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The Break Presents: Lambs

Annette Navarro
Annette Navarro

Ohio has never had too many rap stars. The most obvious example is Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, who broke ground with their rapid flows and dark subject matter. Kid Cudi was the last artist to make it big almost ten years ago, with Machine Gun Kelly finding success after him, but in the past couple years, a new crop of young artists has revitalized the city’s national rap appeal, and Lamb$ is leading the pack.

The Cincinnati rapper started getting widespread attention in 2014, when he released EPs like 5 Burds and Fukk Karma. He began releasing a steady stream of songs on his SoundCloud page, strategically collaborating with regional artists like Florida’s Fat Nick, D.C.’s Shy Glizzy, Atlanta’s Playboi Carti and Philly’s Lil Uzi Vert.

Earlier this year, he released a surprise EP called Thanks4Nothingand now he’s gearing up to release his 12 A.M. tape featuring production from Zaytoven, Cardo, Tuger, DJ Patt and more. We spoke with Lamb$ about his plans for the future, his influences and more.

Age: 25

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

I grew up listening to: “What made me want to be a rapper for real was when I was little, I’d always go to my uncle’s house on the weekend and he would always have the newest albums. He had a CD case this big filled with nothing but new CDs. Like four CDs in each slot on each page, and I’d just listen to all the music and soak it up. Juelz Santana, Cam’ron, Jay Z. He was listening to so much. M.O.P., Mobb Deep.

“Dipset really took a toll on my childhood. They really were the ones I was like, I want to be like them. This nigga Cam’ron flexing in every video, Juelz Santana, he the young one jumping off the porch, Cam’ron stamping him. I miss that feeling for real. It ain’t like that no more. People’s attention spans are so small now. Dipset and Bone Thugs N Harmony, they played a big role in me wanting to be who I am today.

“I remember one of the first CDs I came across was Master P’s Ice Cream Man. My uncle had a Jetta, it was on Daytons too, and I would ride around with him and my little cousin when I was like five. That was the only thing he used to listen to all day while he was busting his moves.

“The first CD I actually bought with my own money was Lil Wayne’s Lights Out. It was probably a censored version.”

My style’s been compared to: “People really feel like I got my own sound. As of lately, I’ve been trying to get out the box. I get influenced by newer stuff by accident, and I try to stay away from that. I just want to stand out, I don’t want to sound like what’s going on right now, so I try to separate myself.”

Most people don’t know: “I’m a student of the game. I feel like that’s just missing. People don’t do their research and know their history and actually know what came before them. I sat up countless night watching documentaries of people who’ve done more than me and are ahead of me so I could follow in their footsteps. Like Backstage, the Jay Z, Ja Rule and DMX documentary about their tour. It’s just crazy. They were doing all this with no social media. Selling out.”

My standout records to date so far: “One of the first projects I put out, the first Fukk Karma, because it was just more personal and that’s what I’m trying to get back to. There was more detail, painting a picture and letting you know what’s in my surroundings, what’s in my environment, and breaking it down to a level where you can understand the words.

“’Digi Scale’ is one of the biggest songs I done made to this point. I feel like that song is bigger than me. I know me and Carti’s song ‘2DOOR’ is bigger than ‘Digi Scale.’ ‘Digi Scale’ just got on MTV, so that was what really played a part in that song taking off. But I was still starting on my first mixtape, so I listen to it now and I was a little bit rusty on there, but it was just more personal because I didn’t have any filter. I wasn’t trying to make a certain type of music, I was just going with my thoughts.”

My standout moment to date: “When I went on tour with Maxo Kream and Da$h, we did like 15 cities. That was lit every night. Maxo and Da$h are wild, them my niggas. They crazy. Only thing I hate about Da$h, he stingy as hell with his lean. [Laughs] And when we did Rolling Loud 2015, that was crazy. There were like 10,000 people in that crowd.”

My goal in hip-hop: “Just set trends. Be remembered. Stand out, because in the game right now, it’s cool to be the same, do the same shit somebody else is doing and get on off their wave. I don’t fuck with that shit. It’s too much copying going on. Niggas is afraid to stand up and be men now. Shit be weak.”

I’m going to be the next: “Multi-talented finesser.”

Follow Lamb$ on Twitter and SoundCloud

Standouts: “Humble”

“Digi Scale” Featuring J $tash

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“2DOOR” Featuring Playboi Carti

“Kick a Door” Featuring Ski Mask Malley

Fans Name Rappers They Think Will Blow Up This Year

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