowing.
We had the opportunity to briefly house a dialogue with D.C’s musical wunderkind.
Check it out below.
Q: What inspired your name?
A: It’s more of a spiritual thing for real for real, it’s a personal, spiritual thing for my journey. For us, we look at light for like knowledge and understanding. New ways of thinking about stuff, new ways on how to go about things.
Over time, I’ve tried to leave messages in the music versus going out here and saying what my name means.
Anyone else would think it’s lights, cameras, action and it’s like ok cool let em’ think that, they love it.
But for real for real it’s weeded in the music.
Q: How long have you been making music?
A: I’ve really been making music my whole life. It’s always something I knew I wanted to do. I remember the grindin’ beat by Clips. Once that instrumental first leaked, that got everybody in the streets going.
Just getting them old beat CD’s that they used to sell at the corner stores and different neighborhoods, just running through them and putting my thoughts at the end.
You know, when they used to have the music at the end, let the beat keep playing after somebody do a song, I’d put a CD in the top jawn, put a tape in the bottom, hit record and play at the same time. I’d put my lil’ bars on the end of some Lloyd Bank songs, G-Unit songs, all types of songs, that’s how I started.
Q: What inspired the transition from playing behind the scenes in the creative process of music into becoming an artist yourself?
A: For me, I needed some money.
I loved what I was doing with the music and I was learning for myself.
Once music started picking up a lil’ more with Wale and other stuff like that, once I seen where it was going, I had messed up so many computers in my mother’s house. Trying to download Pro Tools and all that to the point that I didn’t even know you needed an inbox to run it at the time.
Just getting out here and getting around different people, learning stuff. The old heads would take me under they wing, sneak me into open mics, show me how to work stuff, how to record myself.
They would bring me to they trap’s and put the studio in there, so when they leave I know how to work stuff myself.
By the time I finished with everything, every time my homies would finish a song, I would mix it. That just opened the opportunity for not wanting to get a regular job.
Once I found out about studios and stuff that were opening, I’d go the owner and let em’ know I’m just tryna work. I’d be willing to stay there 10-days in a row, whatever it takes, I’m just tryna work.
After that, I’d record people during the day and work on my project at night.
Q: Talk to me about your relationship with Wale. Dating back to 2012 you were introduced on the ‘Georgetown Press’ single off his Folarin project and most recently linked up for the ‘Your Side, My Side’ record. What’s the chemistry like after knowing/working with him for roughly 7 years?
A: Wale, he’s somebody that I always respected because he kicked the door down for this area (DMV). I remember being at Target Market in Southeast, sitting in front of the store waiting for my mother to come out and I heard ‘Dig Dug’ on the radio. That’s my first time hearing some go-go inspired rap jawn, so I’m like “Oh, this what we doing now!?”
So, it’s a reality now, we rapping now. That’s always inspired me.
I feel like he don’t get enough credit for doing the little things. He’d let people come around him. I remember when he was Grammy-nominated, I’m out in LA, chillin’. Got to stay at the mansion out on the hill, sleeping on million-dollar rugs one night, right there beside him.
French Montana, that’s someone he introduced me too. He actually ended up putting me in a video.
Wale, he shared his friends and connections and I feel like he doesn’t get enough credit. I try to show him that love consistently. I don’t care who fuck with him or who think this, any chance I get I’ll let people know he ain’t perfect, but he hold it down for sure.
He still reaches back and help out the next person. I just basically treat him how I’d want somebody to treat me.
Q: What inspired the title of your new album ‘If These Walls Could Talk 2’?
A: Man, I just feel like I be going through so much stuff that I can’t openly talk or tweet about. Stuff I can’t just openly say because it’s like you never know what you can say these days that may be offensive.
I know music, that’s one of my safe spaces, period.
I try to tweet as much as I can but I’ve witnessed so many people get caught up in putting the wrong stuff out at the wrong time and leaving a trail or whatever. In a time of privacy, all of this internet stuff, where it feels like your whole life is an open book, you gotta keep some stuff to yourself.
For me, it’s trying to get that stuff that’s inside of me out. You got to think about it, see if you know what I’m talking about and catch it if you catch it.
I can’t elaborate on it because it’s like my city so small.
Q: Do you have a favorite song featured on the project?
A: I’d say the intro, ‘East Of The River’, because originally that’s what I wanted to name the whole project. The intro is basically what they call my section of Southeast DC. It’s known for being dirty, treacherous and underdeveloped.
Everything east of the Anacostia river.
It’s just about a few different things, that’s one of my favorites.
It’s just the journey that I think about. “Changed to get this money for the better, got my reasons”, like when they break it down, when it’s all said and done, they gone understand me.
Q: If the walls could talk, what would they say?
A: If the walls could talk, they would tell you every mistake that the people before you made, so that you can go a different path.
Who been here before, what it was like, how’d they make it out.
Q: Closing remarks
A: We got visuals on the way for sure. We got the concert coming up September 20th at the Fillmore.
The Lightshow and Friends show, we gone announce who on that soon too, going for our third sell-out at the Fillmore.
We just staying active.
For more updates and new music, make sure you follow Lightshow via @lightshow10thpl – check out his latest offering ‘If These Walls Could Talk 2‘ here.