By: Marcos Arriola & Johnnie Buck
LA The Goat has had a year that most new artists can only dream of.
After an opportune freestyle, hopping on Jermaine Dupri’s “Money Ain’t A Thang” instrumental, the Tampa Bay-bred star would soon find himself in a familiar place for a long line of young stars throughout hip-hop’s history. Inking a deal with Dupri’s So So Def, however, is only the first step in a promising road toward success for the young rapper.
Equipped with a consistent ear for what he identifies as the “classic sound,” LA The Goat has quickly surpassed his surroundings, releasing a well-received GOAT Mode full-length project and doubling back to remix his “8 Bands” cut with Dupri and Rick Ross in tow.
Just days after his native Buccaneers grabbed their Super Bowl win, LA spoke with The Source about his relatively rapid rise and the long way that he plans to pave himself.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
The Source: How’s the energy like right now in Tampa with the Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl?
LA The Goat: Man, it’s going crazy. Ain’t nobody been to sleep yet and we’re going into Wednesday.
A lot of industry names were in the city. Did you get a chance to make any meaningful link-ups?
I met a few artists. I just bumped shoulders with a few people, nothing major. There was so much going on, I didn’t really have enough time.
But, you were able to do a show over the weekend.
I did a few shows. I did like six.
How’d you manage that?
I mean it was hard, but shout out to Def Jam and So So Def. They made sure I got around. It’s time I had to be in and out. That’s why my voice is kind of [hoarse] right now.
How does it feel when you look back to this same time last year and compare it to six shows Super Bowl weekend this year?
It’s basically what I saw when I called myself “up and coming”. Cause I’m still up and coming, I’m still trying to get to another level. I saw it could be done. I had to go about it my own way. Cause I’ve seen what way everybody else took. I ain’t want to take that way so I kind of just did my own thing.
Taking a step back, what actually made you hop on the “Money Aint A Thang” instrumental when you first did it?
I like the classic sound. I was just on Instagram and somebody else rapped on the beat, and I was like, ‘Man, I like that.’ I went and listened to the [orginal] song a few times and I was like, ‘Imma rap on it, too.’ The rest is history. I was signed like a month later
What’s that experience been like working with Jermaine Dupri?
It’s crazy cause you’re working with a legend. Sometimes I gotta sit back like, ‘Damn, that’s Jermaine Dupri.’ But, I’ve still gotta be focused and not be fanned out.
When you add that to the “8 Bands” remix with Rick Ross, you’ve already started to rack up collaborations with most people’s dream artists. Do you have any other names that are on your wishlist right now?
I have to say probably Meek Mill and of course Drake. Everybody wants to work with Drake. As far as anything else, I don’t really have a desire to work with anybody, if it happens, it’s going to be natural.
Going back to your love for classic beats, is there a specific artist or album that you grew up listening to that sparked that ear for a classic sound?
I grew up with my grandparents and my mom loving music. We listen to a lot of oldies: Syleena Johnson, Michael Jackson, Sade. From them all the way to Adam Levine, Sam Smith, all types of stuff. I just listen to all types of music, so that’s why I feel like I have a good ear for music.
We’ve seen South Florida have its moment with its base of artists. Do you think Tampa and the rest of Central Florida have a chance to gain that same momentum right now?
An example is Rod Wave. He’s from fifteen minutes from where I’m from. It’s in the same area. To see him do shows in the same places that I’ve done shows; to see him go from that to number-one albums on iTunes and Spotify. Even in Tampa, we have a few artists that are emerging. It’s just taking time but it’s coming along.
Before we got on this call, you actually announced on Twitter that you’re about to drop a tape. How soon do you think it’ll be a reality.
I’m tryna go ahead and drop it before the month is over. Because I haven’t put out a body of work in like 7 or 8 months. I like to put out bodies of work and let people hear you; get a sound from you. So probably by the end of the month. That’s what I’m hoping for
How similar would it be to GOAT Mode?
It’s going to be completely different. I don’t like to drop the same style of music. GOAT Mode was from before I was signed. I was talking about different things. Now, I signed and I’ve experienced different stuff. Things have been different for me in the city. So, it’s going to be a different aspect of that.