814 Crusader: Lukie Vuitton
State College rhyme-smith, Lukie Vuitton (@LukieVuitton), is chasing his dream. And for him, creating “a big movement” is a full-time job.
From running his own studio, Amen Shekem Records, to producing his own beats, videos, and promotions with his brother and business partner, Ave, L.V. has “Seen It All.” His music reflects the same sort of grassroots operation.
Whether it’s spotlighting the corruption of law enforcement or talking about his personal struggle with pills, L.V comes at the rap game with a level of intimacy that shakes the conventions of the main-stream. It isn’t the Wiz lines about blowin’ purp on airplanes, L.V packages first hand encounters into tracks that have the distinct gritty vibe of the underground scene.
The personal perspective of L.V’s tracks give listeners a “take a walk in my shoes” experience.
“I’m very honest in my music,” said Lukie Vuitton as he sipped on a Starbucks coffee at our downtown interview. Though his personality leaks out from the speakers, L.V’s down-to-earth swagger can be sensed in the way he describes his art. There is something there he that he strongly believes needs to be talked about.
Current events and the political climate are staple issues in L.V’s hooks and verses. Where most rappers prefer conveying the dream life of burning trees in a hot tub full of dimes, L.V gets down to the realities that many people in this nation are confronted with everyday.
This distinction can be seen in his latest video for the track, ‘Seen It All.’ There aren’t any Cristal bottles being popped on boats and exotic sports cars. It’s just L.V doing his thing among rusted suburban infrastructure of Johnstown, Pa. You’re hearing “the soul behind these green eyes” in the setting of the Rust Belt’s industrial decline.
‘Terrorist,’ L.V’s latest release, dropped last night on Hot New Hip Hop.’Terrorist’ follows with the political theme L.V has fostered with his past work. However, the track stays topical by features nods to Bin Laden and Qaddafi, leaving the question up to the listeners, are we terrorists ourselves?
With trumpets blaring and a beat that rides fiercely like a battle march, L.V flips the stigma of terrorism and focuses it on the oppressive force of our beloved stars and stripes. The anthem is his way to voice his 1st amendment rights while encouraging listeners to “wake up.”
“We love our country and we love our people but we don’t necessarily love our government,” said L.V’s producer, Ave. “Hopefully ‘Terrorist’ sparks people to question what’s going on. Our nation isn’t the same as what our fore fathers envisioned.”
All of this first hand perspective is also a championed theme for his upcoming album, “Origins of the Crusade.” The full project, which has a perspective release date of April, chronicles L.V’s personal mission to take his diary of struggles on the road. Origins is laying down the back-story to his musical crusade.
However, L.V’s music isn’t only able to be appreciated by poli sci majors or the occupiers sleeping in the HUB.
Ave admits that if it wasn’t for him, L.V would be a straight shot of politics with no chaser. But Ave “mixes the medicine with the food” to create the catchy choruses and beats that get listeners stuck in slow head bobs.
The combined product is part politics/life experiences, part something you can vibe to/”damn this shit is stuck in my head.”
And although the “Tri-State Kid” has rooted his personally divulging rhymes in the local scene, he has graduated from shows at Jamaica Junction to taking the stage at Webster Hall in NYC next to up-and-coming Bronx rapper, Fred the Godson. He’s even been outsourcing his beats and spitting fire over productions from Pittsburgh’s Johnny Juliano, the producer behind Wiz Khalifa’s “Say Yeah” and “Ink My Body.”
His buzz is spreading from the valleys of the 814 to a larger and more professional jurisdiction and L.V and Ave believe that level of professionalism will spill over into “Origins of the Crusade.”
“We’re focusing on bringing a lot of growth and consistency with this album,” said Ave. “We’re in the studio all day–doing music, working and learning. What you learn is priceless.”
L.V doesn’t let dust collect on his microphone. His team is always sending pulses through the rap game. Each new addition to the studio (like thousand dollar equipment and software) warrants another produced track. Each new produced track warrants a video and a live performance.
Big things are in the works. The crusade has begun.