Mixtape No. 34

Luckson

Mixtape No. 34

Luckson

Photos: Joshua Spencer
Words: Tiffany Chan


It’s Luck’s birthday today, and as luck would have it, he’s got the gift of music. This month marked the debut of his new hip-hop album, which drops head-bobbing references to highway 1 and hanging in the V.

Luck is a Venice kid born & raised, and nothing spells it out clearer than this album, naturally titled Venice Kid. We called for time to shoot hoops, shoot the breeze, and talk about how this all came to be. Here's to Venice all the way – especially on Luck’s birthday.


Your new album Venice Kid is coming out this month. What’s the story behind it? And any hints for what to expect? (No pressure for a Beyonce-level visual album, of course.)

After releasing my last EP in 2015, I felt the urge to get right back to work. So over the last nine months I wrote and recorded twelve new songs which turned into “Venice Kid.” I was able to fund the music through booking some commercials (thank god) and by selling my merchandise.

People can look forward to hearing word play on the album. Lyrics have always been important to me. There’s also things other rappers don’t talk about, like holistic medicines and Venice Beach. Ray Liotta, my good friend, has an interlude on the album too.

So you’re a Venice native, born and raised. The fingerprints of that are all over the things you do, from merch to your previous album, titled “Somewhere in the V.” What’s so magnetic about Venice for you? How does it inspire you?

Venice is home to me because my family and childhood memories are here. I’m dedicated to the place that raised me. I'm also grateful to be from a place with such diversity in culture. Venice has everyone you could imagine seeing and I am always entertained with the things around me. Doing something big for the city I love is a huge inspiration for me.

A recent favorite memory is my last show in Venice, on Abbot Kinney, where the whole venue was packed and we had an amazing night celebrating my new music and our community. Seeing everything in the crowd singing and dancing along was something I’ll never forget.


Basketball was a huge deal for you growing up — you’ve mentioned that basketball raised you. Can you tell us about how you transitioned into music, and hip hop specifically?

I was transitioning schools because I was offered a full scholarship to play basketball. During that summer, just two weeks before leaving for school, my brother passed away unexpectedly. It forced me to turn down the scholarship and stay home for my family.

After that I needed a new creative outlet for myself and I decided to find a mic and start writing songs. I’ve always loved music as much as anyone. Over the next year I put out my first mixtape just for fun and began my journey as a songwriter. It gave me a passion and inspiration after feeling like I lost it all. It gave me a new purpose and goal.

Hip hop is what I was raised on. My brother was the one who gave me so much knowledge of music and culture. Hip hop is about a story and a person's individuality and that is what I wanted to express. And music is the perfect platform for me to express myself because the options are endless on what one can create.

Music gave me a passion and inspiration after feeling like I lost it all.


You’ve mentioned you still see basketball and hip hop as closely related. What’s that like for you?

There is a natural respect between basketball players and hip hop artists. The passion is the same for both “games”. The discipline and work ethic I learned from basketball is the same mentality I put into finishing my songs and getting the job done. As a kid basketball was my escape. I was able to go and play and forget about all the worries. That is what music is for me now. Except it is also much more than that.


What are some artists that have been formative for you? Any albums on repeat at the moment?

Over my life and as a student of the game I’ve listened to so much and have learned from all the greatest. Everyone has something different to offer and I’ve always been fascinated with artist originality in lyrics and style of music. I grew up on Eminem, Ludacris, Atmosphere, Living Legends, Juvenile, Master P, Jack Johnson, Andre Nickatina, Wu-Tang, Biggie, Pac, Snoop, Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, Big L, Nas, The Fugees, Common, Stevie Wonder and so much more.

When I was a kid, I remember it was my mom, my brother and myself driving down Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. I was in the back seat while we were listening to the Marshal Mathers LP, and my brother turned to my mom and asked her, “Do you listen more to lyrics or just the beat?” I forgot what her answer was but I’ll never forget that moment I was hooked on lyrics and flow and how people had the potential to tell a story through rhyming. I wanted to be able to do that myself.

What’s on the horizon?

Look out for my music video for Wavy, coming very soon. I'm also designing new merchandise for my clothing line, which will be dropping later this summer. And lastly, I’m collaborating on a new single with another artist, and I’ll be performing my new songs all around. So stay tuned.

JUST YOUR LUCK

Luck's new album Venice Kid is out now. Give it a spin, or check out his
website & insta.