Berkeley Alum Continues to Revive the Hip-Hop Game

Pat Boody, Staff Writer

Currently, hip-hop is becoming more repetitive and generalized than ever before. Many fans seek originality and skill within the genre but for the most part, there are few new acts who succeed at both. True advocates of the style look for a specific blend of lyricism, flow, execution and an appropriate beat within each track.


A relatively new artist who masters these aspects of hip-hop efficiently is Locksmith. A rapper of Persian and African American descent, his masterfully crafted lyrics offer a unique glimpse into a rare perspective. Locksmith offers a new and interesting derivative of West Coast hip-hop that shows it is evolving from what was once primarily “Gangster Rap.” As a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, a strong intellectual mind is conjoined with the quick delivery of his bars.

Locksmith originally gained fame in 2003, appearing on MTV’s Freestyle Battle Championship, but after being rewarded with second place, this fame was short-lived. He was also prominent amongst the battle rap scene, spitting against opponents such as Dizaster, a well renowned battler in the King of the Dot Battle Rapping League. However, he has retired from this part of his career to further advance his music, and after listening to either of his recent albums, “Embedded” (2011) or “A Thousand Cuts” (2014), one can truly agree that this was the right choice. Locksmith comes to the game with nothing but raw talent.

“A Thousand Cuts” recounts personal stories of his life that wouldn’t ordinarily be shared, anecdotal songs pertaining to past relationships and a track to let fans know who he is as a person. His current producer, E-A-Ski (Ice-T, Ice Cube, MC Ren of N.W.A.), is a perfect fit for Locksmith because he deserves a producer who is familiar with the industry and has quite a bit of experience on the West Coast.

Locksmith has worked with a multitude of R&B artists on his latest album and also the notorious R.A. the Rugged Man. The track with R.A. contains some incredulous verses by both artists and shares their opinions on today’s society. The two prolific minds of R.A. and Locksmith have probably created one of the most lyrically advanced and skillfully developed songs of the decade with “House of Games 2,” and it does nothing but showcase the pure talent of Locksmith. So if you’re a fan of real hip-hop, check out Locksmith.

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