Interviews

Published on August 9th, 2020 | by Jerry Doby

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Breakout Trap-Soul Artist Felipe Luciano Talks His Musical Journey, Financial Literacy and More

Breakout trap-soul artist, Felipe Luciano went from hustling and using music as an outlet for expression, to now turning it into his career and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Luciano’s convention-smashing lines in expectation-pulverizing timbres are changing the way we interpret gangster rap.

His personal journey is inspiring within itself – from homelessness to teaching inner-city youth about financial literacy and ownership today, Luciano is on a mission to bring his audience to a different level of thinking and consciousness.

The Hype Magazine got Felipe to weigh in on a few things

From the outside looking in, who is Felipe Luciano? 

The big homie. A business minded, well respected, reserved street conscious and aware individual. A big bro to many.

What brought you to the entertainment industry, music specifically?

I developed a love and fascination for poetry, words and music early on. My grandma used to play the piano and taught me some chords when I was around 8 years old so I could say my love of music developed from her. When my mom and I left the south we moved to an extremely gang active area and my poetry changed from introspective to angry and aggressive and I began chronicling what I saw and I developed a competitive train of thought when it came to writing and song making. My plan was to get on with music and move my family out of the hood to escape the harsh realities there. Which didn’t work out how I planned it initially but those trials and tribulations developed me into the man I am today and even after it all my love for music never faded so I naturally gravitated back to it. Thanks to my grandma Weedie for that.

Where in your journey did you find inspiration to stretch out a helping hand to the next generation of artist?

I think I took this thought process from the same mentality that I had in the streets, I’ve always been a giving person. I understand that there are many of us in the same field and our ultimate desire is to reach our goals and feed our families. I lent a hand to many people back then, so it’s kind of like why not now that I’m doing something positive and most importantly legal. When I give back I see it as a way to help get them out of that same place I was in that could quickly end your life or send you to prison for the rest of your life if not a good portion of it. I believe a lot of artists don’t do that because people operate from a mentality of scarcity; but resources, fans, listeners and opportunities have always been plentiful. It’s just up to the individual to cultivate the resources fan base and take positive recourse with the opportunities presented to them.

Financial literacy what does that mean to you and how do you teach others about it? 

Man, this is a great question. We grew up super poor. I know what it was like to go without and I also know what it’s like to be desperate, and out of that desperation make decisions to do things that don’t necessarily line up with your moral compass just to survive. It’s a very rough world out there and having less turns you into a different person. So in an effort to stop young people and some old from making bad decisions or continuing to throw rocks at the penitentiary, I discuss things that most of us weren’t taught in my music, and in real life with my company HOPE (Helping Our People Excel). I find it insane that schools teach you about the Pythagorean theorem, something you may never use in life, but they don’t teach you about taxes, investments, APRs, personal and business credit, loans, life insurance etc. So I drop jewels and hints in my music about real estate, life insurance, mutual funds, ownership, equity, etc. The name of the game is to change lives and leave inheritance behind so that those that come after us won’t be faced with the same issues we faced as being first generation well off or financially literate.

Tell us a bit more about your work and passions OUTSIDE of the entertainment business.

I’m into real estate – they’re making everything else but you can’t make any new land.  I believe he who owns the most land wins because there is only so much of it. I’m invested into cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin cash, XRP and Dogecoin. I’m also heavy on investing in tangibles like gold, silver and older notes like Gold and Silver Certificates. I invest into stocks as well which leads me to discuss a bit about my nonprofit, HOPE.  We focus on inner city youth who are prone to gang violence and teen pregnancy. We focus in giving them ways to exit the revolving door of incarceration and poverty by means of education on financial literacy, eating to live, providing food, donations, clothing and events for children. I’m passionate about that because I’ve been that kid before and I know how hard it is to shake that mentality and to excel.

Tell us about your current project.

My current project, Legends Never Die, is an ode to my city and the fallen soldiers from there. It’s one of my most personal releases as of yet so it really means something to me – it’s more than music. On the cover art I displayed pictures of some influential guys from my area who are legends in their own right and I wanted to honor them as such by shedding light on how their lives effected all of us. Most of the people I put on the cover like Trill, who I mention a lot is incarcerated for life, 5 Alive is currently in the Feds for a Rico case, Cleco was tragically murdered in his home with his children there, my father who met his untimely demise while I was still a small child, my grandmother who passed away while I was incarcerated and a host of others that I want to live on forever and what better way to do so than dedicating my most personal project to them.

For new listeners, what song of yours would you pick as an introduction to you as an artist?

That’s a tough one because I actually haven’t released the ones that I think speak to who I am completely, but if I had to say I’d give these three: ‘Ease The Pain’(Intro) for a bit of back story and introduction to me as a person, ‘Love Is Pain’ to connect with some of the pain that we all go through and ‘Stop Lyin’ to get the raw feel of who I am from the street perspective.

 

Featured image courtesy of Felipe Luciano



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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