By on September 29, 2010

I had the pleasure of having a long interview with San Francisco Bay area rapper LOCKSMITH, and was more than impressed with what I learned. I first heard Locksmith after a friend and I were swapping music links, and I was blown away with the lyrical talent I was hearing. Some people listen to Rap to hear the beat, or to hear a rapper talk about all the money they spent on diamonds and champagne. I’m not like that. Although I do appreciate a good solid beat, I’m listening to be informed, and to have my mind expanded. Locksmith does this and more.

Locksmith was raised in Richmond, California, a bay area neighborhood that is known for violence and drugs. His upbringing was different than most and he contributes it to all he has accomplished in life. He mentioned many times throughout the interview, that having both parents at home made all the difference. He was one of the few kids in his area that could say their mom and dad both lived under the same roof. You may have not heard of him, but he is the type of entertainer that the music industry needs. LOCK doesn’t drink or smoke. He runs a youth mentoring program and he is a college graduate from UC Berkeley. You can hear his intelligence and education in his rhymes, but the way he approaches his songs, shows he is from an area of crime and street punishment.

Lock talked about the importance of education, a strong family, and positive influences in children’s lives, on more than one occasion. It came across to me that he feels it’s his duty to be a mentor to the younger generation, and set an example that you can do whatever you want if you work hard at it. I have never heard, nor have I seen, anything that would indicate that the heavy hitters in the rap game are doing the same things he does.

Locksmith was on a Rap Battle program on MTV and was beaten in the finals, but he didn’t let that stop him. Armed with his mentor, rapper and producer EA-Ski, Locksmith has started to build a very strong fan base in California, and is currently working on a solo album. When I asked if he had a release date, he pretty much said, “When it’s ready.”  He doesn’t want to put something out that doesn’t showcase his talent and that he will regret. Nothing I’ve heard shows anything less than perfection, but it’s his music and his rules.

I asked him if he could battle anybody, who it would be – and I must say, he gave me an answer that I was not expecting, but it’s an answer we could all use for any type of “battle” we may be facing, “To be honest man, I don’t even think about the other person. I just let it go. It doesn’t matter, really. You can put anybody there.” Some may see that as being cocky. I look at it a little different. I look at it like he doesn’t care because he feels he is going to speak his mind, put his words out like a machine gun, and knock down the object standing in his way.

Locksmith put out a song last year titled, “Rare Form”. I highly recommend you take a few minutes to listen to it. Don’t just play it, LISTEN to it. It gained popularity for the way he busts on Kanye West. However, Lock gives much respect to all in the music industry, and even says Kanye is good at what he does – and that’s more of a Pop/Rap hybrid of sorts. Lyrically, “Rare Form” puts him in the realm of rappers like Immortal Technique, Mos Def, and Nas, just with a Bay area sound.

Locksmith is one that embraces creativity and let’s his art show it. He has his own style and his use of words and phrases are light years ahead of what we hear on the radio. Here is a rapper that will not only tell you how wrong you are, but he also tells you how to fix it. He speaks his mind in a way most artists only dream of, and like he said again and again, “THIS IS MY LIFE. This is who I am and what I do.” After his family, Locksmith gave credit to EA-Ski time and time again – again, something you don’t’ see very often in the rap game; an artist constantly and whole-heartedly giving thanks to those who have helped his career.

There is something to be said for a guy that could have easily continued his education and moved out of the area. Yet he chose to pursue his dreams and stay put to help the community he grew up in. I started this interview as a piece to introduce a musician who I felt was better than most of the junk I hear on the radio, but after talking to him, I realized he was doing everything his way and he doesn’t  need major radio air play, and doesn’t want to handcuff his creativity in dealing with a major label. He is living his life, and his life is Rap.

You can find out more on LOCKSMITH at:


Follow him on twitter at @dalocksmith

Categories: Entertainment, Music


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