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COVER STORY: Lil E, Guilty By Association

Words by: Le’Deana Brown Photos by: Colli Media

What do you feel like is going to be different this time around? What are you bringing to your music this time that you didn’t before, or is there a new flavor you’ve grown into? What’s going to be different this time is that I’m a full-time rapper now. I ain’t one foot in and one foot out. I’ve been blessed with so many chances. I’ve gotten everything I feel like I can get out of the streets as far as reputation, as far as money, as far as anything you can think of with what the streets bring. Even pain. Right now, I feel like I’m up and can quit with my winnings. And I can look in the mirror and be proud of myself. It’s like poker. When you’re up so much it’s sweet and you know you can win so much more, but I’d rather just quit instead taking that one more chance. I ain’t ever did anything foul to my people. Everyone that I grew up with, if they aren’t around me it’s something they did. I can look in the mirror every day and my son looks up to me. So right now I’d rather just put everything to this music. I’m happy with the person I am.
How did becoming a father change your mentality? I wouldn’t even necessarily say it changed my mentality because I’ve done it before. I had raised a little girl forever when I was a teenager. I ended up getting a blood test and she ended up not being mine, but I was in fatherhood at a young age. I was always there for her. I have a son now so my bond with him is everything. It’s fun watching him grow and learn. I get the chance to create something. It’s a blessing. 

 

Let’s talk about your single “Punisher.” Are you speaking to your real life attitude about life and things? No doubt, most definitely. “Punisher” came from a movie called Punisher. When they took his family from him he annihilated everything! He was unstoppable. That’s kind of the concept that the song means. When I say, “Turn me up and turn me to the punisher”, he was unstoppable. Couldn’t nobody stop him. When someone turns me up, that’s the level I’d take it to.

What’s on the horizon? Well right now, I just want to check a bag. I’m doing a lot of shows. Me and one of my brothers, Poodie, dropped a mixtape. It’s out on the internet right now. Wherever you can purchase music at. It’s called “Ghetto Ties” and its’ going crazy on the streets. My biggest focus is “Punisher” right now. I kind of knew “Punisher” was going to take off like that but it did more than I expected. It has almost 500,000 views on Youtube and it doesn’t even have a video. So, I think that’s one of my biggest records. The crazy thing is it doesn’t even have a chorus on it. I think it’s just catchy and it’s a lot of people favorite song. So, I’m going to give them what they want. I want to see what it really does with a machine behind it. I do have a project I’m working on, it’s called “Guilty by Association.” I think that’s going to be raw.

 What does it mean to be guilty by association? Guilty by association means no matter how innocent you are or how true your side is, when you’re affiliate with a group of people or know a certain person, you are automatically guilty. They say, “You are innocent until proven guilty,” but that ain’t true. They treat us like we are guilty until proven innocent. Right now, I’ve been going through so many ups and downs and fighting so many cases I don’t have anything to do with. Just from me knowing people and my affiliations with people make me a target. I’ve been having a target on my back since I came home from my last situation. They label me as a notorious person. I could get locked up for j-walking. They are going to put me on the news and flash me as a notorious Grundy member locked up for j-walking. It could be anything and they are going to blow it up like that just because of who I’m affiliated with.


Friendship is against the law almost? It’s kind of like it’s built to break a family. I’ve been knowing these people since we were kids. This ain’t just people I’ve met in the streets or nothing. We’ve struggled together.That’s what they do, their whole process is to break people, break friends up. They play all types of games. They play the snitch game, the friend turning on you game. Any way that they can try to destroy a relationship with a group that’s so powerful. Whether it’s good or bad, they are going to try to put an end to it, and that’s kind of what’s going on right now.

Tell me about the Mob Family. I know they want to frame it as a gang. They make it like a gang but it’s really not. The Mob Family done became so powerful making moves in the music and my big brother Rick, he seen my vision. We kind of put our visions together and he believed in me. He seen where I was goin and I kind of feel like they seen him having an exit. So, they tried they best to make him look like everything besides a good person, besides a good father, besides a positive individual. The Mob Family music movement is definitely gonna live forever.

When did things transition from the MGG to Mob Family record label? Nut gave me a lot of game on a lot of things. He’s a business man and a father. So, a lot of things that was going on as far as in the streets he really didn’t want to be a part of that. He had a lot of positive things goin on. I was young, I was still in the streets. I just wanted to create something my people could be a part of. I feel like Mob Family was the perfect branch off. Nut kind of showed me how to run my own business and run my own record label. So, it was definitely a plus. With the game that I got, and the game he taught me, it was easy for me to start my own thing. I’m MGG forever. I actually got it tatted on my arm. A lot of things I look back on, stuff that bro taught me and showed me. I was hard headed about a lot of stuff, sometimes I wish I listened to bro about a lot of stuff, but it kind of made me who I am today.

 



Why do you think your music is affected by beef? In my city I know all the hustlers, I know all the strippers, I know everybody. I never really had bad blood with people. It be the people I be around that have beef and it leaves me to patch everything up. When people lose they life and stuff like that it’s hard to patch beef up. A lot of people really love me, and I know that, but they chose to stay away from me because of who I’m affiliated wit. I remember I had a sho and it wasn’t fat. I spent so much money as far as promotion and stuff and I kind of lost on it. I knew what it was about, it wasn’t that people didn’t mess wit me or love my music. They didn’t want to bump into my people or they didn’t wanna ruin what I had worked so hard for. So, it was understandable, but like a discouraging thing. People know me personally, before the rap, before anything. They know me and got a genuine love for me and its vice versa. But when it’s beef on, a lot of people get out the way. A lot of people tend to put the blame on you because they feel like you know somethin. It don’t matter if you know somethin or not, they still gone treat you like you know somethin. Cause it’s like in the street life, a lot of people are snakes. You surrounded by so many snakes. A lot of people don’t wanna get snuck. A lot of people don’t want you to get the ups on them. Just because you love somebody don’t mean that you gone let your guard down and be vulnerable and become a victim. And I understand that. So, that’s the thing that kind of affects my music a lot, I probably got more people that wanna see me win than I got that wanna see me lose. It’s just they can’t really support me like that because of what’s goin on. I still feel the love though. I don’t feel no way to nobody that don’t come to my shows, or that just don’t come around no more. I know they still buy my music and still support me from a distance. So, I understand.

Tell me your definition of the word “real” and who is referred to in the saying “free the real” not by name, but by character traits. Honestly, real ain’t even got a definition. I think real is just you being yourself and not trying to impress anyone. Just being real with yourself. Some people put too much emphasis on what real is. Some people do so many things to try and impress the next person when they’re really being fake to themselves. I think real is just being real with yourself and understanding yourself. Everyone ain’t got to be a gangster and everyone ain’t got to be a hustler. I think everyone needs to understand you being yourself and quit trying to be something else to fit in with the next person or doing something just because the next person is doing it. Whatever you are comfortable with, I feel like that’s what real is. When we say, “Free the real” we are talking about people that lost their lives behind somebody that told on them. We ain’t talking about no pedophiles, rats, or dead beats. We are talking about people that were really standing on something. I feel like it’s for everyone that’s doing time for trying to feed their family or protecting what’s theirs. It’s really too many people to just single out and put their name on it, so I feel like “free the real.”

STAY CONNECTED TO LIL E ONLINE @LILEMOBFAM @IAMLILEHOE

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