2012-03-08 / Guest Column

“What’s Up With Wati”

Artist Remains Humble In The ‘“Left Lane”
By Wati Heru

Humility is the epitome for most popular artists. Nothing compliments talent like a humble attitude. These attributes are some of the characteristics that embodies recording artist Shay Marsalis of rap ensemble Left Lane.

Marsalis grew up on East 57th Street and Avenue H and spent ten years of his life in Canarsie before moving to Flatbush and says, “Even though I left, my heart is still there. As long as my boys are still there, no matter how far I go, Canarsie will always be my playground.”

The artist attended P.S. 251, Roy H. Mann Junior High School and South Shore High School, where he met other members of Left Lane. Local rappers Cavi and T.O. also played a role in inspiring the musician, transforming their friendship to a healthy competition to benefit the quality of the music they create. He also says that other mainstream artists such as “Old School Jay, J. Cole, and Lupe” inspire him.

Marsalis says he started rapping when he was in junior high school and during that time he never took it too seriously. But there was talent there. He also explained how it started out as more of a braggadocios battle-oriented style of emceeing, which cultivated his skills to where he stands now as a lyricist. Like most artists with an immense love for their craft, he has what most people would consider to be a more “trippy” tendency for writing.

“I like to go in my car and turn up whatever instrumental I’m writing to and zone out,” Marsalis said. “I feel isolated from everyone and I get to focus and hear every single sound that is a part of the beat. I like to feel music, and hear exactly what it’s saying to me.”

This unusual ritual is the breeding ground of his new release, which is due to be released as early as April or May.

When asked about his stance on the music industry, Marsalis said, “I stand behind the music industry 100 percent but I can say that I’m not a fan of everything I’ve been hearing. And I can sit here and say that I’m gonna change the game like any other rapper, but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to give people something that’s important to me – and that is good music.”

Now if that isn’t humble I don’t know what is. In addition, a wise man once said: “A person can achieve everything by being simple and humble.” Now That’s Whats Up With Wati!!!

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