Another boring day in Quarantine.. I was googling random references for an art piece I was working on, when I get a text message from the homie Bayo (GOLDBY7). He’s telling me to look into a local musician named Leota. I sprung up from my cheap Ikea chair and instantly dug myself into my rabbit hole of research. I’ve definitely heard of him, but besides a few projects...I knew there was more than meets the eye.
“THIS SHIT WAY TOO CRUCIAL” was the first line that banged my headphones ….I was already sold there. With singles like “Hey Bighead!” and Jug, I began peeping his work rigorously. Leota displayed local themed projects like “Scherer” and “Good Guy”. Honestly, I favor artists who can craft full albums with a complex though process.
That being said: INTERVIEW ON. Through a Covid 19-Safe conversation,
Here is Leota’s Story (Safety First Kids):
Leota grew up in the North Side with a normal Long Beach upbringing. Of course, our normal differs from neighboring cities that elope our borders. He remembers growing up in a cramped household with parents doing their best to support the family. Diversity within the community played a huge role in his adolescence, with him being both black and samoan. He took up multiple sports and extra curricular activities to spark his interests beyond the classroom. He and his band of misfits would take up creative outlets as well to express themselves. Understandably, he assumed this would be his way out. I then questioned him on his personal taste when I came to music, influence, and fashion, which he then replied with “I listened to a wide variety of music. I was huge into Chance, with projects like Acid Rap coming to mind. Gospel music also played a huge part in my life”. Leota always felt like his personal style was different. Colored hair and bright colors aligned with his huge personality.
The need to express himself honestly was crucial to his taste.
Then came music.
After messing around in a studio... Leota would spit a few rhymes for fun, hammering way bars for laughs. It almost felt natural though, so he started to work on a few songs that he admitted were "rough" when he looks back at it. With consistent progression, he was able to capture his story through albums like “Scherer” and “Good Guy”. I suggest you guys check it out...super dope projects.
"I want to make timeless music. Music that resonates with true upbringing and atypical sound".
His references mentioned earlier can definitely be heard through his music and sound.
Here is a snippet of his song "HEY BIGEAD!"
Then came the twist in our interview
I asked him who LakewoodMall was. He simply replied.. "Well its us". I was surprised to learn he, Bayo, and their friend Whest are in a collective inspired by the infamous spot where we all used to kick it at in highschool.
At this point, I realized Leota is not a "Rapper".
He is an artist. He is a creator.
By simply calling him "just a rapper" would be insulting. He got super excited when we jumped into the conversation of film making. This was his real passion. Inspired by Vice films and relevant story telling, Leota wants to develop small shorts and films in his own artistic way. That's where he and Bayo started working on film (I won't share too much of their project as it is still in the works). That's when I realized there was way more to Leota than music. He was very passionate about his dual artistry... I just sat back in awe hearing his story. He manages the workload of directing his own music videos, while focusing on consistent music projects.
FYI: He even edited his own photos that we added here.
While a small FaceTime interview could only capture so much...his career is definitely one to follow. (He is only 21. Insane.) Talent in photography, filmmaking, and music will lead to success in different angles. We cannot stress the praise we have for his dual artistry, so we suggest to hop on the bandwagon fast..before its too late.
Follow his Journey: